A fellow blogger recently told me how encouraged he was that so many strong conservative women were running for office this year. He said he believed it would most likely be conservative women who saved the country. That is the first time I had heard it said that directly, but the more I thought about it, the more I agreed.
He asked me why I thought so many women were running for office this year. It would be really easy to attribute it to the example of Sarah Palin -- and I believe that is part of it -- but that is just one piece of the puzzle.
Sarah Palin has been an inspiration. Many women watching Palin in the 2008 presidential race saw themselves. They might not be former beauty queens or Alaskan hunters. They have not served as governor of a state. But they saw a woman who came to hold office not by being born into privilege or being a Rhodes scholar, but by working her way up from the local level. They saw a woman who became involved in her community -- starting on a small city council, then as a small town mayor, then as governor.
They saw in Palin, unlike some other female politicians, a woman who did not see her femininity as a weakness, but instead embraced it. They saw someone who wasn’t a Harvard law school graduate or a policy wonk. They saw a politician who looked at the world from the perspective of a wife and a mother.
They saw the mother of a son serving in the armed forces, a pregnant teenage daughter and a young son with Down syndrome.
Palin’s example showed them that life experience and common sense were qualifications to represent their fellow citizens every bit as much as a blue blood pedigree or an Ivy League degree. After all, the people with the law degrees and decades of experience in public office haven’t done such a great job of running things lately.
Palin isn’t the only woman who has inspired so many women running today. Some of the women in Congress like Michele Bachmann -- and my state of North Carolina’s Representatives Virginia Foxx and Sue Myrick -- have as well. But strong conservative women role models are just one of the reasons so many women are politically active and even running for office today.
Technology and new media have made it easier than ever for women who were not plugged into politics to become informed. No longer are they isolated in their homes. The world now comes to them via cable news, talk radio, blogs, and social media. The more they have learned about what is going on in the government and how it is affecting them, the more involved they have become.