Women of the Year – The Progressive, 12/30/2005

In my recent travels I saw an article in a local paper about a women’s auxiliary luncheon to honor their volunteers. The headline was supposed to read “Women of the Year,” but because of a typo, it read instead, “Omen of the Year.”

The headline reminded me that it’s been twelve years since the much-ballyhooed Year of the Woman. Since it was just one woman and they would never tell us who it was, I never got into that hoopla.

But get on your party hats, 2005 has been the “Year of More Than Just One Woman!” And since I’m all about transparency, none of those Bob “I’m No Deep Throat” Woodward withholding tactics for me. Here are the women of the year:

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president-elect of Liberia and the first woman elected in Africa, defeated George Weah, a soccer hero who had mobilized jobless young men and former militia in the fourteen-year civil war that destroyed the country’s infrastructure and killed one tenth of its civilian population.

Angela Merkel, an East German politician, was made over into Germany’s new chancellor, replacing Gerhard Schroeder. Her challenge is to revive Germany’s economy, make up with the US and the EU and ride herd on a coalition government of Christian and Social Democrats.

The nurses of California would not be terminatored in Conan the Republican’s ill-advised, expensive special election. After he insulted them by saying that as special interest group, The California Nurses Association was mad at him. Because he “kicked their butt,” they hounded him in the press and at personal appearances and kicked his flaccid, steroidal concaves.

Maureen Dowd, revealed in her New York Times column the deep shallowness of her colleague Judith Miller when she described a contretemps of seating assignments at a press conference. But her book tour interviews for Are Men Necessary? are maddening in her coy, girlygirl affect. Just write.

Harriet Miers, or “Poor Harry” as she is known in my house, was more excruciatingly ill-suited for her appointment than Dan Quayle, and was cruelly blogged back into behind the scenes of Bush world. Just as Quayle made Bush I seem presidential, Miers made Alito seem a welcomed return to competent adulthood.

Cindy Sheehan rebranded that “army of one” slogan, with her one woman encampment outside the Bush bivouac in Crawford, Texas. She calmly brushed aside incoming from the Swift Boat Mothers for Sacrifice of Sons.

Besides real women, some fictional women need to get a shout out. Geena Davis, as the first woman President, is doing some cultural carpet bombing for the notion that a woman could be President of this country. To show her toughness, they don’t call her the more civilian “Madame President” but the more militaristic “Commander-in-Chief,” a fine point not lost on Hillary.

Mother Nature had quite a run of it this year. Some might think cynically that bad karma for the 2000 “election” caused so many hurricanes to rip through Florida. One such woman lives in my building. No doubt a host of bad environmental and developmental choices have increased hurricane strength categorically. But the catastrophic trifecta of hurricane, tsunami, and earthquake laid bare critical civil fissures. It was so bad Bill Clinton and George the 41st began talking.

Now we know what it takes to get men to work together.

Maybe that local headline was the work of a jaded typesetter about to be laid off, but certainly the omen of this heckuva year has been the dropping of the W. If his poll numbers dropped any lower, they would be below freezing. A nice way to end the year—for women and for all of us.