“I don’t think that the way I responded to Mr. Limbaugh is what qualifies me for office.” That was Sandra Fluke’s response to Fusion’s Alicia Menendez’s question about whether our generation could continue to mandate personal disclosure as part of running for office.
Ms. Fluke, the 33-year-old candidate for California Senate said that for her, it is important “to get to know the person you’re going to have as your elected representative.” She also explained that while her interactions with the conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh, are not why she’s qualified to run, it does give her voters a concrete example of her character.
Sandra Fluke is not the only female politician to have had her personal life, her reproductive life to be exact, be part of a larger national conversation. In 2013 Texas Senator Wendy Davis catapulted into the national spotlight after filibustering for 11 hours straight to stop an anti-abortion bill–all while wearing her now infamous pink sneakers. Earlier this year, Davis revealed in her memoir the fact that she had two medical abortions. The Texas Senator is now running for Governor of the Lone Star State.
Both Sandra Fluke and Sen. Wendy Davis are fixtures in today’s political arena. Both women have experienced what Menendez describes as the “best and worst part of elected office.” Back in 2012 Fluke testified in front of Congress in favor of better access to contraceptives. Her testimony was not well received by many members on the right, and it led to the infamous moment when Rush Limbaugh called Ms. Fluke, a Georgetown Law student, a “slut.”
During an interview with Sen. Davis, Menendez told the gubernatorial candidate that she wonders if our generation will be dissuaded from running for office if we continue to mandate this level of personal disclosure. Both Davis and Fluke have accepted this demand for personal information as part of the job, with Davis explaining that, “if you’re fighting for something you believe in, it’s worth it. No matter how difficult the journey and I’ve certainly found that to be true for me.” She went on to tell Menendez that she is “willing to endure anything to give voice” to those she represents.
Would this level of personal disclosure discourage you from seeking public office, or would you just see it as part of the job?