A fitting tribute

Letters to the Boston editor: September 12, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 10, 2008

Your recent cover article “Death of a Hoop Dream” was outstanding — really well-constructed and heartfelt without overdoing it. It passed the compassion-fatigue test and moved me to tears. (And I fear I may have some serious compassion fatigue to overcome. In the three years I’ve lived in Boston, reading the news, walking the streets, putting in shifts at the homeless shelter, etc., I’ve never felt as genuinely moved by the bad stuff that happens around here as I felt reading your article.) I sincerely hope that those in positions of social and civic authority read your article and feel similarly moved.

Excellent journalism!

Catherine Merrick
Cambridge

What women want
In the recent article “Women on the Verge,” David S. Bernstein wrote that Democratic women are increasingly dismissive of the bipartisan approach of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC). He cites the example of our organization’s endorsement of Kerry Healy in 2006, and describes Healey as “a woman with whom they shared zero political ideology.” That statement is not true and is unfair to our organization.

The MWPC works diligently to endorse candidates who have the same political positions on the issues that matter deeply to women, such as those on choice, civil rights, workplace equality, domestic violence, and family issues. There was never an issue in considering Deval Patrick for endorsement because we do not endorse men. Per our endorsement requirements, Healey filled out a questionnaire and was interviewed by our Political Action Committee comprised of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. She received a resounding “yes” vote for endorsement due to her like-minded positions on the issues.

Indeed, MWPC’s strength is in our bipartisan nature. Clearly, more needs to be done to elect women to public office and we are in the middle of an election season that we hope will bring more women to represent us on Beacon Hill. In this era of polarization among political parties, MWPC stands out as a model of inclusiveness and one that welcomes all who want to advance women in elected office.

Pam Nourse, Democratic Co-Chair
Ann Murphy, Republican Co-Chair
MWPC Political Action Committee

DAVID S. BERNSTEIN RESPONDS: I wrote that “many” Democratic women, not the MWPC as an organization, had nothing ideologically in common with Kerry Healey — which is precisely what many Democratic women said to me when discussing the caucus. They were also particularly dismayed to have MWPC’s stamp of feminist approval on a candidate who was running, in their opinion, offensive advertisements that sought to use the threat of being raped in a parking garage to scare women into voting against Deval Patrick. Nourse and Murphy are understandably proud of the MWPC’s inclusiveness across party lines; my article points out that an increasing number of women are concluding that inclusiveness does not necessarily result in effectiveness.

What women want II
As a person who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary, and a feminist, I am extremely sympathetic to the idea of electing more women to all levels of state and federal government. However, when it comes to power, I quote the classic feminist Gloria Steinem: “Power can be taken, but not given.” This is what women must do — demand and take power. Men are not going to give up power without a fight, but with women representing a clear majority of the general population and voters, it is high time that they use their numbers to serve their political agenda.

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