Friday, October 29, 2010
Just days before an election in the year that we celebrate the 90th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, it is interesting to note that Connecticut is one of 27 states that have never elected a woman to the U. S. Senate. Also, since the founding of the U.S. Senate in 1789 only 38 women have served in the Senate. This election, former World Wrestling executive Linda McMahon wants to change that statistic. She is the Republican candidate running against Democrat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
A funny thing has happened during this run up to Tuesday's election. McMahon, according to a recent poll, does not have the support of women. I am one of those women and local resident Dolores Meehan is another. Recently, Meehan's comments against McMahon made the front page of the New York Times. Meehan is fed up with McMahon's insessant barrage of negativity toward Blumenthal.
"She's bothering people," says Meehan in the Times article. Like Meehan, I have gotten fed up with the negative ads that come on the TV screen in the middle of my favorite TV programs. Like Meehan, I am fed up with the print ads that fill up my mailbox.
Sorry, Linda, I can't help you on changing that statistic. You lost my confidence in your ability to serve with the dignity and respect that public service demands. Your center ring antics, behind-the podium jarring comments and slick glossy campaign brochures with relentless mean-spirited attacks on the distinguished career of this state's attorney general so muddied the campaign that I hardly know you or your credentials, other than the fact that you and your husband have brought us a body slam of smut billed as "family entertainment."
McMahon has been so busy attacking Blumenthal that I can't articulate anything positive about her candidacy. And I am not alone in this thinking. Recently, The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd labeled this GOP pattern of attacks as "the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant."
A few years ago I taught at Sacred Heart University. During that time, I learned that McMahon had been appointed to the Board of Trustees. I had a very strange reaction to hearing the news. I thought it was a strange juxtaposition to appoint a World Wrestling executive to this very distinguished Catholic university. I loved teaching at Sacred Heart and only left because I had decided to teach at a college closer to where I lived. But, as a Catholic who had attended Catholic school for a few years, I felt a warm, comforting feeling walking down the halls, passing the chapel and wherever I turned seeing signs that this was indeed a Catholic institution, representing high standards and high morals.
I thought, "What was Linda McMahon doing sitting on SHU's Board of Trustees?
I strongly believe that people should be judged by the manner in which they lead their lives and devote their time and energy toward endeavors that enrich our lives and the lives of others. To me, it does not matter how much business sense and experience McMahon has. Look where she directed her energies.
When this Senate campaign first started, we learned that Blumenthal had "misspoken" about his military service. He claimed he had served in Vietnam when in fact, he had served in the reserves during Vietnam. His misrepresentation bothered a lot of people, including myself. I became very interested his opponent, at least for a while. However, now with the campaigns ending, I agree with The New York Times, that McMahon " does not seem ready to take on the issues of war, the economy, public welfare and justice in Washington."
McMahon should have spent more time on articulating her policy positions than attacking her opponent. We got it, Linda. Blumenthal lied about his serving in Vietnam, but how many times did you have to tell us. We want to hear about you and you didn't tell us. We do know you had a lot of money to spend; 50 million plus.
The recent CNN/Time poll showed that Blumenthal owes his lead in the race to his support among women., who favor him 61 percent to 34 percent.While it may be ironic that McMahon who would be the first woman from Connecticut to serve in the U.S. Senate, does not have the support of women, this is not the time to change that statistic. We, women in Connecticut, can wait a little longer to support a female candidate worthy of the position to represent us. We have to send the message that money is not going to buy our votes.
Incidentally, Connecticut is the first state in the union in which a woman, Ella Grasso, was elected governor in her own right.
Rita Papazian is a freelance writer who has covered Norwalk extensively.