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Amid all the fluff, Maryland women are doing great things

January 27, 2007|by Dee Mayberry

Currently we have a woman third in line to take over duties of the president, should he ever become disabled. She is Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

When Martin O'Malley took the oath of office as the newly-elected governor of Maryland, Pelosi was there to offer congratulations as O'Malley pointed out she was born in our state. Her remarks touted him as a wonderful "governor of California."

The Herald-Mail reporter on the story noted this as a slip of the tongue for a political moment, but this kind of slip speaks volumes. Although born in Maryland the lady is all California; she is all San Francisco elite and liberal haute couture.

We also have a woman who looks in pretty good shape to be president after the 2008 election. It is not known for sure, but can be assumed that Gov. O'Malley likes Hillary Clinton, too.

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He is not alone. Maryland voters have been very hospitable to female candidates. Up until the last election, this state was first in the nation on the tally of ladies serving in the General Assembly. However, after the recent votes were counted, elected Maryland women dropped down a notch to second place.

In efforts to understand what voters really are saying, the national and local view from the telescope of some women reveals a thoroughly muddy picture.

While Nancy Pelosi charms the public by appearing with her children and grandchildren, Hillary draws large crowds of women who like Bill Clinton. Maybe those voters feel that electing Hillary would represent a third term for husband Bill.

There is a terrible thing infuriating good and capable women. It is the whisper that as states (other than Maryland, of course) put more and more women in political leadership posts, some things seem to be going to the dogs.

It's definitely an unfair accusation, but there can be seen a parallel between the rise to power of popular, flip-flopping, liberal women and Hollywood treating us to "Desperate Housewives" on television. We have Internet shows featuring fighting girl gangs, Donald Trump giving Miss U.S.A. a second chance and Brittany, Paris and a host of starlet friends engaging in very bad public behavior.

Nationally, where are the serious, hardworking, family-valuing women who suffer massive embarrassment as this stuff piles up? Maybe they are just too disgusted to interfere.

Judging from the Maryland legislative slip from first to second place among elected females, it may be that some in this state are reacting. Perhaps in one of the most politically unbalanced parts of the nation, there is a nugget of desire for gender equality - as opposed to female superiority - that powerful drive born in the 1960s.

The Maryland Commission for Women is working to give responsible women a greater voice. Among other activities, it makes a big deal out of honoring women of real achievement.

This year, for example, its Maryland Hall of Fame event honors five ladies who fit that mold. One of them wears the uniform of an active-duty full colonel in the Maryland National Guard. She is Annette Deener of Sharpsburg.

Last year, Washington County also provided a Hall of Fame honoree. That was Grace Snivley, a lifelong community service heroine from Hagerstown.

The bipartisan statewide commission has served women well in its lifetime. In years past, it helped women achieve credit opportunity and pushed for equal pay for equal work. Currently, it focuses on health problems unique to women and toughening the Maryland version of Jessica's Law that punishes child predators.

Annette Deener will stand in Annapolis, on March 14, with four other ladies in the President's Conference Room of the Miller Senate building to accept her trophy. And, unless Gov. O'Malley decides otherwise, she will be honored at a reception in the governor's official residence.

Her name will be placed on a plaque to rest, one day, in a building dedicated to Maryland women of achievement, leadership and service. She will join Mrs. Grace Snivley.

The match-flame of responsibility versus political opportunism may be merely a glimmer in the state just now, but it seems to burn brightly in Washington County, if Col. Deener and Mrs. Snivley are any indication.

Congratulations, ladies. This county is proud of you and all the good things you stand for.

Dee Mayberry is a Boonsboro-area resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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