A friend and I like to say that you could take six women, put them around a table and ask them what issues matter to them the most in this 2012 Election year and you would find more consensus than conflict, whether they identify as moderate Republicans or conservative Democrats. Women are born negotiators. We negotiate carpool, dinner and sibling rivalry everyday. The question is why we see this ability to agree to disagree so clearly in each other but not in our elected leaders or in the media? The solution is going to have to come from the ground up. Or maybe more accurately, it's going to have to start one kitchen at a time.
I honestly did a double-take when I read the Jay Townsend story the other day, when he allegedly said the Republicans needed to "hurl acid" at their female opponents. To me it is a sign that it is going to be up to women to dial down the rhetoric and show areas where we can come together to create progress.
Step 1 is to make it okay to talk about disagreements.
Step 2 is to make it okay to be optimistic about the future of our government and the possibility that we can effect change.
Step 3 is to take a concrete step toward creating change by organizing a lunch group, a reading group or a regular discussion group.
A lot of Moms don't have time to work on a campaign or to actively engage. But, they are that soft lever that is more powerful than anyone realizes in terms of changing the tone of the conversation. And even if we fail to convince anyone in our own generation, changing the tone is critical for our children. Rather than hearing us react to the Townsend story with the kind of cynicism that is so common in our generation, I hope they hear us dialing down the divisiveness. And instead of blasting Townsend and returning the fire, maybe they can hear us saying things like, "this is why we need more women to run for public office."
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and see what all the bloggers had to say, read Can Moms Set a Higher Standard When It Comes to Talking Politics?
Image via Donkey Hotey/Flickr