Why are we talking about women all the time? It was a day kind of like today. Temps were in the low 60’s, partly cloudy skies, early spring, and swollen buds on my Japanese Magnolias. Spring had arrived. After breakfast guests, I hurried through tidying up the rooms. Like a hibernating bear, I desperately wanted to be out in the sun. I grabbed a portable radio and there I was, dancing away and digging a ditch. Physical work is immensely gratifying and beads of perspiration popped on my forehead. The robins were following my every move. They would perch, on the top of a dirt clod, waiting for me to turn over the next shovel full. Yes, I was digging a drainage ditch. Our house has a basement, and we are always conscious of water standing near the foundation. My mission was really twofold, spring maintenance for the basement and to lay out an herb garden. The grass was still brown, but I had a vision. I was wrestling with a French drain, when a pickup truck whizzed into my neighbor’s driveway and stopped about 15′ from where I was working. It was our Mayor and our State Senator, who was also State Chair of Ways and Means. The Mayor spoke first, “What the hell are you doing, Daughn?”. I recognized his voice. Still stooped over and self-conscious that my butt was facing him, I turned the radio down and swung to pitch an elbow on the end of my shovel. I was caught, busted, and tried to look as presentable as possible. “I’m digging a ditch…..”, I went on to explain. Mayor said, “Why isn’t (husband) digging?”, and I made some excuse. Seizing the opportunity to make a deal for my garden, I approached his truck, explained about the herb garden, and asked him for some ‘rip-rat’ to edge my garden. Rip rat are the large stones placed near a new exit ramp by DOT to control erosion. “How much do ya’ need?”, he replied. I pointed to the length needed and asked for a little more. “Okay, I can see it happening for you.”, I was smiling, that was easy. “We need to talk to you about something important.”, said the Mayor. State Senator nodded in agreement. I braced myself on the edge of my shovel, “What does he want me to do now….”, I thought. I was ready, here it came, “You have to be the next Mayor”, he proclaimed. I reacted physically, reeling, but there was no chair to sit in. “Huh?”, I was stammering. He blindsided me. Background #1: The Mayor and I were good friends. He was one of my husband’s best friends. Both of them had construction companies and knew each other for decades before I moved home. He was the best of Mayors for our little town. He was decisive, fearless, a man’s man, ruggedly handsome, and a champ when it came to negotiating. He was 6′ 3″ and imposing, wealthy, naturally intuitive, and also well educated. His experience in municipal bonds was limited, and because of my experience, I helped him. I was also shrewd, steeped in contract law, and provided added benefit. The two of us played good cop/bad cop and ‘danced’ together in a negotiation like we could read each other’s mind. We worked on the hospital, the schools, Christmas parades, federal agencies, and natural disasters. He never called or rang my front doorbell when he needed me, he just walked in the back door. Most of all, my family was deeply experienced in recruiting corp’s to our area. Together, we worked on many, many deals, successfully landing 4 Fortune 500 companies in our town, which improved employment, tax base, school system, etc. Beyond that, I liked the guy. Background #2: Our State Senator was also a friend. He was recently divorced when he brought a lovely woman to an event at our house. It was their first date. He proposed to her at our house, and they were married at our house. She became a girlfriend to me. He was an incredibly adept politician who “got things done”. He listened constantly, never missed a word, and rarely spoke. He was a powerful man who was about 20yrs my elder. At the time, I had just turned 34. Our State Senator broke the awkward silence and explained the Mayor was ‘moving up’. Because of his local success, the Mayor was appointed to head the State Dept of Econ Development. Because of a surreal performance during a natural disaster, our fire chief was also moving up to head Emergency Management for the State. That left a leadership problem at the local level. As he described, “the funnel of new business we had established was important and stability was paramount”. I was the natural choice to fill in. The decision had been made. I was the chosen one. “But I can’t”, I shook my head. They were dumbfounded I would turn down such a gift. Yet, I knew something they did not, something I could not reveal. I offered an excuse, “I just started my business. I have 23 people working out of my house, a mortgage to pay.” “Don’t worry about the money”, was his cool reply. Curious answer. “B-b-b-ut the salary for a Mayor was a pittance, and I’m not naturally wealthy!”, the Mayor knew my personal finances well. I had a 5 year plan and a 10 year plan. The pay cut would have been about 80%. Again, “Don’t worry about the money”, said the State