What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Other Stuff Besides The Debt Limit Carnival......

Cynthia Ruccia

Enough said about the goings on in D.C., the media, etc. right now. It is a carnival show of the largest order, and I am starting to tire of its tawdriness. Believe it or not, there are other things going on, some of which I'd like to comment on.

First of all, let's take up the case of Elizabeth Warren, the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She was supposed to head up this almost-cabinet post. However, it was recently announced that her nomination was being withdrawn because she couldn't be confirmed by the Senate. Instead, another person, Richard Cordray, was nominated. Many, including myself, were enraged by this turn of events because we feel that the President should have stood up for Warren's nomination. As it stands, Cordray will run into exactly the same obstacles in the Senate as Warren had. Now how do you explain why Warren was thrown over for a man with the same problems? As Rep. Barney Frank summed it up, part of the reason was due to gender bias. But I see it as something even worse. No matter what anyone says, a case can be made that this president has been tone deaf when it comes to women's issues, and this turn of events makes that case even stronger. With women starting to leach away from Obama's base, it would be strategically important to make a stand for the Warren nomination. I believe that by not standing up and fighting for Elizabeth Warren and this nomination, President Obama showed us once again that women's advancement just doesn't matter all that much. Contrast that with our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who brings a women's rights angle into practically every trip she makes.

I have a personal vignette to add to this story. I had run for the U.S. House in 1994 and 1996, and when 2000 rolled around, the party asked me to run for county treasurer. After some time to think about it, I decided to go for it. Richard Cordray, the man that Obama has put forth in place of Elizabeth Warren, had been asked to run for county commissioner on the same ticket. He and I had a bunch of meetings to put an outline together about how we would run our campaigns together, pooling certain resources to our mutual benefit, particularly on our media campaign. At the very last minute, another candidate came forward to run for county commissioner and Cordray grabbed my spot for county treasurer without ever even discussing it with me. He just basically stole it from me and never brought it up to me ever again.

Now let me say this about Richard Cordray. I have alot of respect for him----he is a brilliant guy and a very able elected official. He's done a terrific job in every office he has held. It is clearly his calling in life to be a public servant. However, I found his conduct in my case to be blood curdlingly ruthless. I bring this up to make a point about him as well.

You see, I believe that as Elizabeth Warren's right hand man, Cordray should have been publicly pushing for her nomination as well. After all, she is the one who elevated Cordray in the first place. I saw once again that Richard Cordray was willing to ruthlessly leapfrog over a woman for his own personal gain. And truth be told, Barney Frank is right is saying that an unconscious culture of sexism makes this kind of conduct not only possible, but politically palatable and perfectly ok. Women should be outraged from sea to shining sea on this one!!!!

It is true that the kind of conduct I am complaining about in Cordray happens to men all the time. However, there never seems to be any price to pay for doing it to a woman. My thought isn't to whine about it but that we must speak up about it loudly and clearly (my favorite theme!! LOL) when it happens. Why? Because if we do make a fuss about it when it happens, people will think twice before actually doing it. And that, my friends, would be progress!!!!

The second item on my agenda is NOW, the National Organization for Women, an organization that many of us former Democrats feel completely betrayed the interests of getting Hillary Clinton nominated for the presidency in 2008. They and other groups who we counted on to stand behind Hillary to help get our first woman president completely blew our minds in their tepid support and abandonment of Hillary. There has been alot of upheaval in NOW since then, and many of us feel that they tarnished their name and brand for all time. We have felt resentful that the lazy media always goes to them for a women's rights perspective after they, NOW, completely blew it.

Imagine our surprise to have NOW FINALLY speak up and say something halfway wonderful on behalf of women. What they said is that if there were more women in Congress, this debt ceiling problem would have been resolved a long time ago. NOW of course, only looks at one side of the aisle, but BOTH sides need to have more women!! Women have been known to come together despite their differences to make progress on issues of public concerns. We also have a fairly current example of this when the Lily Ledbetter Act passed because all of the Republican women crossed over and voted with their Senate Democratic counterparts.

