Bring on the matriarchy

Men have been messing up this planet from the beginning, in the most stereotypically male ways. We fight, we’re more competitive than compassionate, we don’t clean up our messes, and we’re not good listeners. As a result, the world is still plagued by war, poverty, environmental degradation and a failure to appreciate the perspectives of others.

Just look around the world, and it’s the men in charge who are causing all the problems, from George Bush duking it out with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the public plundering and exploitation by X-chromosome corporate CEOs.

So, in the interest of experimentation in the name of progress, Bites believes it’s time to let women run things for a while. They certainly couldn’t do worse than the guys have done, and here are a few places to start, from the international down to the local:

Speak it: This year’s Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Perspectives 2002 speakers’ forum is notable for the high levels of estrogen at the top of the card. Rather than leading off with testosterone-heavy guys like Henry Kissinger or Arnold Schwarzenegger—two speakers from last year—the headliners of this week’s installment are former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto.

That’s serious progress for an organization dominated by rich and powerful males. To be fair, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice spoke a couple years ago down ticket, but the way she’s been war-mongering over the Iraq issue, Bites suspects a fairly high level of testosterone is surging through her veins.

Nobody can doubt that Bhutto is tough, particularly as she now defies threats of arrest from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and runs for a seat in the Pakistani Parliament from her place of forced exile in London. But she’s all woman, to be sure, dubbed “the world’s most powerful woman” by the Times of London magazine.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration is strongly supporting Musharraf, even as he dismantles democracy in a country he seized by coup d’etat. But Bhutto has Bites’ vote not just to return to power in her country, but also to lead the United Nations eventually as it tries to rein in U.S. unilateralism.

None of the above: Californians are uniformly unhappy with their choices for governor, with two major-party choices who epitomize all the worst male traits, and nothing but males in the minor parties. It’s too bad, too, because there are all kinds of great alternatives in the Golden State.

So, if you’re looking for good write-in candidates, here are a few suggestions: actresses Susan Sarandon and Jamie Lee Curtis; legislators Carole Migden, Dede Alpert, Sheila Kuehl, Barbara Lee and Dianne Feinstein; business executives Carly Fiorina and Wendy Greuel; columnists Arianna Huffington and Laurel Wellman; and Sharon Davis, Kerry Mazzoni and Susan Kennedy, respectively Gray Davis’ wife, secretary of education and deputy chief of staff.

Sure, they won’t win, but you’ll feel better about your vote.

Great expectations: Campaigning is exhausting for any serious candidate, even in local races. But getting out there in the last couple months of a pregnancy? It’s not deterring Folsom City Council candidate Stephanie Jantzen, who got the news that she was preggers two weeks after she announced her candidacy.

“I just looked at my doctor and said, ‘Well, how perfect is that? I couldn’t have planned it any better.’” Jantzen, a former chief of staff to county supervisor Roger Niello, also has managed Assembly and Senate races and was ready to put off her first bid for public office in favor of her first child.

But, after talking to her husband, Jantzen decided to do both. Turns out it isn’t so hard, Jantzen says, except for getting out and knocking on doors. “Being due in two months, I’m finding out that walking precincts makes you really tired.” Jantzen says she’s working full time on the campaign and spending the rest of her time with her feet up.

“I figure if I actually give birth on Election Day, and I go into labor in the evening, it’ll be perfect because I can watch the election results on television while I’m pushing,” Jantzen muses. “That’ll be my focal point.”