Olives, Trucksters and Women in Government

In our family culture, we have a tradition we call Family Fun Days. The only rules for FFDs are that we spend them together, that we do something fun and that we try to spend as little money as possible. Oh, and it’s always my goal to have us visit something random.

Basically, think Clark Griswold without the family truckster, Aunt Edna or Wallyworld.

Recent Family Fun Days have seen us visiting the American Graffiti monument, the world’s largest bulldozer, the world’s largest box of raisins and a collection of Swedish dala horses.

Now, don’t you wish you were a Dixon?!?

Several years ago, our FFD adventures took us to Lindsay, CA. You may never have heard of Lindsay, but you might well have eaten its primary export. You see, Lindsay is California’s olive capitol. In fact, Lindsay is home to the world’s largest olive.

Not kidding. Here’s photographic evidence:

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Yesterday, in the paper, I noticed something else about Lindsay, CA:

The Lindsay City Council is majority women.

This is noteworthy on several levels.

First, because it could be a first here in the central valley. From this article: “it’s uncertain, but Lindsay’s council may have been the first in the central San Joaquin Valley to achieve the status of a majority of women.”

It’s also noteworthy more broadly. Again, according to the article, in our state, “until the November election, 12% of the 482 cities in California had city councils that have a majority of women members, according to the Women’s Caucus of the League of California Cities.”

Further, it’s also out of the norm nationwide. In my just submitted DMiss paper, I cited this fact sheet out of Rutgers University about women in government in 2014. It notes that women hold only 18.7% of the seats in the US congress, only 22.6% of statewide elective executive positions, and only 24.3% of state legislative seats.

Finally, from a global perspective, the Inter-Parlimenary Union notes that in 2014 the United States ranks 83rd in terms of women’s participation in parliament (data here). For those of you scoring at home, that puts us behind places like Rwanda (the leader), Cuba, Nicaragua and Serbia.

So, what’s the bottom line? Tragically, when it comes to U.S. politics, Tertullian continues to have his way in our country’s mayor’s offices, statehouses, and on capitol hill. It’s like he’s having his own perpetual Family Fun Day.

Except that evidently he doesn’t like olives…

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