An Open Letter to Geraldine Ferraro

By Barbara Baum Levine, Esq.

Dear Geraldine:

I hope you are looking down from your well-earned place in Heaven. This November we may actually, and finally, elect a woman as Vice President of the United States! It has certainly been a long, long time coming.

You and I first met in 1984 at a fundraiser in Great Neck, New York, for your Vice-Presidential run. I remember being so impressed with your credentials, your poise, and your humanity. You inspired me! Five years later you attended a fundraiser for my campaign as a candidate for county-wide office. We had so much in common. We were children of immigrants who worked our way through school. We were female lawyers at a time when being so was a daily struggle for acceptance and recognition. Women juggling work, home, children. Geraldine, we have a true sister in Kamala Harris. She too is a child of immigrants. She too knows what it is like to juggle work, home, and children. She has had the added burden of doing so as a woman of color! Most importantly, like you, she has credentials, poise, and humanity. I know you would find it almost impossible to believe that 36 years have passed since your candidacy and we have yet to elect a woman as President or Vice President.

The failure to elevate women into higher office has certainly not been for lack of trying:

The first woman to run for President was Victoria Woodhull in 1873. She was followed by Belva Lockwood, whose running mate was Marietta Snow–the first woman to run for Vice President. Lucretia Coffin Mott was the first woman to receive votes at a national convention in 1848.

One hundred and sixteen years later, Margaret Chase Smith became the first female candidate for a major party’s nomination in 1964. In 1968, Charlene Mitchell, running for the Communist Party, was the first African-American woman to run for President and the first woman to receive valid votes in a general election.

In 1972, the Democrats finally saw an African-American female candidate: Shirley Chisholm! She won the New Jersey primary, the first woman and African-American to do so. You know what happened in 1984!

In 1988, Leonora Fulani was the first woman to achieve ballot access in all 50 states. We then had to wait 28 years for Hillary Clinton! I’m sure you watched that one with great empathy. We then waited 20 years for Sarah Palin and, in 2016, I’m sure you watched Hillary Clinton with great empathy.

Geraldine, the people of this country are in a very bad way. We have a President who cares nothing for the welfare or safety of its citizens. We are suffering from a worldwide pandemic of catastrophic proportions. The failure of the current administration to address this in any appropriate way has led to a destruction of our economy and massive job loss, not to mention the incredible number of Americans–over 175,000!–who have needlessly died. Worst of all, there is a total breakdown of respect for people with different points of view.

Geraldine, the people of this country are in a very bad way. We have a President who cares nothing for the welfare or safety of its citizens. We are suffering from a worldwide pandemic of catastrophic proportions. The failure of the current administration to address this in any appropriate way has led to a destruction of our economy and massive job loss, not to mention the incredible number of Americans–over 175,000!–who have needlessly died. Worst of all, there is a total breakdown of respect for people with different points of view. When you were a member of the House, I know you understood compromise, which has become unacceptable in Congress! Members of opposing parties can no longer even talk to one another without fear of repercussions.

This November, despite the pandemic, the economy, and the daily obstacles being tossed out by the President-who-would-be-King, we have a real opportunity to elect a President who cares about our country and knows what is needed to put it back on track, and a Vice President who has the credentials, the poise, the humanity to join him in this epic battle. And yes, finally, we may actually achieve what you and the other women listed set out to do: shatter the glass ceiling, elect a woman as Vice President!

Geraldine, I know you are watching!

Your sister-in-arms,

Barbara Baum Levine, Esq.



Categories: elections, Issues, Local, National, politics

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