Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney - WOMEN

ChrisDeanna Sep 2012

Dear Mrs. Romney:

I work very hard in my daily life to assume the best about people. So the only thing I am going to assume about you is that you are probably a pretty nice person with a good heart. I like to make this global assumption without the taint of the opinions of others.

And I would appreciate it if you would stop assuming things about me.

I am not a part of the amorphous American female collective you spoke of last night. In fact, I take great offense to being lumped together with the female stereotype you presented.

I am not the woman you described, nor are any of my female friends.I am much, much more.Allow me to introduce myself.I am a member of the middle class, but I haven’t always been. I have been teaching middle school since I graduated from college. My first job paid $1300 a month. For seven years I supplemented my income by working evenings and weekends at a movie theater and a retail store. This was to pay my rent and my car payment and buy a few groceries.After seventeen years as a teacher, I have earned a Master’s degree, an Education Specialist degree and an administrative license. I am happily married with two elementary-age kids. My husband and I are both educators, and there is still no money left at the end of the month. We continue to live paycheck to paycheck.That’s what two teachers with two kids do.

We don’t have a housekeeper or a nanny. We don’t have personal assistants. All our limited disposable funds go towards riding and violin lessons, karate class, field trips, and school clothes for the kids. If we need new clothes, we wait for clearance sales and shop at discount stores. If one of the kids wants to add an enrichment activity to their schedule, we juggle our finances to decide what we can give up.

We have debt and student loans that impede our financial progress, both of which have accrued over the years as we have tried to live pretty average everyday lives. When it’s time for our kids to go to college, let’s hope they qualify for scholarships; “shopping around” for a more affordable option would mean no higher education for our kids. Period.

Disposable income for this middle class family is a joke.

But I digress. I am a woman, and you don’t know the first thing about me. When you suggest that it’s a “woman’s lot” to work all day then come home and cater to her husband and kids, and that you hear my voice, my blood boils.

You may hear my voice and “love you women,” but you are certainly not listening.

Your life does not resemble mine in any way. Yes, you have five children and a debilitating illness. But you also have the monetary resources to finance support systems. I believe wholeheartedly that being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job, but you have no idea what it is like to be that parent and work a second, or even a third job at the same time to make ends meet.

So please refrain from claiming allegiance with me, from suggesting that you are an example of “every woman.” That claim is a lie.

Have you ever bounced a check because you had to put gas in your car?

Have you ever been forced to calculate the cost of your groceries as you shop to be sure you’re not over-budget?

Have you ever told one of your children that they can have new shoes that fit…after payday?

Welcome to the reality of this woman.

And I am incredibly lucky.

I have a job, as does my extremely supportive husband. We have two sets of grandparents a stone’s throw away who take care of our kids when they’re sick or they have days off of school so we don’t have to miss work. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, and we have each other.

I can’t imagine surviving under alternate conditions. What about the single woman who spends fully half of her paycheck on childcare? What about the woman who is struck with Cancer but ignores her medical needs in order to put food on the table for her family? What about the woman who forfeited higher education to raise a child and now has no skills to find a job? What about the woman who lives in a shelter with her children in order to escape an abusive partner or as a result of an eviction?

Shopping at Costco does not level this playing field.

So I take exception to your statement that all women share the same lot in life.

If you want to make this claim, if you want to try to convince me that we are more similar than different, you’re going to have to spend a week or so walking in my $15 Payless clearance shoes.

You are not every woman. You are an incredibly privileged, elite, distorted version of American womanhood, and you have no idea how the other 99% live.

As your husband and his party try to control my body, my choices, my well-being, please remember that you and your party will never speak for me.

How dare you even try.

- Cathy Walker-Gilman

liminal state
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN

Carol Y.
Up for more exposure 

I'll echo liminal state--Amen!
I can't stand to see that woman or hear her voice. Many times I have judged the character of the man running for president by the woman he is married to--this woman has NO CLUE.

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Wow! I hope this gets a wide publication?
Like in the New York Times?

