Every now and then, the Parade magazine that comes in my Sunday newspaper actually runs an article of value and interest. This week, a David Gergen interview with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is worth reading. O’Connor is one of my idols – she inspires me to think more and do more. She is a woman worth emulating.
Gergen asks her about her experience in 1952 when, as a top law graduate from Stanford, she was unable to find a job. Why? It wasn’t because the economy was bad or she was shy or incompetent. It was because she was a woman. Stop and think about that for a moment. In 1952, no one would hire one of Stanford’s brightest prospects simply because she carried an XX pair of chromosomes. It’s a thought that makes me want to find every woman I know and shake her furiously while screaming, “Forget about what’s between your legs! It’s the gray matter between your ears that matters!” In order to jump-start her career, O’Connor ended up working without pay in the one firm that was willing to take her on.
O’Connor has had a remarkable life – not just a remarkable career. She succeeded as a lawyer, a judge, a wife, and a mother. She continues, at age 82, to succeed as a mentor and advocate for public life. At the end of the Parade interview she is quoted as saying, “I had a good life, and the reason it was a good life is because I stayed busy doing the things that mattered to me. If I stopped doing that, I think my whole life would disintegrate. I want to feel like, to the extent that I’m able to, I can still make a difference.”
When I’m done shaking the women around me I’m going to ask, “What matters to you? What are you doing to make a good life?” If any of them say they’re going to spend all their time popping babies out of their vaginas I’m going to shake them again. Any Ho can have a baby. What is she going to do with her brain? What is she going to do to make a difference in society? What, at age 82, is she going to say to her interviewer? Or, perhaps more appropriately, is she going to contribute anything to society that warrants an interview? What business matter, what civic cause, what social injustice is going to stir her passions?
Lives well-lived are not gender-dependent. O’Connor shows us that, despite the centuries-old XY Chromosome Conspiracy to keep women out of the public sphere (unless their bodies are on public display), women can make a difference.
How are you going to make a difference?
To learn more about Justice O’Connor, I recommend Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice by Joan Biskupic. In addition, O’Connor has penned two autobiographical books worth reading: Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest and The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice.
Edited on 1/13/13 to add this excellent graphic from The Idealist on Facebook:
Election day is just a week away and I want to encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to go vote. Yeah, I hear you now saying, “What’s the point? My vote doesn’t count anyway.” And you’re absolutely right. Your vote does not count because it’s MIA. In the last presidential election approximately 60% of eligible voters voted. Where were the other 40%? That’s 40% of the citizens of the United States whose votes do not count. Unfortunately, the figure of 60% is considered a good turnout. In most elections, only about half of eligible voters vote. In local elections the numbers are even more dismal.
Folks, we hear a lot about “change” and “getting the country back on track.” But when only about half of us votes, what that really means is that the politicians who can raise the most money and influence the most active fringe elements of their particular political party sway the election in their favor. When a voter chooses to opt out of the process, the political parties are able to “get out the vote” for a small non-representative sampling of the American populace.
If you want your vote to count, then you must vote. Imagine what the country might look like if 80% or 90% of eligible voters hit the polls on Tuesday? If we want representatives, and senators, and governors, and local office holders who truly represent the people they claim to represent, then those people must vote. Otherwise, yes, indeed, your vote does not count and your hopes and desires for yourself, your family, and this country do not count either.
My favorite line is when he says says we’ve been “royally defecated” on by our government!
Obama is certainly left-leaning, and I believe he would love to take America in the direction of most of Europe. However, we are quite fortunate in that this is a Republic and he doesn’t get to do anything he wants. He has to contend with a Legislature, a Supreme Court, 50 state governments, and millions of individual citizens. Not to say Americans don’t need to be vigilant. They do. But the “Right” saying Obama and his advisors (the so-called czars) will single-handedly turn the U.S. into a socialist country is as bad as the “Left” when they said Bush and his advisors were usurping power, trampling on our freedoms and ignoring the Constitution. Oh wait, maybe that’s what the Right is now saying about the Left…
Anyway, lest the Right forget, capitalism is not without its flaws — many having reared their ugly, greed-covered heads over the last year. Yes, capitalism is good for generating ideas, innovations, new business, and wealth. It also appeals to greed, selfishness, and elitism:
“You’re poor because you were too lazy or stupid to take advantage of this wonderful capitalist system. I’m rich because I took advantage and I deserve to enjoy all my wealth. You want wealth? Go work for it.”
I’m registered as an Independent. Too bad I can’t register as a “Follower of the Way.” Jesus didn’t expect the government to take care of people and he certainly had little regard for the rich. Jesus called on His people to care for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the downtrodden, to welcome the outcast, to warn the rich, and to look to only one Heavenly Ruler for guidance
This past Tuesday I went to a town hall meeting held by Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn. Several hundred people were present and Senator Coburn graciously took time to listen to and answer as many questions as possible. Unfortunately, some people abused the opportunity. Not nearly as many people who wanted to ask a question got the opportunity.
Too many questioners spent too much time rambling on about their personal philosophies, explaining their personal problems, or summarizing the political scene as they saw it. In many cases these people didn’t even have an actual question. Folks, the first rule of town hall? ASK A QUESTION! And, preferably, ask it within the first 20 seconds of being recognized.
