Before longtime women’s activist Gloria Steinem took the stage at the Mike Weinholtz for Governor campaign headquarters, the democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Kim Bowman, began to amplify the energy of the crowd.
Bowman is a Captain in the US Air Force Reserve assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s command where he serves as a military attorney. In addition, Bowman works at the University of Utah where he also obtained a degree in gender studies. This background, combined with Bowman’s leadership skills, was effective in rallying the crowd with the verbal energy typical of a campaign entering the home stretch. Weinholtz then followed to introduce Ms. Steinem, echoing themes of civic participation and social equality.
So, if ever there was a person to address gender issues and the patriarchy in Salt Lake City, there could be no one more qualified than Steinem, who represents the beginnings of progressive thought from a uniquely feminine point-of-view. Steinem rose to prominence as a public figure when the nation was just learning about names like Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown, and Germaine Greer. From a media family herself, Steinem was one of the founders of New York Magazine and Ms., the feminist journal, which made media history the year before the Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade. In those tumultuous years which included the national effort behind the Equal Rights Amendment, Steinem and Ms. Magazine had published first-person accounts of many women who had undergone abortions. None of that was the reason for her stop in Salt Lake City, just 18 days before the 2016 national election concludes.
“I’ve been here [in Utah] a lot of times,” said Steinem to a mid-day crowd of approximately two hundred of Utah’s faithful Democrats, “…but never before when [Utah] has been on the verge of becoming a two-party state.” The crowd, including several Democratic candidates on Utah’s ballot, went wild.
In recent years, Ms. Steinhem, now 82, has focused on equality rather than feminism and gender issues as her worldview. Her remarks on this date centered on the GOP’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, and how “real” Republicans could work with Democrats to restore a better democracy for the nation’s future. Describing Trump as a “phoney,” and commenting on him as a GOP candidate with media background and expertise rather than public service, Steinem added, “I would like to say, if there are Republicans setup with Trump here, (chuckles) that we welcome you and we understand that we may disagree on how to get to democracy, but we can get back to two parties that share the goal of democracy.”
Steinem has been around American political movements long enough to have a wide perspective on public policy. Because of this, she was encouraging people of all parties to vote. Her remarks were well-received by those who came to share a few moments that represented a milestone in Utah politics.
“If we work hard, some really good things can come out of this,” Steinem said.
She warmly told the Salt Lake City crowd that a diverse America would become a better nation when it refuses to put its people into categories on matters of public policy.
Editorial Note: Utah Political Capitol Editor In Chief, Curtis Haring, is the policy advisor on the Mike Weinholtz for Governor Campaign – He did not substantively contribute to this article.