COMMENTARY: Call to Delaware women: ‘Don’t agonize. Organize’

Many wiped the sleep from their eyes the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, only to have those eyes well with tears. Hello, President Donald J. Trump.

That realization marked the dawn of a post-election cycle of anger, fear, disgust and more anger. We live in a world where families are terrified their sick children’s health care will be yanked from them without remorse, where discrimination and division are more commonplace than ever and where our commander-in-chief seems to enjoy flirting with nuclear war.

The cycle of anger is still raw today, but Americans have shown they aren’t just sitting at home and tweeting about that frustration. Since the 2016 election there has been an increased focus on politics, especially among women.

Meghan Wallace

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that more than half of Americans say they are paying more attention to politics since President Trump moved into the Oval Office. And two-thirds of those who have attended a political function like a rally or protest since the presidential election have participated in opposition of President Trump.

The survey cited that women — both Republican and Democrat — are more interested in politics than men, with Democratic women among the most likely to be involved in a political gathering post-election.

We at Mary Ann’s List, an organization dedicated to recruiting pro-choice Democratic women candidates and inspired by Delaware suffragettes who yearned to cast a ballot, want to be a conduit to help Delawareans channel that energy into progress and public service.

In Delaware, women make up less than 20 percent of the General Assembly, but we are working to change that statistic so that women are at the table, shaping the policies that impact Delawareans every day. We are encouraged by the several female candidates who have stepped up to take on longtime incumbent strongholds in state government.

Despite the host of Trumpian candidates pouring out of the woodwork around the country, there’s been a clear path forward for female nominees in the First State since Lisa Blunt Rochester secured the helm as the state’s first woman and person of color elected to Congress.

Delaware also made headlines by hosting the country’s first swing election since President Trump’s inauguration with the race for the 10th District Senate seat.

“It was the first chance for voters to rise up with one voice to say we’re bigger than the bullies,” now-Sen. Stephanie Hansen said in a victory speech. “…What we accomplished together will have implications for our entire state and country, and I think tonight they’re hearing us loud and clear in all corners of this country — and certainly in D.C. and in Dover.”

Feminist and civil rights icon Florynce Kennedy perhaps said it best: “Don’t agonize. Organize.”

Activism and public service are not over-idealistic, cliched concepts, they help foster a passionate and engaged populace. From the work of committed activists like Florynce Kennedy, to the unifying, post-inauguration force of the Women’s March and the women who have emerged as candidates since, history has shown that organizing is a lever for change.

Make calls. Knock doors. Shape policy. Step up and serve.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Meghan Wallace of Wilmington is co-founder and board chairwoman of Mary Ann’s List, a 501(c)(4) political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice, Delaware Democratic women across all levels of government.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment