The women's caucus this morning hammered home what is probably the most pointed and unequivocal message of this convention: any woman, any sister, any daughter, any mother, any grandmother who has come to rely on the federal government (or funds from the federal government channeled to the state) for any degree of access to health care, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or child care, or elder care, or early education, or higher education, or equal pay protection, or social security, has a champion in the White House today, and will not have one should Barack Obama lose on November 6.
Are women who fit that description a majority of eligible voters in Missouri? I am no pollster or political strategist, but I would guess yes. If so, we have to reach out to them and make sure they 1) understand the difference between Obama and Romney, and 2) cast their vote.
But I think there is something else women of good conscience have to do. We have to connect with the women who do not fit that description. We have to connect with women living in financial security, women who can schedule doctors' appointments for themselves and their kids willy nilly, knowing that solid insurance plans or their own financial reserves enable any and all care required. (Full disclusore: this describes me.) We have to suggest to these women, if we suspect they are leaning Republican, that it is time to draw upon their empathy and sense of fairness in order to make life a little less impossible for so many Missouri women (and their families).
It is not OK for some of us to be living in safety and security while so many others cannot and do not, not when there is anything we can do about it.
One of my heroes, anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath, has said that all children deserve safety, health, peace, empathy, and competence (that is, the right to become competent). It is pretty clear to me that the Democratic platform, the Democrats running across Missouri, and the President himself, are more likely to lead us to a world in which all children get what they deserve.
"I know we can carry President Obama in the state of Missouri," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said to the Missouri delegates gathered this morning one last time for a group breakfast. I know this, too. Go read Jo Mannies' St. Louis Beacon piece on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's perspective as a person who (like Lincoln Chafee) switched from the GOP to the Democratic party. Remember that what Todd Akin said is part and parcel of a larger Republican system of belief and policy aimed at gutting the full personhood of half the human race.
And then go see what Claire needs. Not to mention this guy who's married to Michelle.