Once upon a time, I dreamed of doing something big. Big. BIG.
As a kid, I never missed School House Rock and my favorites were always the grammar and civics ditties. As a political science undergraduate, I figured I'd wind up in a professional setting that mixed my love for writing and politics with my growing interest in the law.
Maybe I'd start out in a government agency. Maybe I'd work as a lobbyist or an analyst. Maybe even...
But, you know, it never happened. Life got in the way. I listened to the word "No" way too many times. I heard it from myself and those around me. I let my disillusionment about the state of partisan politics override the desire to help effectuate change. At times, I shortchanged my own goals. I moved in different professional directions. And that was that.
Most of the time, I'm perfectly fine with the choices I've made. But, now and again, I wonder how it would have been if I'd ignored those voices. I wonder how it would have been if I'd had more faith in my dreams, and if I'd worked harder to make them a reality. It's one of those games you can't stop yourself from playing.
The advice I wish I'd had then? "Don't listen. Do."Kiley Lane Parker, a Louisville-based filmmaker, recently filmed a documentary called Raising Ms. President which addresses the reasons why more United States women aren't involved in the political arena. It's a non-partisan look at the need for more female voices in American politics.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this film. I'm at once fascinated and frustrated by the idea that girls and women don't aspire to political roles because they consider themselves under-qualified or are confused by the process. In an era in which American women are more likely than men to hold both undergraduate and graduate degrees (source: The Women in America report, whitehouse.gov), this mode of thinking is simply incomprehensible. One of the film's key ideas is that, from a neurological perspective, women and men are "hard-wired" for ambition on a very similar level -- women's attitudes on their own role in politics often arise from societal and cultural influences. Too often, girls listen to the voices. They internalize the "nos."
It is so important that there are voices out there to counterbalance the "nos." Ms. Parker intends to use Raising Ms. President to do just that. The film is designed for television, but there are a few steps that must be undertaken before it ultimately arrives there.
Raising Ms. President is in its final stages of completion. The work is done, and now Ms. Parker needs to undertake the process of editing, polishing, and securing footage rights. This is, apparently, one of the most expensive parts of making a film. The Raising Ms. President project also hopes to produce educational materials to help the film become a teaching tool for schools and community organizations. Of course, that takes money. And that is where we all can help.
Raising Ms. President has undertaken a Kickstarter campaign to help fund these final processes. For as little as $15, you can see your name in the credits of the film. There are donation levels that lead to all sorts of schwag levels. But, most importantly, there is the chance to be the voice of "yes." Please consider contributing today.