Posted by: chlost | August 5, 2010

History

Today the 112th Justice to the Supreme Court was approved. Justice Kagan is a bit of an unknown, which I think has helped her breeze through the confirmation process. The media is emphasizing the fact that there will now be 3 women Justices on the Court, for the first time in history.

Do they really think that just because they are women they will have coffee and crochet together or something? Perhaps because they are women they will form a  female voting block?  Really. Do all of the men vote together because they are men? Why is it that the fact that they are female seems to imply that somehow they are alike?

That would be like saying that Sarah Palin and Rachel Maddow are going to get along and vote the same way because they are both women.

Well, that really isn’t a fair comparison, as Rachel seems to be an intelligent woman and Sarah is……..not.

As a professional woman, I appreciate the progress which has been made in just the past 30 years, and which has allowed us to get to this point. I don’t think that anyone should be limited in following their dreams based on any irrelevant personal qualities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, size, religion, or hair color. 

I followed a Facebook conversation thread (that is what they call it, right?) between a few young women the other day. It started with a NY Times article  that was posted about women on the Court, and the effect of motherhood on women’s careers. These young women literally commented that they had not considered this effect on their careers.

What?

How could they not have thought of this?  This is almost all I and my friends thought about as we raised our children and tried to have a career. One of my friends had 5 children, a husband who struggled to keep a job. She juggled part-time jobs, and finally went to college in her 40s. She got a BA at 50, and is now finally in a job that she loves. Her children are grown. But she will likely be paying for her school loans up to the time she begins to draw social security. Others never married or had children as they focused on their career. The rest of us struggled, putting our children in daycare, trying to advance our careers while being on call for doctor appointments, school conferences, scout meetings, soccer and t-ball practice. Living with guilt as the first generation of mothers to have done this at this level, by choice. My grandmother worked throughout my father’s childhood, but as a widow  she had no choice.

My daughter-in-law stays at home with her children because she doesn’t want them to be in daycare, which is apparently a horrible thing to do to a child. Actually, my kids used to look forward to daycare. The daycare lady did a lot more of the craft stuff than I would ever have thought of doing. They enjoyed being with other kids. It was good to be on a schedule. My children have turned out to be successful, intelligent, wonderful adults-one of whom is her husband, by the way! I think that I would have gone crazy had I not worked outside the home.

I have digressed a bit, sorry.

My thought about Justice Kagan is that we really don’t know if the fact that she is a woman is going to define her legacy on the Court. I hope not. I hope that she makes thoughtful, well-written, well-conceived legal opinions which provide a stabilizing effect to our country’s partisan constitutional wrangling. 

After all, women are peace makers, right?

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Responses

  1. Yes, they certainly are. I cheered to read the news today.

    • Yes, Cheers!

  2. I’m happy about Kagan’s confirmation, too. I remember how we struggled during the 60s and 70s to make sure our daughters could have an easier time if they wanted careers – not to mention better pay. But, we may have made it too easy. My children don’t seem to fully understand how difficult times were for women back then. My daughter takes things for granted. Strangely enough, my son is becoming enlightened by watching “Mad Men”. I find this amusing.

    • It is interesting to see how we have allowed the younger generation to take our advances for granted. I think this is true for the civil rights movement as well as the women’s movement. Perhaps someday it will be that way for the gay rights movement as well. Our kids can’t imagine a world with separate water fountains, separate entrances, and segregated schools, which on the one hand is wonderful,. but it also does not allow them to see how far things have come in a generation. I haven’t watched much of Mad Men, but I know that my kids also comment on how backward everything seems….I want to scream—-“See what we have done for you???!!!”

  3. This idea that children are better off with a stay-at-home-mom than in daycare is a myth. Children like the interaction and it builds social skills. And, of course, we have no problem as a society insisting that mothers on Welfare put THEIR kids in daycare while mom looks for a job. I love that double standard.

    Nancy and I both had our kids in day care and none of them turned out to be ax murderers. The stay-at-home meme grew out of the “Leave it to Beaver” generation. Still, we have friends who are going to soon be grandparents, they are horrified that their kids are talking about putting grand child in day care! OMG, mommy won’t be with baby 24/7 – oh the horror!! It’s plain silliness.

    • Yes, the double standard is outrageous, but I believe it comes from a general societal belief that welfare parents aren’t really good parents, so it is better that they have the kids in daycare. Our kids did get a bit tired sometimes from the schedule, but overall, they thrived in daycare.

  4. I was happy to see they confirmed her. I think as long as the Court is comprised of anything but all strictly Conservative White men, there is always going to be people raising a ruckus. Personally, I think the Court should more accurratly represent to makeup of the whole Country, meaning it should have more than 3 women, more African Americans, and at least 1 or 2 other Minorities.

    • It is slowly coming around. The law schools have only recently admitted persons of minorities, so it will take a while for them to establish themselves in their careers to be in line for a nomination.

  5. I wonder about the court only having Harvard and Yale Law School graduates. It seems to me there are one or two other law schools scattered across the country. Not that I hold to any conspiracy theory, but it does seem just a bit elitist.

    The daycare thing is similar to my sending my kids to camp for 2 months every summer – some people think this is an awful thing and is proof that we can’t stand our kids. Sure. The kids love going and count down the days until next year as soon as they arrive home at the end of the summer. Instead of sitting at home bored all summer or me having to find activities to keep them busy which just adds to my stress, they are off with their friends taking a wide range of classes, playing sports, hanging out. We get a break from each other, they grow up and learn how to better get along, and at the end of the summer we can appreciate each other more and start off fresh again. I don’t get why all parents don’t send their kids off for the summer!

    • And they appreciate you more (and the other way around) when they return!

  6. I am slowly reading all the posts I missed. I think that many women who say they stay at home for their children really stay at home because “they” want to, not for the children.


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