At the beginning of the Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Lindsay Graham observed that it was a great moment for young conservative women, because they finally had someone who they could look to as a role model on the highest court in the land.
Graham was on to something. Conservative women have been called "not the right kind of women" for years in the mainstream media and among those who always talk about "empowering" the sisters. Some have even questioned whether we even have the right to call ourselves women, while others have come right out and said we are traitors to the gender.
In my own district here in Pennsylvania, we have the opportunity to elect a woman to Congress who reflects many of the principles and ideals of women on the right side of the aisle. While the woman I have in mind intends to serve the interests of all of her future constituents, she reflects values, policies and principles that have been too long ignored among those who tout the power of our shared gender.
Dasha Yermakova Pruett, a child of Soviet refugees, is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th Congressional District. Dasha is someone who appreciates what it means to live under a regime where the government rations out liberties and rights under the guise of protecting our welfare.
"I am having a flashback to my childhood, growing up under socialism. During this pandemic and watching the government overreach, the artificial food shortage because of the regulations on our farmers." Dasha told me. "I'm alarmed at the threat to our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, as well as every amendment related to voting. This is socialism. These are dangerous times, slippery slopes."
Dasha is not alone in feeling this way, but there seems to be an attempt to create a narrative that women are "all in" for leaders who believe we can impose arbitrary restrictions and exert almost unchecked power during a public health crisis. They seem to think that we collectively favor "big government" because, well, that's what progressives do. The idea that a woman could actually be a conservative rarely enters their minds, and when it does, we are usually viewed as being aberrational.
We are not aberrations. Donald Trump won the votes of white women in the last election, which is interesting considering that a white woman was running against him. But even if you take Trump out of the mix, there has been this effort on the part of mainstream pundits and party spokespersons to marginalize the voices and votes of conservative women, be they white, minority, young or old.
Kathy Barnette is a Black woman challenging Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District, which includes large swaths of Montgomery County. I have met a slew of young women like Barnette who believe that life begins at conception. We are out here, all of us, and we are tired of being represented by those who do not reflect our concerns.
A woman who fought that stereotype of the liberal woman being the "only" sort of acceptable female was Phyllis Schlafly. I interviewed her daughter Anne Schlafly Cori a few months ago and asked her about how her mother was able to square her very public, independent profile with her embrace of traditional values such as motherhood and the family.
"My mother viewed the family as a pleasure, not a burden," Cori said. "She felt that being at home gave herself enormous freedom to engage in the activities of her choice, because she did not have a boss. She objected to Betty Friedan calling the home 'a comfortable concentration camp.' Phyllis Schlafly's message was one of optimism and opportunity for women."
I don't like identity politics. But ideology is something different from race, creed or gender. It is important to have diversity of thought in the public square, and Graham was right in noting that finally, young women will have a mirror which reflects their own ideological identities on the Supreme Court.
Hopefully, congressional districts, including our own, will have that same opportunity.
Copyright 2020 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected]