I haven’t felt this sought after since I was 18 and walked on a college campus in a short skirt.
Democrats want me. Republicans want me.
Everybody on cable TV is talking about me, too.
The parties and the pundits want to know what I think. Of course, they never ask me directly. That would mean they’d have to get real.
Let’s see who I am not.
I am not a stay-at-home mom who drives two Cadillacs and feels no bone-hard pressure to work.
I am not a size 6.
I don’t reside within the Beltway. I couldn’t afford a house there anyway.
I tend to think that a SuperPAC is six of anything that’s cheap in the grocery.
Odds are, I’m not alone. Women are the majority in this country. We hold up more than half of the American sky.
You’ll find us in back offices, now and then the front offices, in classrooms, on construction sites, in operating rooms. We wear uniforms and get shot at.
You’ll find us in Wal-Mart and JCPenney. Thrift stores as well.
Some of us are biological mothers, some adoptive mothers, some not mothers at all.
Virtually none of us has heard of Hilary Rosen, the commentator who said Ann Romney can’t understand the economic concerns of women because she “hasn’t worked a day in her life.”
Some of us go to church, synagogue or mosque. Those of us who don’t, pray anyway that we’ll make it. We are not the 1 percent. We can’t imagine being part of the 1 percent.
Some of us raise children and hope the $40,000 we gross a year will feed, clothe and shelter them all.
Some of us are making minimum wage or not much more and know that anybody who thinks this will enable us to achieve the American dream is just plain nuts, or cruel.
You’ll find some of us needing food stamps and Medicaid for our children — and wondering why people who are not poor are cruel toward us, too.
Some of us are straight, some gay.
Some of us have husbands, some don’t. Some of our husbands, or ex-husbands, help. Some don’t.
A lot of us don’t go to the doctor or put off taking our children to the doctor because we can’t afford it. Some of us sometimes go hungry, our children, too.
We sweat paying for child care and wish we could get our kids in schools in better neighborhoods.
Some of us believe in abortion, some don’t. We all believe in the right to contraception, for crying out loud.
Some of us are victims of domestic violence and wish the federal government would help protect us — a life-and-death wish that is getting tangled up in politics.
Some of us worry about racial profiling because we want our children to live. Some of us long for the passage of the Dream Act because we want our children to stay.
Most of us don’t get paid as much as men and wish there was more we could do about it — no matter what a conservative U.S. Supreme Court or Republican-led Congress thinks. (Now there’s a couple of groups almost proud of being out of touch.)
Some of us are looking for work, and work, and work, and can’t find any.
Most of us have no choice but to work. Many of us love it. And we’re all sick of the debate over whether it is holier to stay at home.
We’re sick of sanctimony and posing. We want action to improve our lives at the dining table or at the desk.
And boy, are we sick of waiting.
Mary Jo Melone, former columnist with the Tampa Bay Times, is a writer in Tampa. ©Florida Voices
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