Women's votes can make a difference

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008

Our great-grandmothers organized rallies and demonstrations and endured episodes of ranting and degradation from society in the name of securing a woman's right to vote. This is a free country we live in; today more than ever before, we realize how dearly that freedom costs our nation.

Freedom is not free. Our freedom and constitutional rights as Americans -- and as women -- are up for grabs right here in our own country and our communities.

Imagine: Election Day 2008, Kenai Peninsula. Polling places hum with registered voters and pollsters. Alaskans cast their precious votes for the leaders of the free world and the communities in which they live. You watch as voters crackle through icy parking lots to mark their ballots. But, something is wrong with this picture -- all the voters are men. What's up with that?

Clearly, the quality of understanding women bring to an election regarding issues such as education of their children, health care for their families, domestic violence, women's health-medical issues, women's protection laws and statutes will not be recognized. Who will categorically decide when and whether her loved ones are called to military duty?

This imaginary scenario is actually close to factual: women are not voting. Come on, ladies. These issues will move up on priority lists of candidates and politicians with every vote a woman casts.

Not 100 years ago, this scenario was a reality in the entire United States. Women could neither vote nor run for public office. Today's woman is likely to be a working-single mother, a homeowner-small business owner and is inarguably a serious, controlling factor in our economy. Heck, we even have a woman (Alaska woman at that) running for vice president. We matter; our opinions are important.

A woman in 2008 has strong opinions and ideas about "the way it should be." As busy as we are, I think we're all familiar, in concept at least, with "taking time for ourselves." This is a classic example of that clich in action.

Take a few minutes of time for yourself, for your family, for the women who came before you and those who will follow, to vote. Whatever your political or personal opinions; they are yours, they are important. The only way to effect changes-improvements for issues we find pressing is to vote.

No matter your ideas of politicians and politics as usual, count on this simple equation: more votes equals more attention. Simple equation, simple task.

Did you know if every woman who did not vote in the last presidential election voted in this one, they could completely decide the outcome? It's true.

It's difficult to get excited about much of what goes on in the political arena because of the degree of "muck" involved, but the only way to raise the bar on our politicians is to raise our collective voice. We can make it clear to even our "muckiest" politicians that we have opinions on matters they need to address if they are to win our votes.

Lori Blank

Anchor Point

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