These are immutable facts.  Kirsten Gillibrand was born in 1966.  She graduated from Dartmouth.  She is a woman.  And one thing more: We are in a laboratory now.

This is going to be a test of walking the walk, not talking the talk.  And a test of women of a certain stripe to see if we can wait and see who the new senator from New York really is without instantly celebrating simply because of her gender.

I, for one, am dismayed that the scuttlebutt is she has gotten this appointment because she is a woman.  That is not a good enough reason.  We have a new administration that needs strong support for its programs and policies and we have a national need for transparency and honesty.  The question is what does   this senator stand for and can she live up to what many citizens want to believe she is?


I am reminded of the Turkish proverb:  When the axe walked into the forest, the trees said, “Look.  It is one of us.”

This is what you will find on rightwingnews.com:

The irony is that Paterson may be swinging from the nation’s most prominent Democratic family to one with strong Republican ties.  Gillibrand’s father, Doug Rutnick, is an Albany insider and lobbyist whose ties to former GOP powerhouses Joe Bruno, George Pataki and Al D’Amato are legendary.

What is also ironic is that Gillibrand has a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association. Didn’t we just get over disparaging a woman candidate who had a penchant for firearms?

I will hold my feet to the same fire I intend to build at the toes of my state’s newest senator.  I will make judgment on action, not on hemline or hair style.  I will not celebrate or give automatic support to someone because her voice operates in the same octave as mine or because she might show up at a woman’s luncheon I too attend.

We are at a time in history where diversity is being offered as a way of erasing barriers.  We, as women, need to drop the barriers between our desires for progress and our demands for gender equality.  If this woman can do the job with honor while upholding honest principles of public service, brava.  If not, she’s the wrong man for the job.

— Laura Sillermsn

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  • Women's Voices For Change January 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    A submission
    Laura Sillerman’s astute and timely comments on the Gillibrand appointment in New York to Hillary Rodham’s Senatorial seat should be echoed throughout the land. Obama has set the standard: this is a meritocracy – a form of government deserted by the Bush administration, and gender, color and religious affiliation has nothing to do with any of it.
    But my mind is slightly morphing here to another position I have had for years, not far afield from Sillermans and which resonates, at least to me. For years I have supported Emily’s List and with reason. They stand for something I deeply embrace: a woman’s right to choose. However, many men running for public office- including my Congressman from Louisville, Kentucky: John Yarmuth, deeply believe in “choice”, and never wavered in the face of opposition. So strongly did he believe in not “muting” his ethical positions for political expediency..that he stayed on the Planned Parenthood board while running for Congress (he is in his second term) and as far as I know, has not resigned yet!
    Why then, in this important time of merging all entities, do we not encourage and help men who are as supportive of the ideals modern women embrace, as we do women?
    Someone wiser than I might answer that. Laura Sillerman is so right on this issue. I too flinched as the NRA cheered.
    Mary Moss Greenebaum
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Reply
  • Women's Voices For Change January 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    A submission
    Laura Sillerman’s astute and timely comments on the Gillibrand appointment in New York to Hillary Rodham’s Senatorial seat should be echoed throughout the land. Obama has set the standard: this is a meritocracy – a form of government deserted by the Bush administration, and gender, color and religious affiliation has nothing to do with any of it.
    But my mind is slightly morphing here to another position I have had for years, not far afield from Sillermans and which resonates, at least to me. For years I have supported Emily’s List and with reason. They stand for something I deeply embrace: a woman’s right to choose. However, many men running for public office- including my Congressman from Louisville, Kentucky: John Yarmuth, deeply believe in “choice”, and never wavered in the face of opposition. So strongly did he believe in not “muting” his ethical positions for political expediency..that he stayed on the Planned Parenthood board while running for Congress (he is in his second term) and as far as I know, has not resigned yet!
    Why then, in this important time of merging all entities, do we not encourage and help men who are as supportive of the ideals modern women embrace, as we do women?
    Someone wiser than I might answer that. Laura Sillerman is so right on this issue. I too flinched as the NRA cheered.
    Mary Moss Greenebaum
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Reply
  • Women's Voices For Change January 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    A submission
    Laura Sillerman’s astute and timely comments on the Gillibrand appointment in New York to Hillary Rodham’s Senatorial seat should be echoed throughout the land. Obama has set the standard: this is a meritocracy – a form of government deserted by the Bush administration, and gender, color and religious affiliation has nothing to do with any of it.
    But my mind is slightly morphing here to another position I have had for years, not far afield from Sillermans and which resonates, at least to me. For years I have supported Emily’s List and with reason. They stand for something I deeply embrace: a woman’s right to choose. However, many men running for public office- including my Congressman from Louisville, Kentucky: John Yarmuth, deeply believe in “choice”, and never wavered in the face of opposition. So strongly did he believe in not “muting” his ethical positions for political expediency..that he stayed on the Planned Parenthood board while running for Congress (he is in his second term) and as far as I know, has not resigned yet!
    Why then, in this important time of merging all entities, do we not encourage and help men who are as supportive of the ideals modern women embrace, as we do women?
    Someone wiser than I might answer that. Laura Sillerman is so right on this issue. I too flinched as the NRA cheered.
    Mary Moss Greenebaum
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Reply