There is a lot about this election year that makes many of us crazy, no matter what side of the equation we are on. But one thing that we ought to take a hard look at is this: Women can’t/shouldn’t be president. Women aren’t presidential or tough enough.
There is a good argument against this thinking for either this or any future election, no matter the party.
I have to laugh when I hear that women don’t have the stamina for the job. And make no mistake — this is not about Hillary per se. Any woman would face it — trust me on this.
Women have, since the beginning of this country, been the ones who kept the family, farm and business going when the men went to war, went to Philadelphia to the Continental Congress, or went off the Paris, as Ben Franklin did for years while his wife protected his interests at home.
The same with Abigail Adams and many nameless wives who tilled fields, slaughtered hogs and fought off disease while raising children.
Only the very rich would escape the burdens of these duties in the formation of the country, during the influenza epidemic, during the First World War, during the Great Depression, during the Second World War, the Vietnam War and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Widows from the fall of the towers on 9/11 were not all rich. They picked up their lives, raised their children in the shadow of an event that never dies, just as their predecessors from Pearl Harbor did.
Women have carried this nation on their backs from Day One, including Native American women who lost their homes and culture. Without Sacajawea, our potential nation might not have been mapped by Lewis and Clark. Women can meet any exhausting challenge thrown at them.
And if you want to talk about able to be tough, trying pushing a bowling ball through your lower private area and then keeping on going. That is tough. Back in the day, you had a baby and kept on plowing, cooking or what was needed. Pioneers had no down time.
But that is the obvious tough thing. It is also tough to be alone when spouses work too many hours because they need the money. It takes a tough woman to get decent meals on the table seven days a week, 365 times 18-20 years while kids live at home.
Men should all have to deal with a baby and a toddler for 72 hours. By “deal,” I mean clothe, feed, clean the house, get the laundry done, have a Mommy-and-Me date and have dinner on the table. I defy most men to live through this. Women are tough.
We keep the secrets of our children or nieces or nephews. We know that Dad may not be able to handle some of the secrets children, friends and even our husbands tell. If you tell me, it needs to go nowhere but my ears, and that is where it stays.
We have an uncanny ability to collaborate and find a way to work with others. That is not to say we are perfect. Some are more vain, some are less able to keep faith with friends, some cheat and some find working hard — well, hard. Just like men.
We do often “stand by” our men because we tend to take vows and promises seriously, a trait needed in higher office. Slighting our close friends or betraying our word leads to disaster, and we are the ones who have to look in the eyes of our children more often than not, to explain.
Being loose-lipped and a bully is what we tell our kids we should not be, and it is not presidential. To dignify bad behavior as “boys will be boys” is not befitting our highest goals. We all fall short of perfection, and we all have to apologize for bad decisions and slips. But to pride oneself on those points is neither ladylike nor presidential.
Women are the capable over-half of this population, and whether it is this year or another year, one of us will sit in the Oval Office. We will be one of the last of the highly developed countries to do this.
Women are smart, tough, tenacious, serious and every bit as effective as men. And God knows we can’t do much worse.
Women can, women do and women will.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.