Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Better or Worse?

“I, (Name),
Take you, (Name),
To be my (wife/husband);
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
‘Till death do us part.” (or, “As long as we both shall live.”)

—Traditional Wedding Vows 

Yesterday when Council Representative Jon Weinstein, a Democrat, endorsed Allan Kittleman, a Republican, for County Executive, armchair analysts on social media soon turned the talk to...

...his wife, Margaret Weinstein.

Being a wife in the world of politics continues to be a constricting and diminishing role. The assumptions people make about political wives just floor me. I wrote a bit about this topic during the last County Executive race. 

It must be a hard life to be a political wife, (or husband, although there's still much less of that) indeed, harder than I can imagine. Finding the right balance between supporting one's spouse and yet retaining one's own sense of self must be exhausting.

Margaret Weinstein ran for, and won, a place on the Democratic Central Committee in her own right. If you want to know what her future plans are, reach out to her as you would any person in public life. Do not automatically assume that she exists to manifest the will of her spouse. Is it so difficult to comprehend the concept that Ms. Weinstein is an independent human being, able to make decisions and take action based on her own free will?

We easily allow this for autonomy for men. We don’t place them in a long shadow cast by their wives. In fact, setting this story in the reverse would almost seem silly to most of us, because we are so used to common, everyday stereotypes that paint women as appendages of their spouses.

I reached out to Ms.Weinstein for this piece but, as we don’t know each other well, I didn’t expect to hear back, especially on a day like yesterday. The flurry of Facebook frenzy was rather overwhelming. But, if she should decide she has something to say on this topic, I’d be willing to give her the space to share it. 

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