Tag Archives: power unused is power useless

To Run the World (Better), Power Up Feminism

In the Spring ’09 edition, On The Issues Magazine writers and artists discuss feminist and progressive values that transcend politics — our Lines In The Sand. I’m pleased to have been asked to contribute this article to the mix.

Were you thinking we were done with elections and could take a few minutes to celebrate a pro-woman administration and a Democratically-controlled Congress that appears ready to embrace pro-choice and pro-equality measures? Sorry, my Sisters. Elections are never over when they are over.

Candidates are already gearing up for 2010 and 2012. It’s critically important that feminists review the lessons of 1992 and its parallels to 2008 so we can avoid repeating mistakes—and more urgently, so we can charge ahead with strategies that advance a bold vision of gender equality and justice.

After all, men have been making America’s political decisions for over 200 years now, and I don’t need to tell you it’s not a pretty picture. Women, especially those not afraid to identify themselves with the F-word, are the change we need. But whether women will be the change we get depends on whether we use the power we have.

For the one constant in politics is that every victory sows the seeds of the next defeat and every defeat sows the seeds of the next victory, unless eternal vigilance is applied. This means using a movement mentality that continually advances bold new ideas and keeps its grassroots watered.

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Like many women who identify themselves as feminists, Kathleen Turner and I are divided in our presidential candidate pick. We spent 18 months collaborating on her just-released memoir, Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles.

During that time, we talked about politics quite a bit, because she sees herself as an activist as well as an actor. I rolled my eyes last summer when she announced to me that she’d decided to support Barack Obama and was going stumping for him in North Carolina’s August heat.

I thought it a naïve choice, but Obama had the good sense to invite her to a meeting with a few prominent women and had asked directly for her support. She’d been impressed, as I was when I first met him soon after his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate. And like many people, I was thrilled that the Democratic candidate lineup looked more like America, whereas Republicans were still mired in cookie-cutter white male political hegemony. Nevertheless, it seemed at the time that Hillary Clinton was surging to an unassailable lead for her party’s nomination, so I didn’t need to press too hard on Kathleen to join me in supporting her.


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