As I was being poked, probed, prodded, pulled and pressed during my annual full-body female exam, I thought it was ironic
that I've been pondering the state of women's political power. Twenty-two million women who were eligible to vote in the 2000
presidential election did not exercise their right.
There was a time in our world when the feminine spirit was worshipped
and feared, primarily in agricultural societies. Women were seen as the giver of life. Their cycles were tied to the cycles
of the waxing and waning of the moon. Eastern religions speak of Shakti
, the force that gives them vitality. Shakti
is the feminine energy of God. Other names for Shakti
This article is an attempt to kindle women's spark of Shakti fire and
to urge all women to vote in this year's presidential election. It saddens me deeply to know that women, especially younger,
unmarried women are not voting. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested while attempting to vote in Rochester, New York. One
hundred years later, I voted in my first presidential election. That milestone was captured in the photo featured on this
page, which made the centerfold of the New York Daily News
. I'm the one on the left holding the Nixon shopping bag
while I'm pinning a McGovern button on my collar. I voted for McGovern that year. He lost by a landslide: about 47 million
votes for Nixon and 29 million votes for McGovern. It didn't matter that "my guy" lost. What matters is that I voted.
magazine, when Laura Bush was asked what advice she gave her daughters about joining their father on the campaign
trail, she said "Stand up straight and keep your hair out of your eyes." While I chuckled at remembering my own mother's similar
admonitions, I was annoyed that Mrs. Bush was more concerned with her daughters' appearances than the contributions they would
make to the content of this country's political conversation.
But if the twins, Jenna and Barbara Bush, are like the
women polled in the Women's Voices, Women's Votes survey (www.wvwv.org)
, they feel disenfranchised by the political process. Women's Voices, Women's Votes studied census data from the last presidential
election and took their own poll of over 1000 women in three states. They found that 65% of these women think that the country
is "seriously off track." At the same time, they think that their votes do not matter and/or the political process has no
impact on their lives.
The three top reasons women gave for not voting were that the issues were too complicated for
them to understand, that candidates are more interested in getting elected than they are in improving government, and that
politicians were blind to their needs. At the same time, the issues about which they were passionate were affordable health
care, education, the economy, income not keeping up with rising prices, the right to choose, the war in Iraq, and having enough
money to retire.
According to The National Women's Law Center (http://www.nwlc.org/index.cfm)
women should worry about their futures. Women live longer than men and they still do not earn as much money as men. Older
women, especially women of color, are at greater risk of being alone and poor than men. And as any middle aged woman today
knows, the older you get, the more money you need to spend on maintenance.
I've met many young women students during
the past year of teaching college. It surprised me how world weary they were. Many of them held down jobs while taking classes.
Some were already single moms, although they were still in their 20s. Some of them had tried sex, drugs, and rock and roll,
and already knew that they were unfulfilling. And many of them resonated to the spiritual teachings I sneak into all my classes.
In particular, many of them grasped the concept of non-duality. Non-duality recognizes that everything in the universe is
intertwined with everything else. There are no borders. From a quantum physics perspective, everything in the universe is
oscillating at finer and finer frequencies. At the quantum level, we're just atoms vibrating in space. There is no such thing
as solidity. The western mind frame is based on duality; subject and object as separate and distinct entities. You and I are
different; what I do does not impact you in any way and what you do does not impact me in any way. Not recognizing unity is
the main reason we still have war.
I think women inherently understand unity more than men. We are learning that women's
brains work differently than men's brain. Women think more holistically; they have more connective circuitry between their
left and right brain hemispheres. There’s also evidence that women are more intuitive than men. They are better able
to read people's underlying motives and they are better able at recognizing when people are lying.
Now, I'd like to
see women really come to appreciate their gifts. Women are the progenitors of society. Women are the transmitters of culture
from generation to generation. Why do you think conquering armies rape women? They are insuring the continuation of their
I'd like to see women learn to love themselves. I'd like to see women connecting to their souls to go
real, real deep about why they've come to earth. From the perspective of Eastern religions and from a Western mystical perspective,
we've all chosen to come here for a reason, and I know that the reason is something greater than worrying about the size of
our boobs and booties.
I'd actually like to see women burn their bras again, but this time add their stiletto heels.
(With all due respect to my fashion conscious friends, those things will destroy your feet.) I'd like to see women raise their
Shakti and feel the fire of their grandmothers or great-grandmothers who fought for women's suffrage. In other words, I'd
like to see women get excited about creating their own political agenda. And, if they want to do it in stilettos, that's okay
if it makes the makes them happy.
Here is my political agenda. Some of the ideas may seem radical, but I don't think
we have time for gradual. I believe that it's only "radical" that can address the tide of rapid change that we are already
Dr. Sorah's prescription for healing societies' ills:
Preventive medicine education. We have a sick-care system in this country, not a health care system. Our health care system
focuses on symptoms, or effects, not the cause of disease. There's too much research these days about the role that stress,
diet and fitness play in health. We can save money on health care if we move towards lifestyles that are health promoting
instead of health depleting.
2. Reward companies that are not polluting the air, earth or water and penalize companies
that do. Anyone with any kind of holistic vision knows that everything we put into the environment comes back to us.
Invest, now, in alternative energy resources. The major car manufacturers already are investing money in hybrids, but putting
more money towards alternative fuel research will speed up the process.
4. End the war on drugs. In 2003, the U.S.
government spent almost $20 billion on a hypocritical war that criminalizes some drugs while more toxic drugs have received
legal sanctioning. So far in 2004, $24 billion dollars has been spent. I've been teaching courses about the psychology of
drugs and drug abuse since 1992. Nothing's changed in that time. We should adopt a system like they have in Holland. That
$24 billion could go into early childhood education and preventive health care education.
5. As far as the war in
Iraq goes "this may sound crazy" but I'd use pharmacological warfare. I believe that one of the reasons we're not hearing
that much protest about the war is because so many people are on Prozac. About one quarter of the more than 3 billion prescriptions
written in the United States each year are for tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications. What about getting
our people off tranquilizers and getting the extremists on it? There was a time in the early 1980s when therapists were touting
the psychotherapeutic value of XTC. XTC was supposed to open people's hearts and help them "love one another." What would
it be like to drop XTC bombs over the Middle East. This actually ties in with number four above. By legalizing drugs you take
them out of the hands of terrorists who are funding their crimes by selling them.
6. Women all over the world need
to be able to take responsibility for their own bodies. That means not having unwanted babies. And that means educating all
people about the sanctity of life.
It wasn't that long ago that Hillary Clinton was crucified for seeking counsel
from Dr. Jean Houston. Houston, one of the foremost leaders of the human potential movement, led Hillary in a guided visualization
to tap into the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt has been called the most influential women of the 20th century.
Roosevelt was an advocate for women, children and minorities. She had strong views about honesty in government and balancing
business profit with population needs. Today, her views are more relevant today than ever. See:(http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/documents/articles/womenvoting.html)
So, I think that women need to get together and begin channeling Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor knew instinctively what
all women know: everything in the universe is intricately connected to everything else. Right now we know that life on this
planet is changing drastically. Earth changes are real. The earth's demographics have changed. And some people are actually
out to destroy other people.
We need to support each another in coming up with new systems for living in a rapidly
changing society. The first place to start is by knowing you are important and that your vote matters. I'd like to see a campaign
slogan that says "Women and Children first," because if we don't put women and children first, we will not have a society.