Great letter - who is Cathy Walker-Gilman?
sorry to be so dense

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Ann Romney's highest moment with Mitt was the high school dance. Doesn't that say a lot? How about his reaction when she told him she had MS? How about the HOly Spirit giving them stock tips?

She thinks the pain of being forced to sell a stock you love equates to our familiar choice of whether to pay Peter or Paul.

And she "put her life on the line" to have babies? An easier decision when the Mayo Clinic has your back. Try doing it with no health insurance.

In her world, "choice" means which thoroughbred colt they should buy to race in the Kentucky Derby. Such a big decision.

She loves women? Didn't she leave out the (to hire)? Nannies, maids, hairstylists, yeah, can't live without 'em.

Has Ann ever been Relief Society president?

I'll bet not.


Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Amen! That speech made me think I was at a stake conference or in RS. If anything, it just shows how out of touch the Romney's are as they don't get what most women deal with, as most of us can never afford maids, personal assistants, or nannies. She has never had to worry about how to pay the mortgage and other basic bills after her husband has been laid off, as her husband was the one laying off employees. She never had to worry about medical bills when the insurance company refused to pay for her MS as it is a preexisting condition.
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Great letter - thanks for sharing it. Really, excellent.

As someone who just jumped through the multiple flaming, expensive hoops of HIPAA eligibility in order to force an insurance company to sell me a ruinously expensive individual policy that would not exclude me for pre-existing conditions (one of which happens to be MS), I can safely say that every time someone tells me about Ann Romney's MS I want to blow something up. Like she's ever had to worry about how to pay for her MRIs, treatments, medications or doctor's bills.

On another note, I will admit the second I found out she has MS I wondered why the hell her husband is running for POTUS. It's generally well accepted that stress can greatly worsen MS. I guess campaigning for leader of the free world doesn't qualify as "stress" in Mittens' book.

Regardless of her public or private claims of being 500% behind him, what else would we expect given what the Morg demands from women: unquestioning support of the penishood holders at all times. Of course she's supporting him and of course he's too narcissistic and dense to give some serious thought to how all of this, whether he wins or not (or especially if he does), might adversely affect her MS.

He might get a massive reality check if she has a truly serious flare, rather than the tingling, numbness and dizziness she had in the spring. I share her fear - I've had that stuff too, and it can herald the approach of mobility, weakness, and vision issues. It is terrifying. Why are they taking the risk!?!

Don't get me wrong: I am in no way hoping or wishing her MS gets worse. As a fellow MSer, I wish her well as far as her health goes. But the financial resources she seems to take for granted in coping with her MS, and the seeming callousness of her spouse ("Honey, I don't care how much you support my running for President, we have all we could ever need, and more, and you are more important. I won't do it!"), combined with her "good little wife and mother" persona make me angry.

Topping. Her little speech nearly had steam coming out of my ears.
A little glass of wine helped soothe my ruffled feathers, as did some choice epithets directed at the TV, such as she's probably never had directed at her before, at least to her face.

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Haaaaallelujah to this! This needs to be published in every major media outlet somehow.

Suckit Ann....you are clueless.

Cathy Walker-Gilman is a friend of a friend of mine.
It does not matter to me if she is famous or not, what she wrote is dead-on!
CA girl
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
I don't know ... nothing bugs me more than Mitt and Ann's B.S. claims of living in a basement apartment making do on "nothing." They had a trust fund and rich, supportive parents they could fall back on. That's not living on nothing. That's playing poor because it's stylish to be a struggling student at BYU. When DH and I were first married, I had a very small trust fund. We lived like the Romney's did, trying to spend as little as possible while DH was in school, in order to have some savings when he graduated. Unfortunately, unlike the Romneys, our money ran out. Living on nothing when you have no money to fall back on is NOT the same as trying to live on nothing, knowing you could break into that trust fund if you had to. I know, because I've done both. And I STILL wouldn't presume to relate because even when we were broke and running up bills, my parents were still there to call on if there was an emergency. After DD was born, we were slammed with some big hospital bills we weren't expecting. We would never have asked my parents for help and decided to roll up our sleeves and work to pay it off. But my dad intervened and sent us a check for the amount. Again, there is a difference between playing poor but having a secret stash, being poor with people you can count on to help you keep your head above water in an emergency, and really, truly being on your own, struggling to keep hearth and home together. I don't like how the Romneys played poor the way children played house and now want to use that experience to score compassion points.