And then there is the study in Scientific American that showed that testosterone might be to blame for the reckless Wall Street decisions that caused the current  Great Recession. Sheila Bair and Brooksley Born, two women who headed up regulatory agencies on Wall Street, both consistently warned about the meltdown that would occur because of the recklessness being exhibited by the Wall Street men. The economic disaster in Iceland ushered in an era of female government officials to fix the problems.

Now I'm NOT saying that women can solve everything. Not a bit. What I AM saying is that if there were MORE women running things, say 50% of things, maybe some of our current problems would be resolved differently, more efficiently, etc. It's the BALANCE between the genders that would encourge a more balanced manner of conflict resolution. You're not sure? Well, we'll never know until we try it. And a grudging thanks to NOW for slipping the idea into the public consciousness!!!!

Lastly, I've been getting this blog circulating alot more via various social networking, etc., and the conversation has been incredibly uplifting. I have heard from some fantastic people who care enough about women's parity to engage in figuring out how we can move forward from our current standoff and invisibility. Men and women alike are very engaged by the idea of having a more balanced power structure in the U.S.

I've been equally struck by how many wonderful men are on board!! Woo hoo!!! And I've been a little disturbed by the few responses I've gotten from women who say that the sexist treatment of Palin and Bachmann is well-deserved because these women are scum in their eyes. :(  NO ONE deserves to be treated in a sexist fashion no matter how much you may dislike their ideas. If you treat one woman in a sexist way, you treat all of us that way. Fortunately, there have been only a very few with that nasty point of view.

As I circulated Women Win Too around this past week, I ran into an author named Michael Rushnak who visited the blog and joined in on the conversation. Turns out he's a physician who has written a bunch of medical mystery novels. His latest one is The Savior Vaccine, and in it one of the main characters is a woman president of the United States. He has a wonderfully sensitive and nuanced portrayal of this woman president, and for those of us who didn't get our wish in 2008, I highly recommend this book to read about a fictional woman president. The dream lives on and Mr. Rushnak has done a great job imagining for us what could have been and what will be in the future. You can get the regular or kindle version here.


  1. Cynthia---I know why I keep coming over here. You write all of the things that I've been thinking and wish someone was out there saying!!! I'm sending this piece to some people in my life who need to read it.

  2. Thanks for giving me something else to think about! Soooo sick of the debt ceiling blech!

  3. May we talk about the need for the return of the Divine Feminine? Can we allow
    ourselves to feel the feminine as well as the masculine in the Holy One?
    Because, until we honor both sides, too many men and women will have difficulty
    with women who want to shatter that last marble ceiling. Let's speak of Godde.
    Let's honor Godde.

  4. Much appreciated truly Cynthia. When I wrote THE SAVIOR VACCINE, Itbelieved that Hillary was going to get the nomination. IMO, after all the men who have occupied the office of President over the centuries of our republic, it's well past the time for the right woman to be elected. History has shown many terrific women Presidents/Prime Ministers of other countries. I long for the day when we have universally accepted gender equality just as we need continued progress on civil rights. Also, I hope to see the day when a woman is elected President-- and it's not news because she happens to have a woman but because it's accepted that she is the most qualified person to serve.

  5. don't get me started about Warren. She's so awesome-----she's my hero!!!! She got totally screwed and it just make my head want to explode.

  6. Still dreaming of that woman president. Not a day has gone by since Hillary conceded that I don't pine away for President Hillary Clinton. Things I imagine would be quite different.

  7. thank you Cynthia, very articulate. Having been involved in the womens movement since the early 70's it continually surprises me that its still one step forward, 3 steps back. I always said
    "Ginger Rogers did what Fred Astaire did, backwards and in heels " ( author unkown)Thank you for your posts, looking forward to many more.

