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For years my husband has pined for a woman President. He believed there would be no unnecessary wars and the world would be a better place, as women are the mothers, nurturers and healers of the world. But that was before he got a load of Sarah Palin, Christine O Donnell, Jan Brewer, Carly Fiorina, and Sharron Angle.
I agree we need the balance of more women in leadership roles, but not just any women. We need those who embody the best of what it is to be woman. There are some dangerous girls in politics today. Ignorance and lust for power make for a lethal combination.
When I reflect on our long struggle for the right to vote, then the battle just to be included in the political process, I can feel in my DNA the strength and courage of our foremothers. That’s why it breaks my heart to see women not striving anymore. In the past, we had to sharpen our blade to work toward shattering that glass ceiling. We had to be the best, the brightest. And now? Some women today glide in with no effort, knowledge or wisdom, get some money behind them and shoot right to the top.
Mediocrity has become the measure of the day - in politics, media, and pop stars. Young women look up to reality stars like Kim Kardashian, and know more about Snooki, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan than what’s going on in their own country. Women of the generation before them hold powerful roles in the media, helping to perpetuate the idolotry of these uninformed, average “role models”. We are a country enamored of mediocrity. Big Macs. Reality shows. Cheap appliances and furniture. Phones that break after a year. Fast food. Fast information devoid of truth or fact. Quality doesn’t seem to count any more. We are spoon-feeding the next generation with empty-headed junk. And still more women are exploiting it, cashing in on it. Don't we owe something more to those generations of women who fought for our rights?
The politicians we vote in to power are only a reflection of our culture. It’s not our politicians who need to change, it’s us. Maybe when Christine ODonnell said “I’m YOU” – she was on to something. She is us. Average, uninformed, un-striving us.
As women, the mothers of this country, we who foster the creative spirit, the intuitive wisdom, have a responsibility to rise up to our own excellence again. Where is our ingenuity, our fighting spirit, our brilliance? We must summon that suffragette spirit to be our best and brightest, because surely, this isn’t what they dreamed of for us.
It's time to take an honest look at where we are and ask ourselves - what are we passing down as the mothers of this generation?
I am not a mother.
And for a good portion of my years on earth - 56 to be exact - I prayed, I chanted, I screamed at the UNIVERSE: I do not want to be like MY MOTHER. Oh good god(dess), no... I am not a mother, I don't want to be a mother. And so, I never had children.
But I will tell you what I learned from my mother: I learned to be kinder. She was not very kind. I learned to give another human being a kiss, a hand, a shoulder, a thank-you for their life, their contribution, their gifts. Afford them their mistakes. She was not a generous soul that way. I learned to pay attention, especially to the world around me. She paid little, if no, attention.
I learned that women who compete, who are jealous, who don't wish you well (or at least not too well), who are righteous, who fight and scream and go to battle like men, who believe they know better, who will push you down to lift themselves up, who say and know what's right FOR YOUR LIFE, who don't forgive - these are not, by any means, mothering women.
I think (one of) the greatest threats is not that ill-informed women are rising in power, I think the greatest threat is that women think if they act and behave like their mean spirited, ignorant, arrogant, and fiercely competitive counterparts, other women will be safe and feel at home. It's just "that home," will never be a safe haven.
As women, we are here to make this world better, to keep our children safe; to honor another color, religion, belief, faith, spirit, choice. To unite, to hold tight, to embrace, to share, to move, to trust, to create value... to share our wisdom, to nurture another heart and soul and life. To believe in the wisdom and true power of the feminine -- to know without that we do not and could not exist.
I was wrong.
I am a mother.
Just not mine.
About the Authors:
Hollye Dexter is freelance writer, blogger and author of the memoir Only Good Things. She is also a singer/songwriter with four albums out. She founded two nonprofit organizations, running intergenerational arts programs for senior citizens and teenagers in the Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems. In 2007 she received the Agape Spirit award from Dr. Michael Beckwith (from “The Secret”) for her work with at-risk youth. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Amy Ferris is an author, screenwriter, editor and playwright. Her latest book, a memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis (Seal Press) will make its Off-Broadway debut as a One Woman Play in the Fall of 2011. CAP 21 Theater Company is producing and developing in partnership with Frank & Eliza Ventura. Amy is also a contributing author in the new Anthology, He Said What (Victoria Zackheim, Editor - Seal Press, Spring 2011). Amy lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ken, and their two kitties, Bella & Lotus.
Ed. Note: the opinion(s) expressed by the author(s) are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.AfterFiftyLiving.com or After Fifty Living, Inc.
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