Ranting

Thank you, ma’am

November 13th, 2020

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(published in The Daily Memphian)

(In a colorful place, a new collection of columns from Dan Conaway and Otis Sanford, preorder signed books from Novel and Burke’s Book Store. Inquiries, danconaway [at] bellsouth [dot] net.) 

“Dan is a funny name for a chick.”

That came from one of my readers last week, commenting on my column. His name doesn’t matter because he didn’t give it anyway. Commenting under an alias is so much safer. I think he meant it as an insult, but maybe “Memphis Matt” is more insightful than that.

Maybe he thinks I’m going with the flow, siding with the winner. Or maybe not.

While many of us have been concentrating on the two old white men heading the two tickets for president, young people – more of them women than men – and people of color – more of them women than men – elected the first woman, and the first person of color, and the first Asian American, and the first Black as Vice President of the United States.

While many of us were busy checking our credentials on the left or right by the presence or absence of a mask, Memphians – more of them women than men – and people of color ­– more of them women than men – voted overwhelmingly for the Biden/Harris ticket.

While many of us cling to old stereotyping of strong macho men and adoring dependent women – to John Wayne and whoever he’s saving – the majority of people out there doing the voting have barely heard of John Wayne if at all, and all of us have become increasingly dependent on their vote.

They are women, not chicks, and anyone who doesn’t realize that is becoming increasingly and rapidly irrelevant.

In the last few national elections, about 4% more women than men voted overall. In the Black community, it’s running about 10% more women than men. Among Hispanics, it’s about 5% more.

They are Democrats and Republicans, but they are not lockstep along party lines. The majority of women are for preserving the Affordable Care Act and responsible gun control and against the repeal of Roe v. Wade. They are against discrimination, and not just racial but also LGBTQ Americans. After all, women are victims of discrimination themselves.

They don’t like being grabbed. Anywhere. Or demeaned and ignored. Anytime.

A recent article in Smithsonian magazine traced the beginning of the “gender gap” in voting to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. As Reagan moved the Republican Party to a firm stand against abortion and for the traditional family, Democrats moved to more pro-equality stances favored by the women’s and civil rights movements. Tickets have been splitting and more women have been coming out to vote along those lines ever since.

In this election, it looks like men voted about 50-50 Democrat and Republican. Women voted 53% Democratic and 46% Republican.

3,444 women ran for state office this year across the country. That’s a new record, breaking the one set in 2018. Both records were set since the 2016 election, and since millions upon millions of women demonstrated for their dignity and worth the day after that election.

Tennessee ranks 48th or 49th in the number of women serving in our state legislature, running at about 15%. If you think it’s too much of a reach for women to change the good ole boys club in Nashville, I have somebody you can call.

Ask Stacey Abrams what she’s doing in Georgia.

I’m a Memphian, and a man, and I know who’s getting it done.

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