We live during interesting times upon us in this country, as we endure a national government that seems not only bent on controlling women and their bodies, but also oppressing them as living, breathing human beings. Not only have they made it clear that we are incapable in their eyes of making solid choices about the skin we inhabit, or what may be best for our futures, but they have, beginning with the top of the shaky totem pole, blatantly disregarded and disrespected women publicly and professionally at a level that should be intolerable. Instead, somehow, we continue to trudge through the unending deluge of masculine, self-worth hypertrophy that may, in the end, see us all evaporated in dust simply because even the size of a button is a threat to the security of the male ego.
I know many men sympathize, and I believe there are many men who ‘get’ it, and who are staunch supporters of women’s rights in all the best ways. I know there are men out there doing their best, day in and out, to be decent human beings, and who examine the heavy-handed privilege they have been born into simply by the grace of a marked box on their birth certificate that certified them as a ‘male’.
I say this to recognize that there are many great men who have been there to support women as we see our rights, and the rights to our own bodies, stripped away, and who are fighting the good fight, and I salute you. But I also say this to recognize that it is simply not enough anymore to be the supporter who is fighting the fight as allies in power. Rather, men, it’s time you abdicate some of your power.
We have a fascinating mayoral race in my humble abode of Santa Fe. Four men, and one audacious woman. Of the four men, three are city councilors, and the fourth a very successful entrepreneur. Some of them were raised here, some migrated from elsewhere. Some were educated locally, some at Harvard. But they all share that unique, singular trait of being men, and more importantly, men in power, and men who have known success both politically and in business.
And then there’s Kate Noble.
I watched a debate of all the candidates tonight, and she blew me away. She grew up in Santa Fe, and knows the heart of the community, but she’s also worked abroad, and it gives her a very distinct understanding of the big picture of inclusiveness. Her answers were well prepared and eloquent, and having worked for the city government for years in economic development, she has her finger on the pulse of what the region struggles with and the infusions it needs to stop bleeding our youth. She’s the perfect blend of insider and outsider, the prodigal daughter that leaves for a time, but comes home to use the wisdom and experience she has gained to strengthen a world she has never truly left.
Yet, with all this direct and indirect experience, all the understanding of the inner workings of the city but personal experience that captures a larger perspective, it is possible this may not be enough for her to win. Even though the conservative competitor has gained audience with a ‘raised in Santa Fe’ label, and she shares that same direct experience of being raised in the City Different. Although while he bumbles through answers without any concrete plan (other than we need a bowling alley?), Kate is meticulous guiding us through her vision for what this city could be. And I sit wanting to bang my head against my laptop while mumbling: “What’s it going to take?”
Seriously, I’m asking. What do women have to do? How accomplished do they have to be? How much more experience do they have to list on their resume to be recognized as someone worth throwing support to?
The nail in the coffin is that Kate’s closest progressive competitor is well versed and popular, with a laundry list of supporters. He’s a great candidate in his own right, who was a very successful entrepreneur, and who understands economics just as well. However, at the end of the day, I am so endlessly tired of being presented with male candidates when there are so many capable women with bold ideas and fresh perspectives. And it would really nice if men could, just once in a while, recognize they that don’t need ALL the power, ALL the time.
I, flat out, have ‘male fatigue’ (particularly when they come in ‘white’).
Because men are everywhere you turn. Men take up all the oxygen in the room. Men are constantly rewarded with more and more power, and as we continually see from the damage that is being unwound from the #metoo movement, it is frequently abused. I am not insinuating that any of the male candidates in this election are in that vein by any stretch. But I am saying that in a city where the female population has the edge, hovering around 51%, where is our representation? If we are, technically, the majority in this town, where is the equal balance of women that are our voices in power? And where are the men who support women, and women support women, and why aren’t they supporting a woman who has the substance and qualifications that this city needs?
Women fight for basic privileges that men take for granted: we are beaten, raped, abused, and told what to do with our bodies at alarming rates and insidious ways. We facial institutional sexism and a hierarchy that has boldly, and without remorse, degraded women and their roles in society. We are constantly asked to prove over and over how worthy we are when a man is granted that support with ‘invisible’ discrimination, often hidden in his lauded qualifications. And if you are a minority woman in this country, you face an even greater risk of mortality from all the above with a large heaping of racism on top. It’s exhausting to feel underrepresented from every angle.
I think it is easy to pick the male candidates with business acumen and back them. We’ve been doing it for centuries. It speaks to an ingrained pattern we return to, where we seek wisdom from the predominate gender and race that has owned those power centers much longer than we often care to acknowledge. When women attempt to inject themselves into the same roles, they are often unfairly criticized and scrutinized, because power begets power, and it likes itself. Like attracts like. White attracts white. Men attract men. So the cycle continues to spin, because to engage in that sort of self-examination requires the acknowledgement that you are willingly participating in a system that perpetuates systemic prejudice, even if you, yourself, do not feel that those values are a part of who you are as an individual. And that’s a hard truth to swallow. It’s difficult to critique the self, and honestly scrutinize why you choose to back who you choose, because the answers might not be want you want to hear.
Thankfully, the pendulum is slowly swinging, and much of the darkness men have operated in is coming to light. Structures and the old guard are crumbling, and with it, I hope, an advancing notion that the best man does not always need to be the one to win. Rather, women can, and often are, best within their own right, and can be who is best for all. It begins with a simple recognition of what lies on the horizon: the future is female.
I, for one, pledge to do whatever I can to see to it that the intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate women we have in our midst are brought into leadership roles that allows for more diversity and an all-inclusive perspective. I dedicate myself to supporting and backing quality women in my community, and the nation at large, who not only have the experience, but the heart and courage, to want to take up leadership roles in male dominated paradigms. How much braver could a woman be?
My quest begins with my vote on March 6th for a unique woman who dares run for mayor against a sea of men in our quaint western city.
Santa Fe’s future should be Mayor Kate Noble.
Want to learn more about why Kate should be our city leader?
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