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Pairing the female and male brains

June 4, 2008 - LLee Janssen

In this pivotal moment in our history, when a black man for the first time ever has secured a major political party nomination to become president of the United States, much attention seems focused on who his running mate will be, with the question swirling about the potential for Hillary Clinton.

Not that she's even conceded the nomination as of this writing. But take a moment to consider the merits of pairing a female brain with a male brain in the White House.

Men and women think differently. We're wired differently, we react differently, we approach problems differently. And I kind of get the impression that this was intentional when we were created as we tend to balance each other out. Just look at us as parents: Dad may be a bit too tough, Mom may be too soft, but together they produce quite the team. Anybody who's had to raise kids with one of those two removed from the equation has experienced the end result of not having the other parenting partner around to balance things out and keep the family moving forward on an even keel.

But back to the politics of the day: Why not pair a female and male brain to lead our nation? Are we still afraid of giving a woman -- any woman -- any more power than this young nation of ours has conceded before?

Women did not gain the right to vote until August 1920, nearly 50 years after the 15th Amendment gave black men the right to vote. Why is that? What does that say about us as a nation and our views toward women?

The battle to gain the right to vote, led by suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony, spanned five decades and nearly didn't pass, due to the need to get two-thirds of the states to ratify the Constitutional Amendment. It came down to one young man who, in the end, listened to his mother. Tucked inside his coat that day that he went to the Tennessee statehouse to cast the deciding vote for ratification, Harry Burns, at age 24, carried a letter from his mother, advising that he "Don't forget to be a good boy" and "vote for suffrage."

Women have come a long way since, but there's much more work to be done before the playing field is level and the genders are appreciated for their individual strengths and the qualities they bring as part of a team. This is not a man's world, as I was raised to believe. This is our world. We all belong. Our ideas, from either side of the fence, must be not just heard, but respected.

When that happens, perhaps our country will be worthy of being called, truly, the greatest nation in the world.


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