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Why don’t we have equal representation?

Updated: May 17, 2019

The landmark law in Alabama challenging Roe v Wade has been signed by Governor Kay Ivey, a woman. The Governor’s gender wouldn’t usually be important. But its become important because some have complained that the 25 votes of the state senators who approved of the Human Life Protection Act were all men, and we need equal representation across all walks of life—including elected officials.

The BBC reports “The few women who spoke on the floor were quick to highlight a key fact: this decision about women’s bodies was being made almost entirely by men.”

Here are the facts: There are 35 members representing the districts of Alabama. Each district contains at least 127,140 citizens. 25 Republican men voted “Yay.” Six Democrats voted “Nay.” Four of them were men and two were women. One Democrat woman was absent while another democrat woman abstained. That makes 4 women in total in Alabama’s senate to 31 men. 27 Republicans to eight Democrats.

Here are three extremely sticky points for the complainers;

1. Aren’t we past those dark days when people were judged by their gender? Its 2019! Aren’t we supposed to look past people’s gender to see their competency? It’s not supposed to matter now if you’re a man or woman, so long as you can do the job well.

2. Senators are not there to represent their gender, they are there to represent the ideas of the (male and female) constituents who voted for them. In that way—the most important way—we do have equal representation, and as such, the elected officials can be any gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. So long as they advocate the policies of the diverse range of people who voted for them, none of the group identities above should count either for or against them. Because they don’t represent their group identities—they represent all the citizens who put them forward in the first place and trusted them with the office and responsibilities the hold.

3. If we’re supposed to have equal representation, it makes no sense to arbitrarily select gender and stop there. Why not have equal numbers of black and white? Old and young? Citizen and non-citizen? Left-handed and right-handed? All of the above. One could have just as rationally lamented the inequality of Democrat and Republican in the senate. But that’s equality-of-outcome for you—the end result is you no longer have democratic representation of the voters that supported your policies—you have tyranny.

If you don’t like the result of the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, then hold the senators who voted “Yay” accountable by not voting for them in the next election. If you want to change things, vote for someone who will agree with your point of view, or failing that, nominate yourself for office. If you want to keep eating sour grapes, go for it, but don’t say the system is unfair because it does’t represent x, y, or z. The only people it doesn’t represent are the people who didn’t vote.


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