But how do we win the culture war between the have and have nots if there is so much hostility? Ann is trying in her clueless way to understand and relate. This article is an us v. them mentality and how does that help? If we can't make the "haves" understand what it's like to be a "have not", if we always make them feel like we think they are the enemy, what is gained? I guess what I'm saying is that I understand how irritating Ann's presumption can be but it's better to educate her than attack her if you really want to solve the problem.

ambivalent exmo
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
I just cut & pasted her letter on my Facebook page.
seriously, I about had an aneurism when I read Ann rob-meys words.
The author of this letter is absolutely correct.

Is she really though? Or is she just saying what she thinks people want to hear? I know what you're saying, but I have my doubts with her. I do not believe she is grounded or sincere in anything she says. I really do think she is just blowing smoke to get her husband elected and to fulfill the mormon dream/white horse prophecy. That's just my opinion though. I realize it comes across as being bitter, but that's just how I see it. I appreciate your comments though because others may agree with you and feel differently about her than I do. :) I truly think that she 100% believes that she is better than everyone else and could seriously give a flying f*ck about anyone that she considers to be "beneath" her.

I think she is enjoying him running as much as he is
which is why they are ignoring the issues of MS and going for it. She is as much a narcissist as he is, if not more.

I was rather surprised to read "In Sacred Loneliness" and find out how much INTO being an elite mormon some of BY's wives were. They didn't care if they shared him--because they were ELITE.

Ann loves being elite. I think she is enjoying this more than he is--all the attention.

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
This letter was posted in a blog written by a friend of Cathy Walker-Gilman called "Think Banned Thoughts" that went viral over the weekend. Apparently the blogger got a ton of feedback, and some of it was very negative, calling her jealous, hateful, etc. Her subsequent post, which I think is just as good, can be found here:

Re: Cathy Walker-Gilman is a friend of a friend of mine.
ChrisDeanna Wrote:
> It does not matter to me if she is famous or not,
> what she wrote is dead-on!

I agree totally!

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Ann said, “I am not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there is a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better.”

Bullshit. How empowering is that? That we are automatically dealt the @#$%& end of the stick?

Ann, we women can instead be encouraged to make smart decisions, like birth control and sex education for example, to make sure we have less of a chance to be bearers of certain burdens (unplanned kids) that put women at a much steeper disadvantage than men.

bona dea
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
I didn't have any stocks to sell when I was in college, Neither did my widowed mother. We also didn't have anything else we could sell such as silver, jewelry, an extra home or a car. Insteadd I had a scholarship, grants,loans and part time jobs. I too lived in basement apartments, ate cheap food and walked and took the bus because I had no car.What I didn't do is get married and have kids I couldn't afford while I was still in college. That helped.
Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN

From what I have observed and read, BOTH Romneys are incapable of considering "women" to be full human beings. There is always an "of course, needless to say" kind of subtext to everything either one of them says which indentifies women as "the other"--in the way that they also, quite obviously, believe that our non-white ethnic groups and our non-Christian religious groups are "the other." To each of them, white women are "the other," too.

Ann Romney has been explicit in her deep belief that women are not interested in the economy or any other serious national issue. She (and her husband, who I'm coming to believe is not actually very intelligent, certainly not in the ways that presidents are required to be) evidently both operate on the assumption that American women as a group must be authoritatively lectured from "on high" regarding the grown-up importance of these issues or else female voters will never take their collective silly little heads out of the nation's ovens where, evidently, each American woman's current batch of chocolate chip cookies is being baked.

The offensive, patronizing attitude of both Romneys is sickening, and (in my own personal opinion) they--as human beings, and also as citizens of this country--are constantly being ever more revealed as sickening too.