Other town hall attendees are not interested in your personal theories. We’re there to hear the Senator’s response to questions that impact his constituents as a whole. Which means, consequently, that we don’t want to hear about your personal problems with Medicare Part D or your beef with the military. If you’ve got a personal issue to discuss with the Senator, make an appointment with the Senator. In addition, we all watch the news and are following the actions of our government — that’s what brought us to the town hall. We don’t need you to bring us up to speed. We’re there. Ask your question. Let the Senator answer. Move on to the next person with a question.
The Senator did his best to keep things moving, but it’s unfortunate that a few persons were able to hijack so much of the meeting to suit their own personal agendas. Next time I go to a town hall I might have to carry a megaphone with me so I can shout, “Ask a question or sit down!” I promise, the rest of the crowd will support me in my efforts.
As if the election didn’t drag on long enough, we’ve now been subjected to wall-to-wall coverage of an inauguration that has yet to occur. Perhaps the media with their short memories have forgotten that this happens every four years. I note that CNN has been covering the “Obama Express” — his train ride following the the route that Abraham Lincoln took to his inauguration so many years ago. This gushing for Obama is nauseating. I had to rummage through the cupboard for some Pepto Bismol.
I might be missing something, but I can’t find any similarities between Lincoln and Obama, other than the fact that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Frankly, Obama reminds me more of Jimmy Carter than any other former president. And that is not giving me any warm fuzzies for the future of our nation.
Since Obama does not yet have a presidential record (another fact the media seems to overlook) I really can’t honestly compare him to any former presidents. He does have a stellar campaign record. I must give him props for being able to raise so much money. Unfortunately, Obama’s ability to convince well-meaning folks to hand over millions of their hard-earned dollars to fund his personal rise to power and fame sound more like Bernie Madoff than anyone else.
Perhaps a Jimmy Carter-esque presidency doesn’t sound so bad after all.
I saw a button that said: “One Nation, Under-Educated.” That has to be the smartest button I’ve seen in a long time. Now, some may say I’m a bit over-educated, considering my main interests involve talking to chickens and weeding flower beds. However, it seems to me that if more people would take time to educate themselves — and they don’t have to enroll in formal programs — then the country would be much better off. I was a bit frightened by the surveys after the election that showed just how little the voters knew about the candidates, the campaign and how our system of government works. How in the world will we ever find solutions to real problems if the voters don’t have a clue about the problems or the people they elect to solve problems?
Our public school systems aren’t any help in educating the populace. The whole system is controlled by 1) bureaucrats elected by an uninformed voter pool and 2) a teachers union that financially supports said bureaucrats. They have no interest in accurately educating young people. They are better served by maintaining a system that turns out uneducated folks who will continue to vote on issues and for politicians that they really don’t understand.
Citizens need to take control of their own education. If parents can’t homeschool or put their kids in private school, they need to supplement their education with books, movies and newspapers that challenge and correct the “politically correct” information that is championed by the schools. Adults need to read, read, read. Did I mention read? And I don’t mean only read the things or writers you agree with. Read widely. Cover as many topics as you can. Take it from this formal journalism student — don’t believe one word of what you hear, see or read in the media. Check it out for yourself. You’ll be surprised at all the things those professional journalists choose not to tell you!
Maybe some day we can become “One Nation, WELL-Educated.”
By this time tomorrow I’ll have done my civic duty and cast my vote in a myriad of elections and on several state ballot measures. Honestly, this election season can’t be over soon enough. I’m sick of listening to both sides ignore, distort and outright lie. I don’t care who your pick is for president. He lies, daily and knowingly. You can visit FactCheck.org and try to wade through all the garbage. Unfortunately, like so many elections in the last two decades, this one is just another toss-up between goober #1 and goober #2. At least one of the goobers picked a gooberette to be on the ticket so we haven’t had to look at and listen to four good ole boys lie to us — it’s more pleasant coming from a pretty face.
It would be nice to find a politician who didn’t think lies and distortions paved the road to elected office. Unfortunately, most of us are content to be a bunch of boobs who believe whatever idiocy flows from the mouth of “our candidate.” Someday maybe we’ll all put down our flag pins and our buttons and demand honesty from these political ninnies and the media who back them. Until then, we might as well ask the magic 8-ball who the best choice is.
Oklahoma can be a great place to live in many ways. However, politically it’s a closed-minded state. The only recognized parties are the Republicans and Democrats. Other parties are active, but in essence they don’t exist. Oklahoma sets the bar so high to achieve status as a recognized party that they (I believe intentionally) dictate a stifling two-party state political machine.
I’m registered as Independent, so I didn’t get to vote in yesterday’s primary elections. But I can’t say I really cared. It looks like I will need to take an anti-nausea pill beforehand and then hold my nose when I cast my ballot in November. Are the candidates being put forth by the Democrats and Republicans really the best they have to offer?
I hope that during my lifetime a really strong 3rd-party candidate comes along that can actually win the presidency. Perhaps then we can return control of the government back to the people it purports to represent.