Many years ago, as an ambitious young woman eager to make my mark, I applied for a government position and took the Civil Service Test. Out of hundreds of candidates, I had one of the top three scores and got the job. I was thrilled. My job was to do legal research for the county attorney and his staff of attorneys. The job could have been a great stepping stone for a career in politics or law.
But behind the scenes, things were not so great. People would sneer and whisper things like, "I wonder who she had to sleep with to get that job." Or they would make up nasty rumors to mar my reputation for the sheer fun of it. I ignored the "happily" married men constantly hitting on me. My disillusion grew with each passing day. Did anyone have any values at all? This was in the early '80s, and the way "attractive" women were treated was, for the most part, despicable. After awhile, I lost my stomach for politics altogether, so I left that smarmy world to open a business.
I thought maybe over the years, things had improved for women in politics. But from the way governor hopeful Nikki Haley has been treated by her own party, it reminds me of the old adage, "The more things change, the more things stay the same." How many brilliant leaders have we lost because of the shameful way women are treated? Jake Knotts and others like him should be unceremoniously forced to resign. South Carolina needs to stop breeding mediocrity.
If the GOP can command a higher standard of courtesy and respect from their own party members, maybe more qualified candidates from both genders will come to the table, ready to fight the good fight.
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The writer lives in Sunset Beach, N.C.