THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Monique Doyle Spencer

How to get my vote

Monique Doyle Spencer / October 23, 2006
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I'M A woman. I work. I have kids. They play soccer. I was born a Democrat. My heritage is Irish.

But, dear Democratic leadership, I have news: I am not speaking to you anymore. I know the truth now: You take me for granted. You know I will vote with you. You don't have to do a thing for me, I'll still get in the back seat. And this has got to stop.

Thirty-seven states have sent Democratic women to Washington since the first arrived in 1917. Massachusetts has sent just one, in 1971. Do you remember who she was? Louise Day Hicks. She probably had many wonderful qualities, but I think she was a single-issue gal. She served one term, we sent her home, probably not by bus. We haven't sent a woman since.

Why? Because the leadership of our party knows they don't have to. We are easy dates. There go the Republicans, churning out female candidates. They have to, because their record on issues we care about is so bad. They cut our taxes, yippee, and then we have to pay fees for every single thing our children do. To get any women at all to vote for them, they've got to groom smart, charismatic females for office. They've got to give them money. Organize their campaigns. Call in favors. That's what the Irish had to do, long ago, to be elected.

Of course, to be fair, the Republican congresswomen from our state, Edith Nourse Rogers and Margaret Heckler, were actually closet Democrats, or OMDs. That means Old Money Democrats, who are required by the Mayflower Compact to be Republicans.

But now, dear leadership, Congress is on everybody's list of People Who Have Got To Go. We are tired of their hissing contests, we don't much care who replaces them, but we don't want one party having control of everything anymore. We send our kids to Iraq, but Congress doesn't. Rich people don't. It is that way in most wars, but that would change overnight if women made the decisions about war. It doesn't occur to us to kill an enemy, because all we need to do is talk about them. ``I don't care if she's wearing a burka, she still looks fat," we would say about our sister president of Iran. She would catch us at it and tell everyone the whole list of really awful Korean presidents we slept with. We would ignore each other for years. See? Nobody dies.

That's just satire, of course. There are times when wars must be fought, when an enemy has to be eliminated. But this war, the war against terrorism, is a war against poverty and ignorance and sometimes evil. It won't end with a bullet or a bomb, but with a book. Until we educate the women of the jihad, and their children, and give them hope for their safety and their futures, we won't stop terrorism. When the hand that rocks the cradle is illiterate and disenfranchised, the children have no hope.

So, please, dear leadership, give us new ideas, and give us women who might have them. Just imagine how many unknowns are out there, women who could be great representatives, who will live and die unnoticed.

Why is this a problem? It means that the only women who end up in office are the kind of people who actually want to be politicians . Nobody can stand them. They wear bright red suits to the State of the Union address so they'll stand out on camera.

That just makes them look fat.

Monique Doyle Spencer is author of ``The Courage Muscle: A Chicken's Guide to Living With Breast Cancer."