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
I love the "you're just jealous!" rebuttals. Worked well in 6th grade.

I grew up very poor. Was poor as a college student. Poor as a young married. But as the years went on we gradually became middle class.

Now we are part of the 1%. We live simply, support Obama,volunteer, give to local charities. But you know what? The searing memories of decades-long poverty sometimes escape me. As I was afraid they would.

I have to consciously recall the desperastion, the fear, the feeling of doing without that sometimes meant hunger from inadequate food, sometimes meant pain from needed health or dental care, and sometimes meant shivering in the cold from lack of heating oil or bus fare.

Ann can't say she's forgotten because she's never lived it. But for me, somebody who was convinced my years of desperation were tatooed on my psyche, relaxes into her now normal and forgets.

The poor are often about $100 from falling down a chute. Because poverty is like lines of dominoes. You knock down the first one (say,starter on car is broken) and it quickly becomes you had to find ride to work and it made you late, so you're docked several hours which means you don't have the whole electric bill now because the used starter ate up part.

Now you have to make whatever is in the kitchen last another week because if the electric bill is late there will be a fine and then you'll have to choose bewteen groceries and your child's asthma medication...

Are the rich envied? Sometimes. Are the poor villified? Overwhelmingly. I am the same person I was then, but I no longer get the contempt I did then. We see the poor and have an unsettling feeling. If I work hard, finish school, obey God and the law, I'll NEVER be like that lady at the rainy bus stop with the coughing kids.

It's like when we hear of someone our age with cancer and we go through the rolodex of reasons why Sam got that disease but we won't: Sam smoked, he was a couch potato, he worked with asbestos, he lived near the power plant...

With poverty we like to think we are not poor or could ever be, because of all of our delightful choices. But in truth, some people were born of privilege and even if they choose to live off the grid, live among the natives of the Congo or join an ascetic cult, the safety net will always hoist them high.

Imagine if Ann had told the truth: "I can't relate to most of you because I've never had your struggles financially. To pretend so would be mendacious. Also, no matter how hard you work or how many businesses you start, chances are you'll never be wealthy either. Well, not wealthy like my husband and me.
"Those entitlement you hate because it means welfare queens and lazy bums may be the only thing, one day, that keeps you alive.
"But you want pie-in-the-sky and platitudes, so instead let me talk in samplers..."


Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
In those trying times in the basement young Mittens was down to his last $60,000 of stock, which his father had gifted to him. He had to sell it and live on that, in 1970. I guess that would be about $300,000 now...

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
Come to think about it... Ann Romney has been more consistent on her bizarre feelings than Mitt has been about his.

She is an ass, but at least she a consistent ass...

seems like just a school teacher who had a problem
with Ann Romney speech...or so it seems to me!

Just posted this on facebook

MS and preganancy...to wit: "life on the line"...
Effects of MS on Fertility

"There is no evidence that MS impairs fertility or leads to an increased number of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths or congenital malformations. Several studies of large numbers of women have repeatedly demonstrated that pregnancy, labor, delivery and the incidence of fetal complications are no different in women who have MS than in control groups without the disease."

oops...guess my mom who had 4 miscarriages...and no births...put her life on the line too! Thanks Mom!!

Just adopted! :)

Re: Written by Cathy Walker-Gilman to Mrs. Romney, RE: WOMEN
By way of introduction, I am a nevermo, but nor am I a troll/spammer/stalker, and this my first post. I've been following this forum for a few months as a way to further understand my TBM boss' mindset. And believe me, I've learned *a LOT* towards that end. But this thread could very well be the most eloquent expression of just how out of touch this TBM family is with women in particular, and the public in general.

It scares me to the core to think that this man could be elected POTUS, and what that means for our country. (Hope I don't get banned on my first post for voicing my political leanings!)

Thank you Ms. Walker-Gilman for your excellent expose', and to all the rest for for your informed responses to this thread, and the many others I have read.

I hope Ms. Walker-Gilman and others have the courage to reprint this (with permission) in the editorials of your local papers.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"