It’s been two days since the an election that, for the first time in US history, saw over 100 female Members elected to the House of Representatives.
Literally, for the first time since 1776, the gender that makes almost 50% of the country’s population will have about 25% of the seats in Congress.
Only 240 more years until we see full proportional representation, amirite?
But let’s not diminish this accomplishment. 102 women slogged through the political mire — some of them for the first time in their lives — to seek and win Congressional office. 87 of them are Democrats. They are Black, white, Latina, Muslim, Native American, gay and straight. They are a tapestry of the kinds of women living in this nation of ours. That is HUGE. Groundbreaking. Empowering.
My theory for why we finally broke this particular glass ceiling is because when Hillary Clinton lost the election, so many women realized that there was no one coming to save us. We had hoped to make Hillary our proxy for all that women could and would accomplish as leaders. When her candidacy for that role in society failed, we found ourselves faced with a choice: give up the dream of women living in the US as true equals. Or do it ourselves.
Look around. I think you will see that, since 2017, the motto of women in government, advocacy, activism, community organizing, and resistance has been “Fine, then. I’ll do it myself.”
From candidates to campaign volunteers, women made the both the resistance and the midterms happen and, if my circles of acquaintance are any indication, women are done yet. There is much more we can and will do.
So — despite women being the engine of political action — why are so many people of all genders acting like the most important political issue is the fate of Robert Mueller? Like he’s the one person in America who has the power to change history?
Hard truth: Robert Mueller isn’t going to save us. He can’t stop everyday racism in our communities. He isn’t going to fix the voter suppression problems in the states. He sure as shit can’t address all the forms of income inequality. He can’t even bounce Trump out of the White House.
All Mueller can do is investigate crimes. Actually, he’s not necessarily even doing that. He’s investigating if there even were crimes.
Robert Mueller isn’t the answer. Protecting him is not the answer. In fact — and I know you don’t want to hear this — throwing your whole weight into Operation Protect Mueller is basically just asking the patriarchy to dismantle itself.
Do not put your entire set of hopes and dreams for a better America on the back of yet another old, white guy just two days after we elected more women to the House of Representatives than ever before! THOSE WOMEN ARE NOT CHOPPED LIVER! If Mueller goes down, those women will stand there in the halls of power and say “Fine, then. I’ll do it myself.”
I don’t want the stop the investigation into foreign intrusion into our elections. I’d like all the white collar criminals currently feasting at the White House dinner table to be sent to jail. But more than that, I want to solve real problems. I want to protect health care, and reproductive rights, and education, and workers rights. Mueller can’t do that for me but the women of the House can play a big role in that kind of progress. So can the women in state and local government and at advocacy organizations and the women who give of their money and time. I know that’s true because they’ve been doing at all along.
Protect Mueller, sure. But more than that, protect and hold up the women who are doing the work of making America what is could be.