Ahlin: The Kingdom's Commission

Once upon a time there was a beloved kingdom, Ograf. Unlike many kingdoms ruled by despots-benevolent or otherwise-this kingdom elected its government. Citizens named their elected group the "city commission," a body to be made up of city fathers...

Once upon a time there was a beloved kingdom, Ograf. Unlike many kingdoms ruled by despots-benevolent or otherwise-this kingdom elected its government. Citizens named their elected group the "city commission," a body to be made up of city fathers and mothers who wisely would see to the governmental needs of the kingdom. Then one day an election was held that resulted in a grave problem: simply put, not one city mother was elected to the commission, only city fathers.

When this unfortunate event transpired, citizens expressed shock (shock!) that such a thing could happen. Oh, they acknowledged that never-ever had a city commission been elected with a majority of women; yet, for years there always had been at least one city mother. (Frankly, following the strange election, they particularly wondered how their kingdom could be so different from their sister kingdom across the river, Daehroom, which had more city mothers than city fathers.)

What to do; what to do?

Goodness knows the kingdom was at least 50 percent female. Also, women leaders routinely were elected to the school board and the park board. Women seemed to be everywhere managing nonprofit organizations and businesses. In fact, hands-on and hearts full, women were known for working hard to make Ograf the best place to live on this brilliant celestial orb.

There was much grousing about the situation as people realized the all-male commission made the kingdom look like a throwback to Neanderthal times when Mad Men ruled Madison Avenue (and everything else?). Sadly, some citizens suggested it was women's own fault they didn't get elected. Women who ran were "inexperienced" or "not in the pipeline" or they "lacked charisma" or they "didn't look like a commissioner." This foolish mindset became known as, "Sure I'll vote for a woman, just not that woman-or that woman or that woman or that woman..."

But most people blamed the system, which had resulted in commissioners being elected with less than 25 percent of the vote (even less than 15 percent). The truth is, all citizenry seemed to agree something had to happen so that a true majority of the voting public was electing leaders. (Note: all citizenry that is, except the seated commissioners who declined addressing the problem.) A grass-roots group sprang up, promising a ballot measure of something called "approval voting." Others insisted ranked voting, runoffs, or a ward system would make more sense.

Change was afoot but not ahead.

And so another election was to be held in the kingdom, this time with three women seeking two spots on the kingdom's commission. Two of the women running served on the city commission previously with stellar records, amassing wisdom and valuable experience in the process. Ograf prospered. Both also served on the school board with distinction. The third woman was bright, strong, and a go-getter.

As the Town Crier hollered, "Hear ye, hear ye, check out their websites and vote. Three dynamic women: choose two."

Ahlin writes a Sunday column for The Forum. Email janeahlin@yahoo.com