Why Not Take Up Knitting? Looking Ahead to the 2006 Elections
By Linda Berg, Political Director
Are you tired of complaining about corrupt, unprincipled members of Congress? Do you cringe every time you hear George W. Bush or Dick Cheney's voice on the radio? Have you taken a new interest in the crossword puzzle since the front page news seems to deteriorate daily? With George Bush in the White House, Congress controlled by the right wing, and the Supreme Court possibly lost for a generation, why not take up knitting?
Ironically, the worse the news is for women, the better chance we have to throw the rascals out and elect women (feminists!) for a change. Every new front page of scandal, every indictment of a right-wing operative, makes it likelier that in November voters will be in the mood to toss out those in power and start with a clean slate.
As Roe v. Wade continues to be weakened by the Supreme Court, the battleground is shifting to the states. And, more than any time since the state-by-state fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, we need strength at that level. There are feminist governors running for re-election: Janet Napolitano in Arizona, Kathleen Sebelius in Kansas and Jennifer Granholm in Michigan. We need these women poised to veto any state bills that jeopardize women's rights. And because the state legislatures will be empowered to make mischief if Roe is scuttled, it has never been more important to elect feminists at every level of the political pipeline. We need more NOW activists in the state legislatures, like Beth Edmonds, former NOW National Board member and now president of the Maine Senate, and Terry Schooley, former president of NC NOW, serving in the Delaware State House.
From the votes on the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, it couldn't be clearer that we have to elect more feminists to the U.S. Senate. We must challenge those whose seats are up in 2006 and whose votes have eroded women's rights. On the other hand, we must make sure that our allies, like Senator Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, defeat their well-funded right wing opponents. To add to our electoral challenges, Senators Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) are retiring and we must ensure that they are replaced with feminist allies—not right-wing zealots.
There are only 14 women in the U.S. Senate and 67 in the House, and just eight out of 50 governors are women. But in 2004, almost nine million more women voted than men. Women's rights are on the line in the states, in the courts and in Congress. We must work in the electoral arena to change the tide.
As a NOW member, your political action committee is NOW PAC, the only political action committee that endorses and works for candidates solely based on their commitment to feminist issues. And now we must be poised to take every electoral advantage to change the faces in Congress and to build momentum for the 2008 elections.
If you're a NOW member, you can contribute to NOW PAC's efforts at https://www.now.org/pac/donate-members.html or mail your contribution to the NOW Action Center.
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