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Patricia Sulpizio: Barbara Boxer has earned her senator title

Democratic Voices

Posted: October 18, 2010 10:13 p.m.
Updated: October 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The history of women in the Senate begins with the struggle for women’s right to vote. The lessons we learned in school left out the shameful, gory details of torture, bloodshed and lives lost.

I only learned of them myself while researching the 90th anniversary when the Constitution guaranteed women’s right to vote on Aug. 26, 1920. The hidden facts are testament to persisting discrimination in our patriarchal society. 

The U.S. fight for women’s right to vote began 244 years ago when Abigail Adams requested her husband to not “forget the ladies.”

The story of imprisonment, near-starvation, force-feeding, solitary confinement, women hung by their wrists, deprived of clothing and confinement in mental institutions is chronicled in the Library of Congress, National Women’s Party records and dramatized in the HBO film “Iron Jawed Angels.”
The first time a woman was elected to the U.S. Senate was 1932, only 78 years ago.

According to the website, only 38 women have been elected to the Senate; fewer than one per state; 17 women are serving right now. Only two women have ever represented California in the Senate. They are Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. 

Borrowing from “The Music Man,” a popular musical set in 1912, before women got the right to vote, there was trouble with a capital “T” right here in Santa Clara River City when Senator Barbara Boxer’s opponent Carly Fiorina was at College of the Canyons as Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s keynote speaker at his “First Woman’s Conference,” a blatantly political event.

When Fiorina’s pal McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, listed her corporate resume, he finished by saying, “Not bad for a girl.”
In the text of her speech, Fiorina said, “I was a Kelly girl. We need Kelly Girls for Carly.”

Evidently, Fiorina thinks of women only as “girls,” cheerleaders for her political ambitions.

Fiorina is no champion of women’s rights. Fiorina said that if given the chance, she would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Regardless of your position on abortion, Roe v. Wade is the torchbearer of women’s rights, to keep the government out of women’s reproductive organs, the fight for women’s decisions over their own bodies, decisions that should be left to women and their physicians.

Flipping a crass metaphor aimed at women, men don’t want the government getting in their pants.

No man would stand for a law that would otherwise deny control over his reproductive organs. No man would introduce or support legislation forcing men to use condoms or punish them if they don’t. No man would allow laws prohibiting him to choose vasectomy or use Viagra or similar drugs.

People say we’re judged by what we do when no one’s looking; or, in the example of Fiorina, when no one’s listening.
In her effort to unseat Sen. Boxer, Fiorina has been petty, shallow and mean.

Unaware her microphone was on, Fiorina was caught taking a potshot at Boxer for her hairstyle.

In a television commercial mocking Boxer for respectfully requesting a general to address her as Senator, rather than ma’am, Fiorina said, “I am Carly Fiorina, and I approve this message.”

Imagine a senator addressing a general testifying in Congress as “dude” or “boy.” It would never happen. 
Fiorina’s supporters copied her campaign that demeans women.

Looking at the signs financed by her tea party supporters that popped up all over town this weekend, you will know what I mean.

They depict a 1920s-style women’s lace-up shoe and the words, “Boot Ma’am Boxer.” The reference to fashion that existed when women suffered so much cannot be overlooked.

Generals, male or female, have earned their titles, as have U.S. Senators. It’s telling — ironic — that Fiorina mocks the very title she covets when she denies Senator Boxer the respect granted every senator in Congress.

You betcha, ladies and gents. I will not be voting for Fiorina.

If you care about woman’s rights, civil rights, human rights, the battles being fought all over this planet to protect and secure them, you will not vote for her either.

With all due respect, General, it’s Senator, sir, not ma’m, It’s not about her hair. This column lacks space to list Senator Boxer’s achievements and the reasons she has earned Californians’ votes.

If for no other reason than that Sen. Boxer has been a champion for women her entire political career, each and everyone should vote for her.

A vote for Sen. Boxer is a vote for love and respect for every woman; respect for your mother, sister, daughter and ladies, especially for your selves.

Patricia Skinner Sulpizio is a Valencia resident and delegate to the California Democratic Party. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.


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