Mad Men: a Primer in Tokenism for Politics in the Peach State

Sunday night’s Mad Men series finale ended with a nod to history’s ever-evolving gender revolution.  Peggy got her man and her job and Joan made a choice I’ve had to make a few times over: career over the doting s.o.   In between the cigarette smoke and chauvinism, the ladies took their licks and realized their own ambitions-some that were bigger than the commitment of marriage.  As their characters represented paving the way for women in the workplace, the show did (IMHO) a decent job of recognizing their struggle in the 60s.  Isolated in the workplace, dealing with the tension of other women trying to clip their wings and still yet aspiring to marriage and family, these female characters represented the tokenism that exemplifies any transition in an organization.  I would also say the show is a great primer on politics in the Peach State, only now the transition has moved beyond just women, but thanks to Mansell McCord, it includes openly gay men in the GOP.

Don Draper quote

Mansell and I know one another through the Republican Leadership for Georgia.  While I do not party-affiliate, I do play in the party circles and Mansell is the ring-leader for this particular one.  While he has frustrated me and other alumni because of his lack of usage of Facebook, text messages, etc., I admire Mansell as an intelligent attorney, erudite individual, and someone who has long toiled (and I do mean TOILED) in GOP politics in the South since buck was a calf.  He worked with one of my girlfriend’s GRANDMOTHERS in Mississippi in the GOP in the 70s.  He is no newcomer to party politics and I would assert was more the “establishment” candidate than his competitor for treasurer.  He is more than tested, experienced, and educated than many in this state on party practices, so the question of his capability simply does not exist.  Moreover, he is a private man who while is well versed in history, the arts, and the party rules he earned his seat at the table and would not even think of calling attention to himself.

Yet the glaring question of his token appointment to party leadership in accordance to the states’ changing perspective on homosexuality is worthy of noting-as is Senator Josh McKoon’s vocal support of his candidacy.

to·ken·ism

ˈtōkəˌnizəm/

noun

  1. the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

 

It is also worthy of noting though that this signifies the Republican Party in Georgia is moving (albeit glacially) forward to accept the reality of the world- voters are no longer only white, middle aged, straight, property owning men.  While this has traditionally been the base of the GOP, as property, wealth, and work is possessed by other groups, it is incredibly encouraging to see that others are beginning to be welcomed into the inner circle.  It seems the tide is turning, and I hope will gain steam as it goes.  It is my hope, for Georgia and for the GOP that the Georgia Republican Party will move beyond the token leadership movements they’ve made in the last few years (Sue Everhart, anyone?) and to welcome the person who is the best qualified for the position.  May this be the beginning of accolades based on merit, and by consequence, acceptance as well.

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