Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lynette Long's Email Response to Painful Lessons

The following is an email response from Lynette Long I received along with many others that responded to her Painful Lessons article that appeared in Monday's Baltimore Sun. Her response is as thought provoking as her article!

First I want to thank each and every one of you for writing to me. I want to apologize for sending a group email, but I got hundreds of letters. I want you to know you are not alone. There are millions of women who feel as you do, that the Democratic National Primary Campaign uncovered the pervasive and insidious sexism that runs rampant through our country. That Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate, and that she is being cheated out of the nomination by the good old boys network, the DNC and the Mainstream Media. You are angry. You are in a rage. I am too.
Underneath that rage is sadness, sadness that we are second class citizens in a country where we are the majority. What’s especially disquieting to me is that many young women are blind to the sexist nature of the world in which we live. It’s our job, each and every one of us, to educate them. Economically, women earn seventy-seven cents on the dollar for the same work compared to men. Women are in significantly fewer managerial positions, are less likely to own a business and more likely to live in poverty. Politically, women comprise fifty-two percent of the population and an even larger share of the voting public yet only sixteen of the current one hundred Untied States Senators are women. Similarly, only sixteen percent of the current members of the House of Representatives are women. There is only one female Supreme Court Justice on a nine member court and most remarkably America has never had a female president or presidential nominee. Women did not get the right to vote in the United States until 1920. The glass ceiling is real on both economical and political fronts. Men want parity for their daughters and granddaughters but not for the women sitting beside them. They are not going to give us the power that should be ours, we have to take it. Are we ready?
Women have no sense of their own power. White women are the largest race/gender voting block in the country. White men compose the second largest voting block, black women the third largest block, and black men are the smallest race/gender block. White and black women together women comprise more than fifty percent of the electorate and if were fully committed to a single candidate, we could determine the outcome of any office in the country. It is our turn. Are we ready?
I am sad that black women do not support Hillary in greater numbers. Many members of the black community wrote to me and said they were afraid to stand up for Hillary. They explained how black radio is pressuring it’s listeners to vote for Barack Obama. White men and women alike wrote me and told me that they were called racist for supporting Hillary Clinton. I want to remind each and everyone of you that, in 1969, Shirley Chisholm the first black woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives said, “Of my two handicaps, being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.” The impact of the “handicaps” of race and gender has not changed in the last 40 years. As women we need to come together, and take the power that could be ours. Racism and sexism are both terrible barriers, but one is not worse than the other. On average, a black man with a college degree earns more than a white woman with the same degree, and a black woman earns less than both. Black male physicians earn more than white women physicians, and black male professors earn more than white female professors. Yet ninety percent of black women voted for Barack Obama indifferent to the impact of gender on their struggle or how electing a female president might help them.
I want to change the world. I think we can. I think by electing female leaders we can create a gentler America. We need to be counted. We need to stand up and let the DNC know we will not get in line. As one woman who wrote me so eloquently put it, the DNC thinks we will vote for Obama because like abused women we have no where else to go.
I, Lynette Long, am a registered Democrat, but I will not vote for Barack Obama. I will not stay home. I will go to the polls and proudly write on my ballot, HILLARY CLINTON. I want the DNC to count my vote as a protest vote. I want them to know I am tired of being a second class citizen in my own country.
This isn’t about Barack Obama or John McCain. This isn’t about Iraq or Iran. This is about a war, a war for our voice, our dignity, and our selves. I am doing this for my daughter, her unborn children and her children’s children. I am doing this for each and every one of you. I am doing this because I love my country. I hope you will join me.
Lynette Long

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