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Having watched the half-hearted pandering to women in the last debate and the follow up dismissal of Mika Brzinski the next morning, I cannot remain silent.

Growing up, my Mom was a strict disciplinarian.  She was judge, jury, and executioner of my neighborhood.  Never once did I hear her say "just wait until your father gets home".  She would dish out immediate and swift justice and punishment. Other kids in the neighborhood would be extra careful, when playing in our yard, to avoid swearing, playing rough or teasing other kids.  

So I grew up with a healthy respect for my Mom... but not because of all of the above.  I had a healthy respect for her because she had an unshakeable sense of fairness and of right and wrong. She had an otherworldly capacity for kindness and patience and generosity.  She would gladly take other burdens on herself if it meant helping others get by.  She would get by on a few hours sleep if it meant that she could spend the night comforting her sick, scared child.

So I grew up with a healthy respect for my Mom... but not for any of those reasons either.  I had a healthy respect for my Mom because she was the smartest, most competent, and most capable person around. Her mom got a masters in math in the 1920's.  Her sister was a certified genius.  She could run the household finances, plan for savings and retirement, work a full day running the parish religious education department, take up challenges to the school board and win, AND cook, clean, shop, get us to and from practice, help with our homework, and take care of whatever else her family needed.

There are a long list of empires that eventually failed.  If the United States of America devalues women's contributions to society or diminishes the roles they can play, or reduces their opportunities for leadership and authority, we will be at risk of failure as well.  Any country that doesn't allow half of the smartest people in it to contribute their best to make that country better is doomed.

Don't value women because they are 100 times better at caring for children than men are.  Don't value them because they can cook and clean and organize better than we can.  Don't value them because they have a greater sense of empathy and caring.  

Value them because half of them are smarter than half of us.

Don't tell them what you think they should find important.  Listen to what they have to say.  Listen to their ideas.  And act on them.  We will be at least 50% better off.

Originally posted to daslobo on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 08:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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