To the Editor:
I received a campaign flyer in my mailbox this week announcing that I should vote for Julie Blake for Hopewell Township Council because she is a woman. I did a double-take, as I wondered why her gender should matter in the slightest on the most local level of politics in my home town. The flyer specified nothing that Ms. Blake has done in the past to fight against gender inequality on the local or national level, nor did it mention any campaign promises regarding issues of gender in our community. It just said vote for Julie Blake because she’s a woman.
Huh and hmm. I am to vote for Ms. Blake just because she’s a woman. What does that even mean? Not to vote for her opponent because he’s a man? As a life-long feminist activist that has voted for over 40 years exclusively on feminist issues of concern to our country, I found the postcard and its lack of relevant content just absurd and ridiculous. It’s the first time that any politician on any level has reached out to me to say “vote for me just because I’m a woman” without mention of any of the issues for which feminists for decades have voted, rallied, and marched by the millions in this country, down the National Mall in DC, and in cities world-wide.
The obvious and most overwhelming issues facing women today in our country are twofold: the threat to our legal rights to make the full and final decision over our own bodies, and the public policies that make essential reproductive health services easily available to all. I did not see on the flyer any stance that Ms. Blake was taking on these issues that (almost) exclusively drive the button I push in the ballot booth. Does she champion the opening of a Planned Parenthood in Hopewell Valley? If so, that campaign promise would significantly alter my decision on where to place the checkmark for my vote. Currently, women in Hopewell Valley must go to Trenton, Hamilton, or New Brunswick for affordable and essential reproductive health care services. Open a Planned Parenthood in Hopewell Valley and you’ve got my vote! But no, the glossy flyer did not mention one single solitary issue relating to gender inequality in this country, let alone on our tiny little local level. But vote for Blake because she’s a woman.
My first attendance at an abortion rights rally was thirty years ago in 1989 with thousands of others supporting NARAL across the National Mall in DC. I flew in from California just to attend it and make my voice heard, which was an enormous effort but one of the most empowering days of my life. I went to the 2018 March For Our Lives in DC to show my support for sensible gun control in our country. In January of 2017, I joined millions of my fellow Americans in the Women’s March in DC. These and many other days of rallying and marching are huge milestone efforts for those in attendance that empower us to our core. I take my feminist political advocacy efforts extremely seriously, and will continue to do so until I can pass the torch on one day to a granddaughter (hopefully).
The postcard I received in the mail from the Blake campaign was upsetting to me. It was an affront and an insult to me and my advocacy efforts for women’s rights and gender equality. If the postcard had shown a picture of her in a pink pussycat hat or perhaps carrying a placard proclaiming her beliefs about sensible gun control, I might not be writing this letter. I would have loved to have read that she will be campaigning for a Planned Parenthood in the valley. But there was no content relevant to her gender or a feminist agenda at all. Just vote for Julie because she’s a woman.
Sorry. That glossy flyer was a slap in the face and downright offensive to me as a woman’s advocate for equal rights and gender equality. There are many reasons I’m voting for JackJackowski for Hopewell Township Council in November. That postcard in my mailbox not only sealed the deal, but offended me enough to write this letter. #VoteJack2018