I totally forgot about this until Mimi Smartypants dropped a line about "an eavesdropping session that made me feel stabby with feminist rage," and then I remembered. Feminist ranty gold!
The other day I was standing in line waiting for the bus when a woman came up to me asking me to sign a petition to get Hillary Clinton on the Virginia primary ballot. Now, Hillary has done some stuff in the past to make me not overly anxious to vote for her (bitch should have showed some ovaries and been at the March for Women's Lives), but I have enough sisterly solidarity to want to see her on the ballot, so I happily signed.
The young woman behind me in line refused to sign, which is perfectly okay. But the reason she gave got my blood boiling. "I think my boyfriend would probably kill me." The woman holding the petition said calmly, "He doesn't need to know. It's your right to decide whether to sign or not." She wound up not signing.
Lady. If you don't want to sign the petition, say so. You are entitled to make and own your decisions. If you're really not signing because your boyfriend would be mad, dump that bastard. The 19th Amendment guarantees that you have the right to make these decision on your own. If you don't think Clinton would make a good president, that's awesome. I don't. I think she's a demagogue. But I reached that decision independently of my husband.
I know I've often said that I consider a mixed marriage as one between a Democrat and a Republican. If R voted for a Republican, chances are I'd be extremely mad. If he'd voted for Bush, we would have had some hard words between us. But I think there's a key difference in these situations. If R really felt that voting for a Republican was the right thing to do, I would try to change his mind. But what would bother me would be the factors leading him to make the decision to vote for a Republican--what would that say about his commitment to women's reproductive rights (and women's rights in general), the environment, our social contract with the mentally ill and children of poverty, and all the other liberal values I hold dear? In other words, I'd be extremely troubled that he felt those factors weren't important enough to influence his vote, but I wouldn't expect him to vote against his conscience just to satisfy me. In fact, I'd be angrier at him for that than I would be for him thinking that voting for a Republican was the right thing to do. (Obviously, if Repub was willing to go to bat for all those issues, I wouldn't have a problem voting for him/her. But let's get real, shall we?)
Ladies, you have the right to make political decisions based on your beliefs. If that's going to cost you your boyfriends, those men are not worth having. If you feel, as I do, that one's political belief speak volumes about one's values and morals, then find someone who shares those values and morals. If you don't particularly care about politics, that's cool too. But don't allow someone else in your life to manipulate your vote. Don't ever make a political decision based out of fear.