To continue my series on women, I bring you, “from behind the chair,” one of my surprising and recent insights about my women clients. As a hairdresser who has daily un-guarded conversations with women, while I do their cuts and colors, it has been illuminating to me that many women may vote one way when she is younger than when she is older. I always thought I could count on a woman to vote from her heart and education where it concerns her political, economic, and human rights issues. But during this election, I have been hearing from my women clients a startling admission: some of the older women will be voting in the opposite direction of their own inner morale compass.
For instance, one of my Jewish Democratic clients, who is wealthy by my standards, will be voting Republican. In elections of years past she would vote Democrat, virtually canceling out her husband’s votes. She told me that all those years of voting for social equality, economic reform, social justice, reproductive rights for women and civic programs were and are still what she believes in; but she has straight-up told me that she is voting for her own personal pocketbook this year. She believes that a vote for the Republican presidential candidate would be more in alignment for keeping her personal taxes down and her retirement safer. She’s over 50, she’s had medical bills, she’s worried about her retirement.
Fact: in 2012, more single women are voting Democratic and the married woman voter is less inclined to vote Democrat than previous years. I believe it’s because married women are also voting for their nest eggs. Most of my younger women clients will be voting Democrat. P.S.: I live in Chicago and I understand we are a Democratic city and state. Where you live, your hairdresser might report differently.
The client whom I’ve have told you about is not the only woman over 50 who has admitted to me about switching from Democrat to Republican and I can see their point of view and I respect their honesty.
To place this insight or revelation in my mind in a way that I can understand it, I recall my men friends who have always poohpoohed my harping on green issues and global warming discussions. A majority of my men friends have expressed that while they understand that individuals should recycle, use less packaging, re-use and buy electric cars, they also admit they like their conveniences and comforts much more than to change the way they do anything, let alone invest in change. I have always understood why men have voted for their personal gain. We are short-sighted as bunch, and we don’t let go of our comfort habits until which time as we are forced to.
But I have been surprised to hear women changing the way they vote, not out of personal gain or laziness, but out of ‘sound’ economic self preservation. Again, I respect my women clients for their up-front reasons to switch. I get it.
But have we become a society where both men and women have given up on the world, the environment, and the rights of the younger people who will out-live us and have to deal with the mess we have left behind?
I offer nothing more but an invitation for further the discussion on this issue on this day of voting in the United States of America. In discussion, we just might learn a lot more from each other, both men and women.
You can probably tell that I am a Democrat by social issues standards and yet I stand by a fiscally responsible government who also can make these issues part of the business of government. Please don’t let my political views keep us from talking to each other intelligently.