Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On Giving Birth And Holding Office

Sharon Angle - among many, many others - seems to frequently cite "I'm a mother and a grandmother" as a qualification for holding public office.

It is not a qualification for holding public office.

It may give you insight into health insurance or health care matters. Quality of life matters. Education.  Child care concerns. Food safety.  Nutrition. A whole bunch of things. Flexible work schedules, maternity leave benefits, and many other matters.  However, in an of itself, incubating and birthing a child makes one no more qualified for public office than does regularly respirating.  Here, I'm respirating right now.  Because I'm human and I can.  I'm also a female human capable of live birth.  Doesn't make me qualified for office.

It should make me more attuned to the needs of women - especially working mothers, in my case - and I believe it should make me - and Angle - more progressive and interested in expanding benefits like paid parental leave, child care, and such.  But I doesn't make Angle more progressive. Nor Sarah Palin. Nor many others - including many women Democrats.

Having a child has expanded my public policy interests to include policies that affect women and children.  But while the experience made me more curious it didn't make me more qualified to draft policy or more politically savvy to get policy enacted. 

College did that for me. A lifetime of living with activist parents and walking precincts and reading the news and talking to educated people and researching and reading and writing did that for me.

The hormones do a lot - but they don't make you smarter, more savvy, or qualified for office.

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