Vice President Joseph “Silverfox” Biden and wannabe Vice President Paul Ryan (Gosling) went head to head last Thursday night in a nationwide attempt to prove not only themselves, but to convince the American public to vote for their dude. The final debates, POTUS vs. the Mittster, air on October 16 (TONIGHT!) and October 22nd. Don’t miss ‘em (or go ahead, because, you know. YouTube).
You know what I was thinking as I watched Vice President Biden snicker throughout Ryan’s admittedly bold attempt at standing up for his relatively wishy-washy causes? If the first debate was between the candidates’ wives, how cool would that be? I do not mean every election season, necessarily – what if a president wasn’t married?! (Yeah, right – good luck getting elected as a bachelor/bachelorette!) I mean, would it not have been amazing to see Michelle Obama and Ann Romney put their dukes up? Why not hear from the women smart enough to marry these powerhouse influential men? (Whoo, that was real hard to type out.)
But in all seriousness, why don’t we get to hear more from these women? Why don’t we get to hear their voices and opinions on a more regular basis, especially in the middle of an extremely heated election season in which we constantly hear from not just the politicians, but from everybody? In the age of twitter and facebook and blogs galore, we basically know everybody’s opinions at all times of the day. It would be a delightful and refreshing political move if the women next to these candidates were allowed to stand up at podiums and argue their causes. Wouldn’t you be more likely to believe the women, anyway? I know I trust a woman, by nature, easier than I trust a man. Offense.
Michelle Obama proved herself above and beyond with her paramount and persuasive speech at the Democratic National Convention, and I am overly confident that she could hold her own/stand her ground/sway the undecided voters/ball so hard in a debate situation.
When I sat down to write this, I actually knew very little about Ann Romney, so I decided to research some clips of her speaking publicly. Once I got past the Saturday Night Live weekend update clip (I may have watched it like seven times, but also I have a fatty crush on Seth Meyers), I tuned into her speech at the Republican National Convention. In an attempt to be nonpartisan, I will say that Ann Romney can (kind of) impress. Part of me believes that there is a simplicity to Ann Romney that the nation responds to: plenty of nooks of our country undoubtedly respond to the “everyman” (see: President George W. Bush’s entire term), and she has that appeal. Part of me believes she is playing the role that she is supposed to play, and perhaps there is more to her than “talking about love.” Ann Romney got up in front of the Republican Party and the nation, and used the roles she has snugly accepted to appeal to the women of America.
“And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it? It’s the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right. It’s the mom’s of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together. We’re the mothers. We’re the wives. We’re the grandmothers. We’re the big sisters. We’re the little sisters and we are the daughters.” Ann Romney, the walls behind her adorned with conventional family photos, finished up the aforementioned speech by saying, “I love you, women!” in quite the Oprah-reminiscent outcry.
Ann Romney embodies a vision of normalcy which undoubtedly appeals to plenty of people in America. I mentioned that I was attempting to act nonpartisan, therefore I will leave it at that.
Michelle Obama, unlike Ann Romney, did not rely on outdated feminine stereotypes to implore the women of America. Michelle Obama’s speech had the power to appeal to not a percentage of America, but to all (open-minded) Americans. Michelle Obama did not rely on stereotypes of men or women to gain our interest and more importantly our trust, but she cited countless examples of familial struggles in which each and every one of us can relate. Michelle Obama referenced conversations between herself and her husband, showing us not telling us about the love between the two of them. Michelle Obama, by avoiding the preoccupation of “I am wife and mother” engaged the American public by slyly working in the fact that she is speaking for the women of America. Gracefully, at that. She is the vision of how women should be: career and family, wife and independent woman, standing beside her husband, not behind him. She could debate; she could debate better than her husband could debate. Our ears are open to you, First Lady.
Hearing Ann Romney and Michelle Obama dispute the hot topics presented at these age-old debates would bring us a whole new level of information, a whole new reason to vote for whoever we choose to place our trust in. Though the ladies would most likely deliver the familiar agendas of each of their political parties, it would be incredibly exhilarating to hear the points of view of the women not necessarily in political office, but directly associated with it. The wives of presidents throughout history have at times been smarter and more self-assured than their husbands: why not let them argue their points?
Especially in an election year we in the media have been claiming is “all about the women’s vote,” why haven’t we let the women speak?
If you were disappointed in President Obama’s performance at his first debate, do what I did. Close your eyes and pretend it was his wife instead. Ahh, invigorating, huh?