  8. I have to admit, I can't bring myself to read about Elizabeth Warren selling out. She was the one bright spot left for me,,,ugh!!!

  9. @ Debbie

    That's one of my favorite quotes too. I think it came from the Frank and Ernest comic strip.

    And yes, knowing that loses me cool points I know.

  10. I also admit to the disappointment that Elizabeth Warren will not be...but to abandon the principles of the Democratic party in favor of Republicans, thinking that they (tea partiers??? really???) are going to elect a woman president is incredibly naive- Obama was inexperienced, stepped into office and into quicksand, and has not done enough in addressing so many issues, INCLUDING sexism- yet, he DID appoint Hilary, and thank goodness she accepted...and he also appointed Kathleen Sebelius to head one of the largest departments... Nevertheless, your posts are thoughtful, important and worthwhile reads. (just make sure that our shared disappointment over HRC not being selected doesn't skew the big picture of how to best serve all of the country during this economically difficult time- Too many people are living in too fragile of conditions...) Again, thank you for your thoughtful writing- I am in my 50's now...and my perspective matches a wonderful quote from an incredibly talented writer, Erma Bombeck..."We've got a generation now who were born with semi equality. They don't know how it was before, so they think, this isn't too bad. We're working. We have our attache cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don't realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle."

  11. Anonymous----Well I totally agree with Enma Bombeck!!!

    I don't know if you've read any other posts on this blog, but I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I'm a proud Independent (a recovering Democrat)and as such I feel blessed to be freed up from excessive party rhetoric and pressure to enable me to see things outside the box----including viewing women's rights through a different lens. I'm in my 50's too (not for much longer!!), and I've grown to feel that both parties have indoctrinated us badly. This bad control of our minds has caused a woman's agenda to be put forth that is almost all talk and no action. BOTH SIDES, and for different reasons. As such an agenda that would truly put forward women's parity has been lost to a politics that is more interested in dividing us. Our generation has been particularly poorly indoctrinated, and IMHO we need to start thinking outside the box again and figure out a new path to get to parity. I'm certain that there is no argument between us that women still have a long way to go.......

  12. @ Anonymous

    FYI I am one of the dreaded TEA partiers and am working very hard to help get more women elected. Also, if you check any polling on the favorite politicians among self-described TEA party members, Bachmann and Palin consistently come out on top. They're women right?

  13. "What a terrific blog...great sanity break from all that is swirling around!"

  14. What a well thought out blog, Cynthia. I too am a recovering Democrat, and now a proud Independent.
    I will never forgive NOW for how they treated HRC and giving their support to Obama...never as i will never forgive the wimpy women in the Democratic Party who were so afraid to vote for the right woman, because of their job security!!
    Yes, both parties are to blame and for different reasons..and does it show when pitted against each other.

  15. Yes, they are women---Palin and Bachman...and sadly, I am NO fan of either...and wish Hilary could run again. I am DEFINITELY in agreement that we need WOMEN in office- but that doesn't mean I would vote for just any woman...A bigger problem today is that there is no room for moderates these days- Truthfully, I don't like ANY of the current choices- and i will never understand (and part of this is probably where I live- I'm a former moderate who has been pushed left by the extremism that surrounds me) how we got to this point...the gun stuff is beyond frightening- look at Virginia- After the horrific tragedy at Virginia tech, due to that state's ultra conservative, pro gun position, it is (or will soon be) completely legal for students to have concealed weapons on campuses (or anywhere else...) Think about it.
    Sarah Palin (and her husband) belonged to a secede-from-the-union organization before she was pulled from obscurity- She also authorized helicopter killings of wolves- parades her entire family (including her pregnant unwed daughter at the time) on the tv...then turns around and says, "Quit attacking my family!" Ugh. Bachman's husband has a practice of trying to change men's sexuality...sounds like homophobia to me...
    The world cannot go back to the 1950's...and women, you'd better wake up, because that's the push...and yes, possibly from both sides...that is happening today- but Palin and Bachman are as bad as Pelosi...
    On another entirely different but interesting note: Do you know where the US ranks as far as the number of women in major elected positions in comparison to the rest of the free world? AND, can you name the country of the world that has the most (as close to 50/50 ratio- men/women) equality in elected officials?? I'm betting this one will surprise you...
    The US is ranked 29th...(although that information is pre-Obama, so it's possibly a little different now)... and the #1 country, which is at @44% women and 56% men of elected officials) is...Rwanda. The reason? After that country was destroyed so brutally, a new constitution was established---the need for schools and hospitals and 'nurturing' needs were assessed as well as the military and operations needs...and the foresight of those rebuilding knew that it would take both men and women to create a phoenix...

