NOTE: I am reposting this (1:10pm) so the prior postings are put in context
This article reprinted below reports the outrageous.
22 women have written a letter to a museum protesting an award to Former First Lady Bush. The award, the Alice Award, is to honor a woman for advancing women. This year’s awardee is the Former First Lady.
I can’t decide if the 22 protesting women are ignorant or mean spirited – or worse, both. (I would love to know what each of the 22 has done for women!)
One (Sonia Pressman Fuentes) is quoted below saying “I’m complaining that she’s [Mrs. Bush] never done anything for women to get this award..”
Really? Not done anything for women? Fuentes and the other 21 are grossly uninformed (at best.)
Let me give you a sample or two (and my guess is that GMA’s Robin Roberts and syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker will agree with me since they both were there covering one of the projects about which I write below. Like I did, Robin and Kathleen saw it…and I am sure both were impressed.)
When Mrs. Bush was First Lady, she went all over the MidEast (Robin and I chased her) talking about breast cancer awareness and the need for early screening. She did this in places where the cultures prohibit such discussion or even detection efforts. She spoke to women who got help way too late since their culture does not permit discussion. I don’t need to tell you what their prognosis was. Mrs. Bush went to cancer facilities….spoke to round tables of women. It was nonstop. The governments of those MidEast countries listened — even though they probably were not happy with her message that women should be treated fairly. She went to countries and places and talked to leaders where woman can’t get mammograms without the permission of husbands.
Mrs. Bush didn’t have to go to the Middle East to put the spotlight on breast cancer. She got nothing out of going (and the days and hours were long and hot) except a personal satisfaction that she could help….and that personal satisfaction drives her…drives her to help other women. Women are very lucky that Mrs. Bush has a personal drive to want to help.
Frankly, she is not like the 22 women who took a pot shot at her. She likes to help. She is decent that way. She was using her platform (and continues to do so) to help women who desperately need and needed help. She did it because she gives a damn.
But her tireless effort to help promote breast cancer awareness here in the MidEast was not something new. She has been doing that for years – long before she became First Lady. It is her history. For years, prior to the White House or even the Governor’s Mansion in Austin, she was a regular volunteer helping the Komen Foundation in Dallas…yes, putting a spotlight on breast cancer awareness here in the USA.
The trip to the Middle East is one small sample showing who she is, her big heart, and what a good powerful woman can do.
But it isn’t just breast cancer — how about her campaign for literacy? Do you know how many of her literacy events she has held that I have covered over the years? Yes, of course literacy afflicts men, too, but it particularly painful to the single mother who needs to find a job to feed her children. If you can’t read, you can’t fill out a job application. (I heard her say that over and over and over again at these literacy events!)
Or how about the women of Afghanistan? She has devoted much time and effort to help the women and she didn’t drop it when she went back to Texas. She dug right in with a mission to continue to help them. A year ago she drafted me to moderate a panel at SMU with women from Afghanistan and other countries who mentor with businesswomen in the USA — putting a spotlight on what successful women in this country can do to help women in other countries and most of all in Afghanistan where the Taliban has been brutal to women. The conference was the public side of her work for the women — she does a lot of behind the scenes work to help the women hook up with business women in the USA.
Want another one? Ready for more? Do you know who Aung San Suu Kyi is? I confess….I didn’t until Mrs. Bush spoke out at the UN about her. She was under house arrest in Burma – under a repressive regime. For the First Lady of the USA to be so bold to speak out against a repressive regime holding a woman was big.
This blog posting is not a Republican / Democratic issue. Breast cancer hits women of both parties. I know Democratic women with it and Republican women. Likewise …literacy is not a partisan issue. It is a human rights issue – you can’t get along in life if you can’t even sign your name.
These are projects Mrs. Bush has been pushing for years.
The only partisan aspect to the article below are the 22 women who signed the letter and lack the decency to step back from their mean spirited partisanship and just look at the FACTS. Facts matter.
I could go on and on with what Mrs. Bush has done for women over the years and continues to do so. But now I turn to the question: and what has Fuentes been doing? holding pot luck dinner with other women complaining about women of other political parties who actually DO help ?
Finally, I do challenge other women in politics and the media to do the right thing. Time to speak up! Write a letter to the museum board challenging the obscene letter written about Mrs. Bush. We want to encourage women to help women — what these 22 women did is just the opposite although I doubt anything could or would stop Mrs. Bush.
If you want women to help women, speak up now. Don’t tolerate small minded partisans trying to discourage those who REALLY help from helping. You would never let men do this to women…so why look the other way when the unfair critics are women?
The time to speak up is now.
Read below.. and post your comment-
Not everyone is happy to see the Sewall-Belmont House, a museum dedicated to advancing women, give its highest honor to former first lady Laura Bush.
Twenty-two women, including former members of the museum’s board, have penned a letter to the museum in protest of Bush’s selection for the Alice Award, as first reported by the Washington Post. Sonia Pressman Fuentes, co-founder of the National Organization for Women, led the charge.
“When I read that the award was going to be given to Laura Bush, I felt as if I’d had a sudden onset of Alzheimer’s,” she told Yeas & Nays. “I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
It’s not Bush’s political affiliation that she objects to, Fuentes insists. “It’s not partisan,” she said. “I’m not complaining that she’s a Republican. I’m complaining that she’s never done anything for women to get this award.”
Fuentes adds that she wouldn’t give President Obama or the first lady an award either. “Both he and his wife have disappointed me in terms of women’s rights,” she said.
“Here you have a woman who was a brilliant attorney,” Fuentes said of Michelle Obama. “She’s just published a book about how to garden.”
Fuentes and the 21 others who signed the letter had a few other women in mind who could replace Bush or be added as recipients alongside her. (Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Eleanor Smeal were two suggestions.)
The Sewall-Belmont House confirmed it’s non-partisan stance to Yeas & Nays and defended Bush’s bona fides. “As with any high-profile public figure, some people agree and some people disagree, and any choice of honoree will never please everyone all the time,” museum executive director Page Harrington wrote to Yeas & Nays.
She reiterated that Bush “transcends cultural, political, and geographic boundaries in her work for women’s progress.” Bush has been involved with several campaigns for breast cancer and heart disease, some of which have sent her around the world.
Harrington did not provide specifics about disagreements over past Alice recipients. Fuentes, who was on the museum’s board for two decades, could not recall any major controversy about past award winners, which include Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, and Olympia Snowe.
“She’s a big name,” Fuentes said of Bush. “And it will bring people into the event.” She added, “Let’s call a spade a spade.”