In case you haven’t been paying attention since women attained the right to vote, it seems that we have a problem in American politics. That’s a good thing for me. I have made my living as a problem-solver, but there is one aspect of politics that I lack the ability to solve.
It involves men. Not just men in general. Male politicians, to be exact. They have this predilection to get themselves in trouble by succumbing to their testosterone-driven urges. We have almost daily examples of male politicians who have tanked in a very public way. Just to give you an example of political careers that have taken a nose-dive in the past year or so, the press has reported the following indiscretions, which inevitably landed in the Huffington Post for worldwide distribution:
- A congressman who got caught in the Minneapolis airport for trying to elicit gay sex in the airport men’s room stall, which has become a populist shrine.
- A governor who was so rich that he paid prostitutes large sums of money to satisfy his urges while his attractive long-suffering wife was at home, wondering if he was attending to the affairs of state.
- A congressman, make that several congressMEN from each major political party, who sacrificed their political careers for soliciting sex, not from their wives, but from strangers who they believed would be aroused if they sent them an image of their naked middle-aged bodies, all of the images taken on their government-subsidized cell phones.
The point I am trying to make here is that the indiscretions that politicians commit, the career-crashing ones that make news, are all committed by men. You don’t read about female politicians baring their breasts and sending them to admiring male suitors while their cuckold husband is home taking care of the kids. You don’t hear about them soliciting sex in a restroom on their way to a speaking engagement, or charging their credit card for an hour with a stud who subsidizes his acting career by servicing older women. It is an exclusively male form of political career- crashing.
This is one of many reasons why I believe that women make better politicians than men. Unless you live in Italy, where women can attain public office by promoting their career in the porn trade, American politics involves the creation of an image that includes a definite moral component. It’s Family. It’s optimism. It’s arrogance. And above all, the image of a politician is Similarity. You will vote for the person who is most like you, and the person who you aspire to be.
This image comes crashing down when you read that the man you voted into office got caught with his pants down. Female American politicians have been dethroned for financial misdeeds, but they are not sent home in shame for the vanity of over-estimating their appeal to the opposite sex. That is male politician territory.
Women are wired in an intricate web. They can pay attention to everything at once, while the male becomes driven and fixated on one issue, unable to move on to the next until the one that occupies his attention has been roped, tied, and barbecued. They are able to pay attention to multiple stimuli and attend to all of them.
When a woman is hungry, she thinks about whether the kids have been fed, what she weighed on the scale that morning and the number of pounds she needs to lose, the doughnut that she feels guilty about eating two days ago, and other details that escape the male mind. When a man is hungry, he eats. This description of the male mind does not only apply to hunger, but applies to every issue in the personal and political life of the male politician. They have nobody to blame but themselves. By sacrificing their private life for a public one, they surrender their privacy and the personal aspects of family. They endeavor to hide their foibles from the public eye, and that is the point where they run into trouble. The press is the most legitimized stalker, and there are people who stand to make a lot of money and a few minutes of fame by revealing a politician’s weaknesses.
This gets me back to the core of my message. Women make better politicians than men. They can pay attention to the details. They get more done in the driven world of politics by paying attention to those details. They typically don’t dance around the issues that they were elected to address, but work behind the facade of daily press exposure in resolving the issues that are important to them.
While male politicians complain in private that women in politics are unreasonable, stubborn, and opinionated, female politicians are getting things done behind the drama of the cameras. The male politician tends to barge forward with his singular issue, and announce his progress to the press at every opportunity. By approaching political issues as the topic of the day, all of the rest, the important issues, must stand and wait. They may wait forever if the politician can’t devise a popular way of resolving them. After all, once we elect them, they need to begin the process of being re-elected.
Other issues, the campaign promises they would fix if only we voted them into office, will have to wait until the male politicians have stood in front of the cameras. Not once, but at every step of the way. If there is nothing to report, they will take the opportunity to tell you so, and to point blame in every direction but their own. Until the issue of the day drops from its 24/7 continuous feed, don’t count on them to resolve the budget, the anemic economy, or unemployment. If their personal indiscretions make the news, though, you can count on them being unavailable for comment. They are too busy attending to those issues we all elected them to office to resolve.
Mark E. Becker is a lawyer, a mediator, and the author of political thrillers, At Risk of Winning and No Corner to Hide, the first two novels in the Max Masterson series. Visit www.groundreport.com/markbecker to read more articles from Mark and to check out sample chapters from his novels.