Senator. They explained, they had already spoken to my husband (to see if I might be interested) and he was “on board”. I was flattered and honored. It could only be me, the opposition would be a pompous, dangerous, and inept man. I reluctantly objected again. “I was no politician.”, which they countered. “I was only 34yrs old.”, which they countered. The town’s Mayors were always older men, born and bred in the town, deacons of their churches, past Presidents of Rotary. I was from the town, baptized and married in a local church, but I spent my whole life….. away. I was a newbie, sort of. “Who in the hell would vote for me?”, I was puzzled. The Mayor sighed. Our prominent black alderman had proposed me to be the new Mayor and had also met with my husband (to see if I might be interested). I was assured the vote because as our Black Alderman said, “Of all people, I was tough but fair”. I smiled slightly, always liked that particular alderman, he was also ‘tough but fair’. I was looking at the ground, thinking, running out of excuses and kept resisting. The Mayor sensed something was wrong and he asked, “What the hell, Daughn, I’ll help you campaign!” and “It will be fun!”. Finally and more sternly, he demanded, “What’s the damn problem?”. I rose my head slowly, and narrowed my eyes. Deep breath. “I’m pregnant”, I blurted. “My due date is October 21st and the election would be the beginning of November”, silence…….., “How’s that going to work?”, I said, “How can I campaign?” Plus, “What if the baby, God forbid, is not okay?” The shock washed over them in a less than a second. The Mayor put his head on the steering wheel, then he threw it back against the headrest, staring at the grey velour on the ceiling of the pickup. In the passenger seat, the State Senator put both arms against the glove compartment to brace himself. The Mayor let out a breath, turned to me and said, “You mean…… you’re a woman?”. Almost immediately, the Mayor said, “I ……..just……never……. thought of you as being a woman”. I chuckled. His reaction was overwhelming and sincere. Can’t be faked. Here was a man, an accomplished and experienced man, who LOVED and ADMIRED every inch of women, ALL women, especially his wife. Yet, he perceived me differently than other women. I was his buddy with a numbers brain. I was 110% female, no mistake, and definitely a “babe” at the time, but I was one of the guys. How cool for me? I landed the secret keys to the guy kingdom. Best compliment, ever. I shook my finger at him and swore the both of them to secrecy. I had not told my husband I was pregnant. They were the first to know. When women enter the workforce or become involved in their community, they enter as people who contribute to a group effort. I never beat my chest or asked for special dispensation because I was a woman. We all know the rules. There isn’t another set of rules for women – or is there…. now? Have we lowered the standards for women? Doesn’t that naturally lead to lower performance for the whole group effort? I chose to over-perform and not be a token hire. It’s the ONLY way to earn the respect of the entire group and ever be considered “worthy”. To hell with being “equal”. Furthermore, we all know people who seek to denigrate others to elevate themselves. It’s not healthy psychological behavior. It’s wrong but fairly common in social media, today. The women in this photo, the new and flashy women of the Congress, seek to degrade all men, and others of various religions or races, to elevate themselves. It’s wrong and destructive behavior. I submit, if AOC were a man, she would have already been admonished and cast aside for her flighty and irrational statements. Imagine the response to the “Green Deal” if presented by a 29yr old white male, freshman Congressman. Would ANY news outlet have covered HIS idea? On a regular basis, she condemns men, only because they are men, and immediately defers to victim status, demanding special treatment because she is a woman. She will never earn respect in this way and can only be a token hire. She seeks another set of rules, for her. This kind of self-absorbed behavior leads to resentment on behalf of those who do the actual work. Resentment of this nature is bad for any organization, yet we would be hard pressed to find a company, today, where it does not exist. Are women or ‘skin colors’ promoted for the sake of diversity? Yeah. AOC’s behavior harms all women in this way. Deserving women are constantly tested to prove and reprove themselves as worthy and NOT the token hire. Other women on the cover also seek a different set of rules, to win based on “feelings” or “their truth”, which is usually not actual rational truth. Why is the DNC seeking a “woman of color” to run for President instead of touting accomplishments of the person? They seek to be placated, for all others to bow before them, to stop and listen when they speak, NOT because of what they say, but because of their color, religion, or sex. Why? Why would anyone presume to be superior because of skin color, sex, or religion? Who are the real bigots, here?