Wednesday, January 19, 2005

First Barbara Lee and now Barbara Boxer, ...

both California women friends to be proud of. We have at least one in the house and one in the senate raising hell and speaking for what I sense is a growing national constituency. Watching Senator Barbara Boxer take on the secretary of state designee this morning gave me hope and swept away much of yesterday's depression.

Having the governor and the supreme court both turn down the final appeal for the man whose life on Death Row ended last night at San Quentin had taken its toll. When my clock radio clicked on this morning to the hearings -- and the now familiar voices started to drone on -- I felt a momentary wave of nausea, then Barbara started her interrogation (and interrogation it was!). Every question that needed asking was asked. The anger and frustration she was feeling was evident in her voice, and she was unapologetic for it. She was expressing what so many of us are feeling. Just got off a letter of support to this tiny warrior, and hope that others are doing the same. The voting has yet to be conducted, and, though the outcome is predictable -- Barbara Boxer will stand her (and our) ground. We (our network) just received a message from her office asking for backup support by email before this afternoon's voting takes place.

How interesting that it is the women in governance who are stepping up to take the heat and lead the way. But it may be more important to note that it is this area of the nation (the San Francisco Bay Area) that continues to lead the way. The truth is that their Progressive constituencies grant them permission to do so. We've have been demanding this kind of leadership from our elected representatives now for several decades. Looking at the political landscape from the inside for all these years makes me aware of how often legislators are trapped by the limitations placed upon them by those who placed them in office. They're often far more willing to grow and change in light of new evidence than the folks back home will allow. Would that other parts of the country could reflect the growth that these good folks experience in office. The political ferment here in our region is visceral and citizen participation as natural as breathing. However, this freedom stops short just outside of the Bay Area boundaries, unfortunately, and much of the rest of the State reflects attitudes found in the newly designated red states.

Having been privileged to have worked in this field for some of the most dynamic leaders and participated in kitchen tables debates with others, I'm more aware than ever just why it is that I'm so reluctant to leave the stage. Still waiting edgily for that tap on the shoulder from my replacement. The Lees and the Boxers and those waiting in the wings to succeed them will continue to lead the way out of the political swampland we find ourselves in -- if there's enough time, that is. They're in training now in the National Womens Political Caucus, in NOW, in NARAL, and in the organization of younger women called EMERGE where the mentoring and coaching is going full steam ahead in preparation for the next decade of leadership. Both Barbaras came out of and are strongly supported by these organizations.

We're finally seeing the positive effects of female influence in high places, and it makes me hopeful. And, for the moment I'm skipping over the scariness of the image of the other image of "women in high places," that embodied by The Ice Queen, Dr. Rice! Transforming female energy into more power while holding fast to the qualities that separate us from our brothers will be the challenge of our time. Good governance probably requires a proper balance between our Yang and Ying, and will take awhile to achieve -- at least until our numbers increase in the Halls of Congress. Meanwhile, our two courageous Barbaras from home will have to do -- and we'll keep enabling them to the extent that we can for as long as we can.

Now to watch the rest of the proceedings.

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