It’s 6:30 in the evening on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
I have had a full and busy day.
I came home to the news that Elizabeth Warren has dropped out of the Democratic Presidential primary race.
I am sad about that.
Full disclosure: I’m not sure that I would have voted for Warren in the Wisconsin primary. There are many things that I have liked about her. She was in my top tier of candidates. I also had reasons to support her competitors. I think my decision might well have been a standing-in-line-to-vote decision.
Still, I am sad.
Warren is in many ways the perfect candidate. She is smart, experienced, a track record of getting things done, the kind of assertiveness that is needed to get things done, an impeccable resume, and on and on. She knows politics and the art of compromise. She has a plan for EVERYTHING. She was a strong candidate. The only down side, culturally speaking, is that she is a woman. I’m not saying that as a personal opinion, but as a cultural observation.
What makes me sad is that a Democratic field that started with six strong female candidates, not to mention a strong candidate who is gay and married, has now narrowed to two old white guys. That’s a step backwards.
A deep and strong sexism exists in our culture. It must be addressed. We can and must do better.
The first step is to acknowledge it. For those of us who are white, male, and in my case, old, to shut our mouths and listen to our colleagues who have been the victims of our patriarchy for far too long. And it is also our responsibility, not only to listen, but to call out sexism when we see it.
I serve on the board of a burgeoning not-for-profit organization. We are a mixture of gifts and talents, all of us strong, smart people. I noticed that the strong and smart women were continually being interrupted by the strong and smart men. Old white men. I called them out on it. It was a tense moment. But it also gave us the chance to look at ourselves in the mirror, acknowledge the wrong, and move forward in a way that gave a much more equal voice to the entire board. We need to do better.
This evening, I am sad. I thought we were better than this. I thought we had made progress. I’m not so sure. We have a long way to go.