Below is a post over at Forbes blogs:
I am a young woman in America during a time when it can sometimes be difficult to find the good in people. I am an MBA student at Virginia Tech, and almost every day I walk by the portraits of those lost on April 16, 2007. And yet the campus is stronger than I ever imagined.
We find ourselves in another time of mourning for people we may not know in person, but whose spirits we will live with for the rest of our lives. During this moment, we look for hope in the survival of Gabrielle Giffords.
Politics is messy, and nothing seems to force you to choose sides more than your political leaning.
I hated getting involved in political debates with friends because it always seemed you had to choose one extreme or the other, instead of finding compromise. Politics also unnerves me because people form opinions about topics when they don’t have correct or fully information, let alone the experience.
Women in politics is a whole other issue that keeps coming up. I remember my mother and I discussing why I couldn’t identify with Hillary Clinton, that being a fellow woman wasn’t enough when I didn’t feel like I had enough of an understanding of her person. And then she was a woman meeting dignitaries all over the globe, a mother-of-the-bride and a leader building more bridges than we knew we had lost. It may have taken her losing her presidential efforts for us to see, but she’s a woman who may have let us understand her finally.
Then we have Sarah Palin, an underdog story that turned out to have an attack dog behind the curtain. Someone said to me that even if she ruins it for the rest of us, at least she’s a woman in politics. That’s not good enough for me because what do you think the path will look like for future women if Sarah’s the one who laid it? Perhaps we can have a bit more kindness.
Gabby may not have been all over the headlines the same way Sarah Palin is, but as I believe, you shouldn’t have to create chaos to be noticed. Unfortunately, chaos found Gabby.
With reports of progress from her doctors, Gabby could come out of Saturday’s tragedy stronger than we ever imagined. She is a woman who embraced being a woman, and she wanted to help others instead of using stilettos to stab those around her on her way up, as others might have done. Our whole understanding of women in politics could change as Gabby continues to recover. There is such hope in her story that I pay we are able to see the work she’s always wanted to do.
As a young woman in America, I want to see more role models who show me that doing my own part will actually make a difference. That you have to share part of yourself to have others identify with you, and that being a survivor doesn’t come from deceit, but instead from pulling yourself up. I hope Gabby comes back fighting because I will be right there with her.
Photo from Wikipedia.