  16. I believe E. Warren has written about the connection between our housing bubble and the state of public education. I would like to read more about that.

  17. I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Warren and it's criminal that she's been denied the post she deserves. But I do hope she runs for U.S. Senator.

  18. Cynthia, I am not for women, but for humanity, which too often has not included women. King said no group has been discriminated worse than blacks - with the exception of women, i think Hitler had some problems along with the Church with a specif religious group.

    Warren should have been confirmed and Obama did not react properly, because it seems he has an aversion to fighting for principles no matter what.

    To always search for compromise may be a mediocre approach to leadership, as sometimes it is necessary to face down what is clearly not in the best interests of the public good - which is what Jefferson said was the primary role of government, and i think he was right.
    So i am a progressive, independent thinker, registered Dem, but not happy with any of the financial appointments of Obama.

    Sheila Bair did not speak out against making all the investment banks into Bank Holding Companies in the Fall of 2008, knowing that the FDIC would shovel half a trillion $ to them through the FDIC so Congress would not have to approve additional funds which the banks then used to pay back TARP - Optics, smoke and mirrors because Goldman had infiltrated the Gov decades before. Born had the understanding, guts and vision to speak out against all the stupid self interest stuff and was gone. Not because of her sex but because she was right and refused to go along with the crowd. Men who did not go along were also shoved aside, but it is harder for a woman. Retrospectively Hillary probably would have been better and we would have been closer to Bill. Hope you go to my blog which is about my new book as well as the 30 year against the American Dream by born again Social Darwinists metastasized as Financial Darwinists who religiously subscribe to their ethic of survival of the richest. Henry

  19. Cynthia my blog link did not post -- I would like to follow you, if i can figure out how, and i could use more followers as i am very close to finally getting my book into the public domain. Henry, ehs@ehenry.net www.howwegotswindled.blogspot.com

  20. comments from Harold Helm - Let's simply write in ELIZABETH WARREN for President - work to get her to Primary Obama also.
    = check out how to do it in each state, tell friends, groups HOW to ask EARLY VOTING/ ABSENTEE BALLOT FORM
    -ASK for the form from your county clerk - two months in ADVANCE
    - see also = In Texas, they call it "early voting by mail."
    (other states have similar and overseas)

    I am VERY concerned that Hillary is COMMITTED to MORE wars, especially with IRAN -
    she needs per SOME to prove she is even more macho than Margaret Thatcher.
    Hillary needs to DEIVER on fair treatment for Palestinians, security for ALL.
    B’tselem: Gaza, 95% of factories are closed, 93% of water is polluted

    I'm for Cynthia Ruccia for SECRETARY OF STATE
    Winona_LaDuke will be a GREAT PRESIDENT or VP WITH Elizabeth WARREN
    Other Stuff Besides The Debt Limit Carnival......
    Cynthia Ruccia
    http://womenwintoo.blogspot.com/2011/07/other-stuff-besides-debt-limit-carnival.html (SNIPS) Now how do you explain why Warren was thrown over for a man with the same problems?....

    http://www.obamatheconservative.com/ for scholarly review

    http://nader.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Jones
    http://womenforfairpolitics.com/ http://tinyurl.com/3tybocl