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Can a Woman Be Governor?


Dear Source:
Amazingly, this is the first time in VI History that the majority of gubernatorial candidates are female, but voters appear not to be very excited. The probability of a woman becoming governor is 4/5 or 80% since there are five candidates in the race and four of them are woman. It is likely that 2014 General Election Day will be a historic moment in Black History. This could be the day that Virgin Islanders elect the first black female governor under the US flag. Why, then, few voters are euphoric as the time when President Barack Obama waged his campaign in 2008?
Virgin Islanders have an opportunity to shape their political destiny, yet the excitement exhibited during the last general election is strangely absent. Could it be that the negative political ads have the voters so distracted that it is difficult to focus on the real issues and do some of these ads deliberately misinform the electorate about the role of each elected position? Are the dire economic conditions causing some electorate to feel emotionally crippled? What factor is contributing to the nonchalance about the gubernatorial race?
While some say that the gender card should not be used because women have the same right as men, it is clear to me that prejudice toward women persists. Some campaign ads are promoting the idea that women cannot serve as governor. The message is subliminal; however, it seems to be effective.
Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen is the sole target of many of these ads. Nevertheless, the message demeans all women.
Our delegate has never lost an election during the last 18 years but the lone male opponent in the gubernatorial race is voraciously attacking her credibility. Now that she is running for governor, he is questioning her qualification for the position.
According to certain political ads, the delegate has not accomplished anything during her tenure. She is not recognized for arranging a meeting between JFL heads and CMS officials that resulted in us getting a reprieve. Her male rival suggests that she has been asleep and is responsible for the deplorable situation at the hospital. Isn’t this an insult to Virgin Islanders who elected her?
The role of the delegate does not pertain to the management of our hospitals. Unfortunately, the delegate is being blamed for the mishaps that are occurring in our healthcare system. A recent call to a radio talk program exemplifies the confusion about the role of the delegate. The female caller shamelessly accused the delegate of failure to implement the Obamacare in the territory. Why are people, especially women, being duped by chauvinistic political rhetoric?
Despite the economic hardship in the territory, the government has not collapsed. Without the federal funds coming into our territory, no improvements to our local infrastructure would be possible. Isn’t the job of getting millions in federal grants into the territory being accomplished by a woman? Is it fair for the male gubernatorial candidate to stereotype the delegate as weak?
Can women perform the same duties as men? Of course, women can manage a budget because traditionally they have been the head of the household. Most women know how to stretch a dollar so that no member of her household starves. We know how challenging it is to maintain financial stability in a dwindling economy. Isn’t time to entrust a women to spend the dollars that come from the federal government?
Lack of respect for women is a reason that the political arena is dominated by males. Oxford English Dictionary defines the word respect as "due regard for the feelings and rights of others." Can we say that there is a high regard for women in every area? Should more young ladies be encouraged to enter the field of politics? Why shouldn’t a girl dream about being a governor?
Women excel in education, law and medicine but lag in the political arena. Although we have not always had the same opportunities as men, history teaches that women have more stamina. Queens of the 1878 "Fireburn" epitomized that strength. Isn’t 2014 the time for a woman to carry the torch again and lead us on a path of economic recovery?
Indeed, women can be strong leaders in moments of distress. Our maternal spirits make us ideal gubernatorial material. Women make personal sacrifices to ensure the survival of her family. Many influential women in our community must constantly defend their integrity. Female politicians have to extend more energy than their male counterparts building confidence in their leadership abilities. When will they get equal respect?
Finally, women work harder than men to prove they are capable of getting any job done. This determination inspires great achievement. Therefore, we must consider the qualifications of female political candidates without bias. There are four well-educated, articulate and family-oriented women aspiring to govern the U.S. Virgin Islands. Are we going to give one of them a chance to exercise her leadership skills?
Verdel l. Petersen, St. Croix



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