Today is Women's Equality Day, commemorating the 96th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and women's right to vote in America -- nearly a century of hard-fought progress.
More than any other presidential race we've seen, at every turn this year's campaign highlights the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats on women and the issues that affect them. If it were up to Trump Republicans, we would go back to the olden days when America was "great”:
… before 1920, when women could not vote;
… before 1944, when women could not join the armed services or work at “men only” jobs;
… before 1960, when birth control was approved, giving women control of their bodies;
… before 1964, when the Civil Rights Acts offered equal employment and anti-discrimination laws;
… before 1965, when women of color were guaranteed the right to vote;
… before 1972, when Title IX removed quotas for women at colleges and universities;
… before 1973, when abortion was illegal;
….before 1974, when women did not have equal access to credit;
….before 2008, when women did not have a way to recoup underpayment of unequal wages;
… before 2009, when being a woman was a pre-existing condition for health insurers.
For all our momentum, someone is always ready to build barriers, walls, and ceilings to divide and suppress those who are deemed different or unworthy, whether because of their gender, religion, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation, size, race, or language.
The Republicans want to make America great again by blocking or rescinding the progress that women have made in the past hundred years. In just the past decade, they have tried to pass laws to make access to contraception difficult, overturn Roe v. Wade, deny women equal pay for equal work, deny women equal rights under the Constitution, and suppress the votes of many citizens.
Trump personifies the very worst of this retrograde behavior. He has called women “pigs” and “slobs” and said women who have abortions should be “punished.” He thinks a woman who faces harassment in the workplace should just get a new job.
But this year, I must say, is much bigger than him. When Hillary Clinton became the first woman ever nominated by a major party, she noted the historic significance of the moment:
“Standing here … standing here as my mother's daughter, and my daughter's mother, I'm so happy this day has come. I’m happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. I’m happy for boys and men – because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone. After all, when there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit. So let's keep going. Let’s keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have.”
Over the next 74 days, our County Democratic Party is committed to electing not just Hillary Clinton as President and Kamala Harris as California's next U.S. Senator, but also Mara Elliott as San Diego's first female City Attorney and dozens of other women at the local level. In fact, about half of the candidates we've endorsed this year are women. Women remain underrepresented in government, but when elected they bring important perspectives and serve their constituents with voices for justice, equality, security, and compassion.
Let's celebrate today's important anniversary by getting to work. There are more good people to elect, more battles to fight, and more barriers to break. San Diego County can lead the way.