Obama's Goddess Cult
This past week, I was invited to a conference at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. celebrating the inspirational accomplishments of high-profile women. When I arrived, the welcome banner told me that it was sponsored by the National Journal, and certainly the program speakers were very impressive. I sat in the conference room filled with attractive young women and a few brave but curious men, all eager to hear what words of wisdom would be imparted to hopeful future leaders.
However, about twenty minutes into the program, I had already picked up my purse to leave. "This is not the place for me, Lord!" He answered my prayer: "It's exactly the place for you. Stay and speak truth to whoever will listen." And so I did, attempting to add comments here and there correcting incomplete or outright incorrect statements. The bright and shining young interns sitting next to me were fed one-line remarks or scribbled questions throughout the forum in order to help guide their thinking. Still, I am concerned for the others in the room whom I was not able to speak with during the breaks and meals. My prayer expanded to them -- that their intellects and tender hearts would filter out any harmful perspectives being touted by the panel speakers.
To boil down the message of the day to simple terms, it can be found in the title of headline speaker Nancy Pelosi's book, Know Your Power. Attired in immaculate crème feminine slacks, crème silk blouse, crème high heels, and a strand of large crème pearls, Mrs. Pelosi presented as a most engaging lady of a certain age. She was personable, quickly relating to the audience of educated and accomplished women seeking "more" out of life. She preached a gospel of Cause and Purpose: "... my despair over the fact that one in five children in America is in poverty." This was given as the driving force for her initial foray into what is called public service today. "For over two hundred years, we've been playing in someone else's playing field. We have to create our own environment. We need to reduce the role of money and increase the level of civility to get more women in politics." She explained that the breadbox is how people vote at the ballot box.
Questioning why there are not more women in government roles, Pelosi compared America to Rwanda and other poverty-stricken countries that have more women in their congresses. If they can, why can't America? The room cheered. Knowing your own power to create change is vital to making things happen, Pelosi admonished, and "your path is the right path for you."
Ms. Pelosi then recounted stories of dinners with male members of Congress and their derision of their female colleagues, jokes about how she (having had five children herself) should know more about childbirth than the pope, and anecdotes regarding her childhood as the daughter of Baltimore's mayor. All of these shaped her perspective and policies. She was interviewed by Margaret Carlson (columnist for Bloomberg View and TIME's first female columnist).
Democratic National Committee Chair and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) spoke out for the need to have not only more women in politics, but those who will work for "the causes of women" She encouraged the need to move away from "the default white-guy, good old boy to be president," and she attributed her self-proclaimed success to her conviction that "it's not hard to outwork most of the men." She was supported in this view by Neera Tanden, who is the president of the Center of American Progress. Though Ms. Tanden was the policy director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, she has become a major go-to voice for the Obama administration.
A flawless and golden Mika Brzezinski (co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe) interviewed Senior Advisor to Obama Valerie Jarrett. These two glowing and groomed gals chatted like old friends about the difficulties of being female in a man's world. They repeated the tired phrases of all the other feminists: you must work harder than anyone else, you must believe in yourself, you must promote your résumé, you must find female mentors, you must help pave the way for other women coming up behind you. After all, women are superior to men in all ways. Aren't they? (Audience laughter here.)
But wait: the day was not lost, for on the menu -- just to stay fair and balanced -- were three ladies I found worth hearing. Linda Rabbitt (founder, chairwoman, and CEO of Rand Construction Corp.) heads up a vast team of employees and manages an average annual volume of over $250 million. Another admirable lady was Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who came to office from a family-owned orchard and an education from Pensacola Christian College.
The most inspiring speaker in my opinion was from the great state of Texas: longtime Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Of all the impressive women who spoke that day, Senator Hutchison presented to me an example of what I would most like to represent. She was professionally attired in a pretty kelly green and white skirt-suit. She sat in ladylike fashion, with her skirt covering her knees, and she spoke in low, soft tones. Never once did she speak a word against anyone -- not even men. In fact, she was complimentary of the other women in Congress and expressed appreciation for her baby shower hosted by Hillary Clinton and the ladies who join her regularly for dinners. She did not mention (to my memory) any current or past president. She did humbly but confidently speak about her consideration of running for the highest office, but then she spoke of her two adopted children. At one point she turned to the audience and strongly stated that the number-one priority of her job was to "serve the constituents." She was the only speaker who made this type of remark.
I doubt that these last three mentioned ladies (Ms. Rabbitt, Representative Rodgers, Senator Hutchison) would be found on the long, long list of women who surround the Obama administration. They do not fit the profile of "goddess." In fact, just the opposite. These competent, calm, and conservative ladies are just what a successful president should be seeking.
Obama's cult of goddesses will one day find that they no longer need any male to promote "the causes of women." And he will find himself with no one to worship and no one to worship him.