Mainstreet Women Manifesto for Tolerance: More Change We Want to See Happen – Congress

Main Street Question #9: If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the U.S. immediately, what would you change? (Post 2 of 2.)

#2: MAINSTREET WOMEN CHANGE CONGRESS

Mainstreet Women, you made clear that while you don’t feel you currently have a strong voice, when given the chance you want to be heard as individuals. I promise to honor every one of your inspiring, insightful and hope-filled magic wand responses – you have my commitment that each of your voices will be shared with the world. But as I reported last week, one theme did rise to the top:  tolerance.

We’re beginning to share with one another on our US Mainstreet Women Facebook page how WE can begin leading the change we want to see. Penny, CA wrote:  “I will listen more, speak less, but speak up when I need to,” exemplifying how our ‘tolerance manifesto’ holds the promise for moving us and our nation back to a time when we could talk with one another fearlessly about our differing perspectives and remain friends.

Change starts on Main Street, with us, and also:  Mainstreet Women want Congress to change. “I’d have a bipartisan Congress with the good of the country at heart. That would affect everything. I think we need collaboration and moral courage for what’s best for the country.” (Donna, TX)

I’d immediately have Republicans and Democrats work together and use their commonsense to make laws. If they don’t agree, they still must come together to get things done. Our country is very much worse off for this inability to come together. There’s loyalty and then there’s stupidity – we’re much worse off now because our Congress is not working together on behalf of the people.” (Elaine, NE)

POST-ELECTION SIGNS OF CHANGE:  NOT ENOUGH FOR MAINSTREET WOMEN

52 Mainstreet Women interviews were conducted from October to November 6 – U.S. general election day.  (Brenda, IL talked with me ‘til 8:30 p.m. CST election night!) The election is over and we will see 90 new faces in the 113th Congress. We’re seeing glimmers of change already as Republicans in Congress have started to rebel against Grover Norquist’s no tax pledge that is holding Congress back from working together for the good of us all; “I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” (GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss, Georgia)

However, Marybeth’s wand-work is not yet a reality: “I’d remove party politics from our government systems. The party machines have destroyed us, destroyed this country. It would be about people. We’d go back to having public servants not parties that are about money and power, not a place where corporations are people – I’d wipe that out.” (Marybeth, MI)  And, several other Mainstreet Women’s magic is well, a (promising?) work-in-progress:

  • “I’d shift the balance of power in Congress. I’d make Congress 51% women immediately.” (Kate, MN)
  • “With my magic wand I’ll have more women making decisions for us. Because women have been managing homes forever, we’re experienced! Women will bring a whole different perspective….I think part of the problem is that we have too many men making the decisions.” (Luz, MA) 
  • “If we had parity we’d have different policy discussions – it would change everything. The Women’s Caucus is bipartisan. They disagree but still keep the conversation alive. Women can talk politics in a way that is healthy and we’d change the conversation.” (Marjorie, DC) 

Our U.S. Congress will have a record 101 women in 2013:  81 women in our House of Representatives and 20 female Senators. Mainstreet Women’s Kris in New Hampshire is glowing that her state made herstory with the first ever all-female state Congressional delegation; and she helped elect a woman governor too!

MAINSTREET WOMEN:  CAN WE FOCUS OUR POWER?

I loved how three Mainstreet Women took direct power in their magic wand response — no waiting for others to lead:

  • Jennifer, NE used her wand to assume the presidency and immediately moved her husband and 7 children into the White House
  • Kate, FL appointed the Supreme Court
  • Dana, VA made a blockbuster film that redefines success and power; no more Barbie-doll women, no more Terminator masculine ideals

If we don’t really have the magic to compel Congress to change immediately, WHAT CAN WE DO NOW? 

I’m still working on me. I’ve committed to shifting my mindset, igniting more conversations that I stick with, and being more tolerant of others.  One thing I did do:  I added “Call on Congress” to my fairly smartphone’s address book:  1-888-907-6886.

This automated service from the non-profit, non-partisan Sunlight Foundation (http://sunlightfoundation.com/) helps us learn how our Congressional reps are voting and how they’re raising campaign funds. You can even have an entire Congressional bill read out to you via phone! I just listened to Senate Bill 3351 – Protect Our Health Privacy Act. (Only took 7 total minutes!)

I can’t wait to read more of your Facebook posts on what you’ll do to lead tolerance!  All my best, Jone

P.S. Did you know that since our 2013 Election Day the term “Main Street” has been recorded 4 times in the Congressional record?  http://www.capitolwords.org/term/Main_Street_/.   Next post later this week:  How Mainstreet Women define Main Street

 Join us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Mainstreet-Women/299610273488399.

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