Dear Gloria Steinem and Secretary Albright,
Thank you. Thank you for everything you have done.
In fact, Secretary Albright, I like you so much that my daughter's name was Madeline for a few hours after she was born. It didn't quite fit her, so we didn't stick with it.
That's how much I like you and how much I respect everything you have done in your career.
I really liked you when I watched an extensive multi-hour documentary on PBS about the Clinton administration and why you left. You were forthright and I looked at my husband and said "Wow- she does not mince words. I like her."
I also acknowledge that the sins of a husband are not the sins of a wife.
And Ms. Steinem, I've read quotes by you at a women's group with which I am active. You have motivated me to break down barriers.
I work in an industry that when I started, was only about 15% female. I was happy at an investment conference last summer because I FINALLY had to stand in line for the bathroom. I was sad that when I posted that observation on Facebook only 4 male friends liked it because the other men had no clue why I would be excited about standing in line at the bathroom. So there's a long way to go, but that's progress.
I attribute my fortitude to much of what I've read that you've written, the movement that you helped direct and creating a pathway for me to be all that I want to be.
However, as a feminist, I was so incredibly offended by what each of you has said over the past few weeks that it makes my head hurt.
I also would like to say that I understand that Secretary Clinton is not responsible for what you said.
The comments were flippant. They were ridiculous.
Had Trump said them, I would have rolled my eyes. But you....
So since you think that I am some silly girl who has no respect for the fight that you fought (and we continue to fight, as a side note), let me explain in detail why I am supporting Sen. Sanders in the Democratic Caucus next week. I actually think I might explain it better than he does, to be honest.
I am supporting him because he is addressing the root causes of the primary issues facing our nation today and holding us back: political corruption and economic inequality.
Government cannot function in today's environment. Sen. McConnell was threatened by his own party to tow the line and was primaried by a well-funded opponent. Congressman Boehner couldn't take it any more. They weren't allowed to find the common ground. And it's not just the Republican Party. On our team, special interest groups use endorsements and contributions to force elected officials to vote their way or be challenged.
In fact, one reason I won't run for any office is because I would never want to be beholden to donors.
It is wrong.
Nothing can be done until we address this issue.
The fact that he is the ONLY candidate discussing this issue is important to me.
I also had the privilege of attending a few smaller events with the Senator. He really does not care who you are or how much money you donate. Truly. He left a VIP room- pissing off more than a few people- to make sure that a rally of 3,000 people started on time.
So he walks the walk and earned my respect.
He is the only candidate that has a fundamental plan to address the root of economic inequality- whether it be racially based or gender based.
And I'm not talking about equal pay or raising the minimum wage.
I'm talking about funding education.
It's not pie in the sky. When you were both in college, it was possible to work a summer job and pay your tuition. It's impossible now.
You had the opportunity. I sorta had the opportunity- my state offered scholarships to state universities for students with certain GPAs and ACT scores. Tuition would have been free for me had I opted to attend a state school.
So why not the young people today?
"Reach one, teach one" I just heard the other day. I want every smart student who wants to go on for higher education to have the ability to do so. I want to pull people up and give them the same opportunities that we had. Not say it's impossible. Find a way to make it possible.
I want for-profit universities to not be eligible for federally subsidized student loans.
Education provides opportunity which reduces poverty and crime rates.
Sen. Sanders talks about specific plans to make the playing field fair. Corporations should not have more tax privileges than small business owners. I am a small business owner. I am sick and tired of every large corporation being offered tax incentives to come to my state- no taxes for them, mean more for me. I joke that small business owners are the Atlas of the US economy. I can't go offshore. We pay for EVERYTHING.
Including health care. I can't get discounted rates from insurers because I'm not a big enough group plan. The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance less affordable in many ways. I am happy about the accessibility but having a national plan that I could opt into for my employees would be fantastic. I want to run a business, not spend time shopping health coverage. It seems ridiculous to me that we are the only industrialized nation without a national health care plan. When did my running a business obligate me to offer benefits? In fact, I've always been amazed that conservatives haven't jumped on the national health care plan. I'd gladly pay a tax that is shared by everyone rather than insurance premiums that is unevenly split amongst fewer people.
In summary, I find that his ideas and plans address the key fundamentals that are dragging our society back into a Gilded Age. They are not policies that simply say "Give more money to this group" or "Change that law..."
It is fundamental restructuring. Like FDR.
I don't accept "It can't be done. We shouldn't even try."
You didn't accept it when they said women should stay home and not bother themselves with silly things like politics and other "men's" issues.
And I won't accept that what we have is the best we can do.
THAT is why I am supporting Sen. Sanders.
Not to meet boys.
Not because I don't respect the feminist movement. I just don't think it's done. I don't think we've even come close to scratching the surface of inequality. Being born poor shouldn't mean you stay poor.
So thank YOU for showing me that women can do anything.
But on this issue as to why I support Sen. Sanders over Sec. Clinton, I very kindly disagree.
I wouldn't vote for a candidate because she's a woman any more than I would vote for a candidate because she's white.
I would vote for the person that I think is more aligned with my values.
In this case, it's the loud, old white guy from Vermont that sometimes spits when he talks.