readers speak out on voting on gender

The Baltimore Sun

In her column "In this election, putting gender first" (Commentary, Sept. 14), Lynette Long asserts that "gender trumps everything else."

This is a dangerous assertion as our country is preparing to secure leadership for the 21st century. The people of this country are facing too many important issues to choose a candidate based on who this person is rather than what this person's policies represent.

And I dare say that the little girl whom the author claims will have her self-perception altered by having a female vice president will be affected more if her parents lose their home in a foreclosure or if her sister is forced to continue an unplanned pregnancy.

Affirmative action continues to be a controversial concept for many of our citizens. But without a doubt it should have no place in choosing a vice president.

Sandra B. Appel, Owings Mills

For Lynette Long, this election campaign is about gender, and never mind the many serious issues confronting this nation and its future.

A longtime Democrat, Ms. Long admits she disagrees with the McCain-Palin ticket on most issues, but says she will vote for it anyway because the vice presidential candidate is a woman.

I share Ms. Long's deep disappointment that Sen. Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic nominee. But I could not vote for a ticket that is fundamentally opposed to policies for which Mrs. Clinton has been a passionate advocate.

A vote for the McCain-Palin team would be disrespectful of Mrs. Clinton and her vision for the future of our nation.

Lillian C. Gill, Crownsville

Even though Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is diametrically opposed to nearly everything Sen. Hillary Clinton stands for, Lynette Long will turn her back on the Democratic Party and vote for Sen. John McCain because he picked a woman as a running mate.

She wants little girls to "know the vice president of the United States is a girl." Never mind her policies, ideology and utter lack of foreign policy experience. Never mind all the reasons Ms. Long presumably opposed Mr. McCain in the first place.

She is willing to ignore the issues at hand and throw her vote to the GOP based on gender.

That's quite a lesson to teach to young girls.

Carrie Halcomb, Perry Hall

As a voter, I must disagree with the premise of Lynette Long's column.

Although I can't presume to know what Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's experience has been as a woman in politics, I do know what mine was as a county commissioner for eight years in a rural Maryland county that had seen only two other women hold the office before me.

Yes, there were times when I felt invisible. But the majority of the men I dealt with treated me as an equal. In many situations, it was women who posed a greater obstacle for me than men.

Voting for anyone simply because they represent a certain group can have disastrous results, particularly in these difficult economic times.

As a small business owner, I have watched my health care costs rise, my fuel costs rise, my electric rates rise and the cost of all my inputs rise.

As a person who is responsible for the livelihood of several families, I cannot afford to let the Republicans have four more years and hope that they will get the economy right this time.

That is why, although there is a woman on the other ticket, I must vote Democratic.

Phyllis Kilby, Colora

The writer is a former Cecil County commissioner.

Lynette Long recommends that this year we put gender first. Do policies no longer matter?

I, too, was a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton. For four decades, she fought for the causes and needs of women as individuals, daughters, wives, mothers and sisters.

Fate did not give Mrs. Clinton the Democratic nomination, but that is no reason to vote for a man who, time and time again, has ignored the real needs of 51 percent of our nation's population and who selected as his running mate a woman who shares nothing more than the same anatomy with Mrs. Clinton. These are desperate times, and policies do matter.

Judy Cohen, Baltimore

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