Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Her fleeting interest should be permanent: Stay out of politics

Kristi Pettibone, author of the letter “Women pols” published in today’s The News & Observer, says she has a “fleeting interest” in North Carolina politics, but she stays away because she can’t afford it (or can’t raise the money required for a successful political campaign), she thinks the voting districts are gerrymandered against her, and, she writes, the media portrays the General Assembly as a “sandlot overrun by bullies.” Her letter was in response to a March 26 news story about the scarcity of women in North Carolina politics.

Here’s some voting background on Pettibone from the NC Board of Elections voter look-up website. She is registered “unaffiliated” and has voted only six times since 2008. That year she only voted in the general election. In September 2009 and in May 2012, she voted in Democratic primaries. In November 2012, she voted in the general election; in October 2013, she participated in the Raleigh municipal elections, and last November 2014, she voted in the general election. So, her record of voting is sketchy at best.

Pettibone says cost is an obstacle to pursuing a political career. “I don’t think I could afford to run for office.” In reality, she isn’t sure she could gain enough support to receive sufficient funds from her supporters to pay the bills. While running for office seems to require increased spending, the bottom line of having a financially successful campaign is to have enough supporters willing to make financial contributions. Pettibone is unsure of herself on this point. No having adequate financial support says a lot about your candidacy and how it will fail, with a few exceptions.

She supports her current representatives, Rep. Grier Martin and Sen. Josh Steiner (two Democrats) because, as she wrote, they are “solid, thoughtful individuals.” She goes on to say “the districts are increasingly drawn to heavily favor one party, so logical, thoughtful women most needed in elected office realize the system is rigged and decide not to run.” In other words, she’s saying only Democratic women, not Republican women, are “logical, thoughtful women.” She needs to review her idea of logical, thoughtful women. Maybe, if the entire General Assembly was made up of Republican registered women, Pettibone would still be looking for logical, thoughtful women. That's a direct slap at women. Not all women have to be Democrats to be logical and thoughtful.

And, as far as the media’s portrayal of the General Assembly as “a sandlot overrun by bullies,” she says, “If that’s our only exposure to the NCGA, why would we willingly ask to play in that sandlot.” If the media is her only exposure to the General Assembly, she needs to find better avenues for information. The local media is far from friendly to her opposition and as long as Republicans dominate the General Assembly, the bullies in the sandlot description will maintain, the same as it was for years when the Democrats were in charge.

Her conclusion to and recommendation for having more women run for elective office is first to change the system to please her instead her of doing the things required to get elected and to try to change the system. If Pettibone wants to run for political office, she’ll have to either change districts or challenge men with whom she agrees. If she moves to a strong Republican registered district, she needs to appeal to her base of Democratic and unaffiliated women and men and to convince those women and men to donate time and money to her campaign, to campaign on her behalf, and, most importantly, to vote for her. She tried to make a reasonable point to the report but from here she’s not a logical, thoughtful woman and should stay out of politics and quite writing about it.
-------------------- word of the day
caustic (adjective) [kaw-stik]: severely critical or sarcastic

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