Friday, January 4, 2013

New Day a’Dawnin’

My wife was all “yippee” and “yahoo” about it as I read aloud sections of a NY Times story to her from this morning’s paper.
by Charlie Leck

This blog is about a story in this morning’s New York Times. If you go to this link, you’ll notice that the story is headed by a photograph showing the women of the House of Representatives, of the convening 113th Congress, gathered on the steps at the Capital. They set a record – these women –and I expect it is only the beginning – only the beginning.

You’ll notice something unusual in the photograph right away. There is color – bright and glorious color – in the picture. The steps are not covered with dark blue or black, pin-striped suits showing a bit of white shirt with a dark tie. Not at all! Here you’ll see bright blues, reds, some orange and pink, and splashes of green.

“Hooray,” my wife shouted, and she looked rather Tigeresque as she pumped a fist into the air. We had donated sizably to Congressional races this year and I think she was feeling that it had been worth it.

The NY Times calls it the “rise of the female legislator – 20 in the Senate and 81 in the House.”

As I looked at the photograph, I was reminded of a scene from a play we had seen this past autumn at the Guthrie TheaterAppomattox by Christopher Hampton. Frederick Douglas had just departed the White House after a visit with President Lincoln, during which they talked about the coming freedom of the American slaves. Mary Todd Lincoln joins the President as he waves his goodbyes to Mr. Douglas. The President turns to his wife and tells her of Douglas’ amazing request that the vote also be secured for the free slaves. That, Lincoln told his wife, will be a while coming.

“And for the women,” Mary inquires of her husband, “when will the vote be coming to women?”

The President merely looks at her as if it is only a bit of humor on her part; he shakes his head and smiles.

And now, here is my wife pumping a fist up into the empty space about her and shouting in joy when I read her the ridiculous quote from Claire McCaskill, the U.S. Senator from Missouri, who spoke about the progress women were making in the Senate…

“I don’t think we should be satisfied until we have the same number of women in the Senate that represent the percentage of the population that are women, so we still have a long way to go!”

My wife took her coffee cup from her lips and shouted, “Yes!”

Ashley Parker writes in her Times article about one of the women of House who “wandered the aisles with her daughter on her hip.”


“The times, Mrs. Lincoln are really a-changin’ – and with remarkable speed; and I think we are all the better for it. Mention it to the President if you see him, will you?”

As an aside, I shall mention that one of the United States Senators from Minnesota is Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was reelected by a staggering landslide this past November. In addition, Betty McCollum represents Minnesota’s 4th congressional district, which includes St. Paul and the area east to Minnesota’s border with Wisconsin (including the city of Stillwater).

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1 comment:

  1. Great commentary on that article, and the times, Charles. That comment by Lincoln in the play stood out for me, too. Love the color. Love the image of change and layers of ideas, personalities, and all people feeling represented!