Who We Are

 

“HOW CAN YOU BE A REPUBLICAN?"

I support school choice, religious freedom, the second amendment, gay marriage, substantial tax reform, a woman’s right to choose, Syrian intervention, a strong alliance with Israel, increased cancer research funding and a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. You may question the ability to be all things without contradiction. I would argue it is the fundamental complexity of being a woman that allows such diversity of understanding to exist harmoniously within oneself. As women, we are often asked to be everything to everyone, without question. Be a mother. Be a sister. Be a breadwinner. Be a friend. Be a professional. Be a girlfriend. Be a student. Be an athlete. Be an artist. Be a leader. So why is it so difficult for women to BE political? Or more so, why is it so shameful for a woman to BE a Republican?

I arrived in New York City in September 2016, at the height of the Presidential campaign chaos. I had spent the past year working for a Republican Congressman from Texas in Washington, DC. I had been warned that my political views would clash with the majority of my peers. This was nothing new having grown up outside of Baltimore. However, I was unprepared for the lion’s den I was about to enter at a small PR agency in New York City. I was hesitant to breach the subject of my political views before walking in the door, once seated at my cubicle, I noticed it might be best to never bring it up... My cubemate had a picture of Barack and Hillary hugging as her screensaver. My neighbor across the way told me she hated Paul Ryan as I clipped my Better Way logo to tape on my cube wall. It was quickly apparent that it was taboo to be anything but a Democrat.

The political division didn’t phase me, what truly rattled me was that the default political view was “Democrat.” I noticed there was a significant lack of understanding about how the political system even worked. This was most notable among women.

Women wanted to rally behind Hillary. The allure of a woman finally entering the Oval Office as commander-in-chief overpowered any conversation to the contrary. Women decided to step out #withher. Women in the limelight flooded social media to recap Hillary’s speeches, colorful pantsuits, and vintage throwback photos. They literally sang and danced for her. They adorned their nails with her name.  My peers and mentors that had previously shown no interest in discussing politics, for it was impolite and “contentious”- were suddenly identifying as “nasty women.” What did these women identify with?

Throughout my discussions with colleagues and peers, I came to realize that their vote was as “uneducated” as the deplorable Trump voters they mocked. They didn’t understand that the ACA was Obamacare, the tax code was more than charitable deductions, the Syrian crisis was larger than an influx of refugees,and that overturning Roe v. Wade was not politically feasible in a day’s time; they knew headlines and Lena Dunham. They didn’t grasp the nuts and bolts of our governing system to the degree necessary to form an educated opinion (despite their advanced levels of formal education). Frankly, they were blinded by being a woman. They chose to only see things through their singular experience. Similar to the 93% of blacks that voted for Obama in 2012, they chose to leverage their womanhood as the shatterproof foundation for their political identity.

The Hillary hype was understandable. You didn’t need to watch more than two minutes of the GOP debates to recognize that the Republican options were a conglomerate of less than desirable candidates to millennials, minorities, and women. (Shout out to Carly Fiorina for being the exception to the rule!) For an exhausting twelve months, the GOP tried to make “fetch” happen- only to realize the people didn’t care about a #BetterWay forward. They were sick of rhetoric; they were sick of hope; they wanted action. They wanted Washington to work for them or burn down trying. Alast, the people spoke loudly, and the grand ol’ party put forth the least sexy, least politically poised, and least articulate of the bunch to go head to head with Hillary. Ours truly, President Donald J. Trump.

 

via GIPHY

Who and what we got in our nation’s highest office is largely due to our blindness to see the greater issues we faced, the greater arguments that were to be had, and ultimately, our failure to see beyond this political moment. It’s hard to admit that this may be a teachable moment... but with imperfect outcomes rise opportunities, after every Jimmy Carter comes a Ronald Reagan. We still very much believe that the United States deserves a public servant, not a celebrity, as commander-in-chief. We hope you do as well. As women reach the critical mass, the responsibility to get it right the next time around will fall on our shoulders. Why don’t we begin now to set a different tone?

Before Kellyanne Conway became Kellyanne Conway, I heard her speak at a Republican National Committee meeting in Washington. Conway spoke entirely about her work as a Republican pollster and the role women would play in the party's future. The most poignant thing Conway illustrated, through her data, was that Republican women are accepting of differing positions and solutions. Within the party, there are women that embrace pro-life and pro-choice stances, without animosity, without uniformity. The moment we allow ourselves to lose that diversity of thought is precisely the moment we lose what truly makes us great.

The 2016 election cycle accelerated the liberal elite to claim Feminism as their identity, and concurrently “their call to arms.” I would like to use this space to claim it back. As a place to celebrate the diversity of viewpoints women can share about politics. Without being labeled anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-diversity… and the list goes on. This blog will explore the different angles of current issues- we’ll slice it all ways and sideways. My team and I will argue that Republican and Independent policies, that champion economic opportunity and limited government, actually give women more freedom. Yet, we won’t shy away from calling out where Republican politics and policies fall short, falter, or flat out restrict your rights.

I'm not suggesting that some progress is enough progress. Let’s give a voice to all those that have come before and those that will come after.

Elephants have thick skin, so do Republican women.

Welcome to the Elephant in the Room.