Monday, January 6, 1997

1996 Woman of the Year

Previous Newsletter Women of the Year-
1992: H. Ross Perot
1993: St. Francis of Assisi
1994: Newt Gingrich
1995: Cal Ripken Jr.

Those who know note that my brother and I have vastly different personalities. This difference played itself out various ways early in our lives. When we were growing up there was a competitive nature to both of us, but that competitiveness manifested itself in different ways. I learned early on that whenever we played a game, it was better to lose than have to put up with an angry brother for the next three hours. There was no joy in beating him simply because he got so pissed.

Perhaps that is why to this day I have a weakness for always rooting for the underdog. If I turn on a sporting event, I will almost always root for the team that is not supposed to win. Therefore I end up backing the loser nine times out of ten. Doesn't matter though because there is something so appealing to watching somebody overcome long odds to fight their way toward triumph. Who cares if this doesn't happen often and more often the loser gets the stuffing snuffed out of them?

All this comes to mind as we perform a newsletter tradition. That clamoring you hear knocking on your door ain't the masses looking to buy the newest Susanna Hoffs' CD nor the latest stock of Tickle Me Elmo dolls. Rather it is the throng of people just dyin to hear who the 1996 Newsletter Woman of the Year will be.

The committee met briefly at the Lumberbarn in Stillwater this year. There really was no debate over the eventual winner. Sure, Paul McCartney was knighted by the British Empire and that merited consideration. Sure, Madonna's Evita is the greatest spectacle since Max got into the bedsprings. But hands down our chosen recipient represented all that the award has come to stand for over the years; namely the most influential, inspirational, influenza like element of this past calendar year.

First, a history lesson. On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was signed into law, granting women the right to vote. This still is the only article or amendment that specifically gives women a right. That it took over forty two years from the time the amendment was first introduced by Susan B. Anthony until it became the law of the land is just part of a long history to the Women Suffrage Movement.

This past year marked a time when we heard plenty about the widening gap between rich and poor; black and white. What we didn't hear as much about was another always widening gap, the difference between genders. That this gap today stands wider than the Grand Canyon doesn't seem to surprise many people. But last November the difference quite literally elected a President.

If the year was 1919, Bob Dole would now stand as our President-elect. More men voted for him than Bill Clinton. That the election wasn't even close is a testament to how far women voters have come over the years and how much political clout they now wield.

Bob Dole ran what was a campaign that was historical in its ineptitude. From day one the campaign was full of blunders and bad decisions. Whenever given an opportunity or a chance to prove he was the person we should elect, he inevitably would fall (one time quite literally) on his face. While it is true that Mr. Dole distinguished himself with years of service in the Senate, candidate Dole was a bumbling, incompetent man who seemed to feel he earned the nomination simply through his life's work rather than giving any compelling reason why he should be the next President. Still we men, chose him. If further proof is needed as to why our country desperately needs a female President to start making the right decisions, the choices men continue to make, like our choice for THE 1996 Newsletter Woman of the Year- the Dole Campaign, should be used as exhibit A. Give us a loser and we will throw our full support behind him.

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