Leaping from Our Spheres
I live in a county in a state where early voting opened October 17th in one location, and in multiple locations after Halloween. So I took advantage of casting my ballot the first day. I stood in a longish line with a diverse group of eligible adults, reflecting the changing racial and age demographics of my Southern metro area.
As soon as I finished voting, got my “I Voted” sticker, turned out of the parking lot of the building where we usually come to register cars in person, pay fines, or dispute water bills — I felt relieved. I had followed this presidential election nonstop for over a year, riveted to cable news political shows every evening and many Sunday mornings when I wasn’t preaching. I was experiencing much the same responses as when I watch hurricane and other natural disaster coverage nonstop over a period of days. I was overwrought, exhausted. Continue reading
A recent self-care Monday, during which I had all my moles and skin tags and dark spots checked out and this year’s flu shot injected, led to another preventive discovery. In the clinic waiting room, I came across the September 26, 2016 issue of Women’s Health magazine, chock full of the usual advice on how to deal with foot pain, master the podium for public speaking, and choose the latest shades of make-up (as well as an intro to eating paleo). Plus a well-timed article, put together by journalists and policy experts in the arena of women’s health and wellness, exploring “what if” the most dramatic gender-related proposals that have been put forth by candidates this election cycle actually came to pass. How might this figure in the choices women voters will make on or before Nov. 8th?
Last week’s blog laid out the consequences of completely repealing the Affordable Care Act or of declaring abortion to be illegal. There would be huge costs in terms of sicker women and dangerously unregulated medical procedures. This week let’s take a look, based on the opinions of dozens of experts who were interviewed, at what is at stake for women around immigration. Again, if the most extreme proposed measures were adopted, the financial and human costs would be high and the damages great. Continue reading
Last week I scheduled two of my fall preventive health appointments: an all over skin cancer checkup and a flu shot. While I was stripped down to a thin blue paper cover-up, awaiting the dermatologist, I decided to skim through whatever magazine was lying around the exam room.
Given the choice between thumbing through “Seventeen” and the September issue of “Women’s Health,” I chose the latter, figuring that I could waste a few idle ( and nearly naked ) moments, reading up yet again about how to achieve sexy abs, drop a size, sleep well, and slay stress. Instead, I came across a well-researched, thoughtful article titled “What If…” an investigative piece on what is at stake for women on November 9th, the end of this long Presidential election season. It was researched and then written by four journalists, experts, we are told, in health care, abortion, immigration and gun control. They were asked to answer the question: Based on past research and the experience of other countries, what would be the possible consequences of the choices we make in the voting booth?
The facts about policies under fire and at risk were provided by 32 thought leaders from schools of public health, think tanks, foundations, and other institutions.
I confess that when my visit was over and I was left to get dressed, the magazine left the cubicle along with me (and a prescription for face cream). There was too much relevant and sometimes surprising information crammed in that issue for me to read and digest in the short time I waited for my health care provider. I knew I wanted to share it in this blog.
I had, obviously mistakenly, anticipated that the 2016 election season would offer an opportunity, especially during the presidential primary and general election debates, to both name and dive deeply into public policy matters of consequence to women. Not just because of the presence of the first female nominated candidate by a major political party, but because of the enormous sway held by women voters in determining the winner of this contest. Continue reading
Just before the first Presidential Debate 2016 on Monday night, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) produced a bingo card to fill out over the 90-minute program. This is something they have done previously in advance of major public forums or policy addresses such as the State of the Union.
For this occasion, the center of the playing card was the word “women,” surrounded by key gender justice issues such as violence against women, harassment, the equal rights amendment, and campus sexual assault. The object, as in all bingo games, was to score by filling a line down, across, or vertically—the prize being the satisfaction of attention being paid to the concerns of women-identified voters and their allies.
What little attention was paid to any of these concerns happened in the first moments of the debate during the segment on prosperity. In this context one of the candidates mentioned, in cursory order: equal pay, affordable childcare, and family leave, with no follow up conversation or questions from the moderator. There were not enough squares filled in to come close to being able to call “bingo,” or to come away with any sense that other significant issues, like access to affordable birth control and abortion, received or will receive airtime at all. If so, this will follow the pattern of the primary debates for both major political parties. Continue reading