As two women who have done extensive public speaking, we know that telling one's life story is important for initial credibility. And, certainly, all the contenders for president and vice- president have compelling stories. Yet we need to look beyond these stories and ask, "What's your story line for America?"
This election is not about their life stories from the past. Instead, it is about the life stories you and your children will live out in the future.
Before you vote on what story you want your family to live, here is a comparison of the candidates' positions on some issues of urgent concern to women:
• Taxes: Despite the distortions from opponents' ads, the Obama/Biden team will lower taxes for the middle 95 percent of working families. The McCain/Palin team, on the other hand, will continue the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent of Americans.
• Equal pay for equal work: Senator Obama co-sponsored legislation to overturn a Supreme Court decision making it more difficult for women to challenge pay discrimination. Sen. McCain opposed the same legislation, calling it "a great burden on business."
• Child care and child protection: While in the Illinois Legislature, Senator Obama helped to dramatically expand day-care services and passed legislation to ensure young children are taught how to protect themselves against sexual predators. Senator McCain has outrageously distorted the facts of this accomplishment in a new ad that tells voters that Sen. Obama "wanted to teach 5-year-olds about sex" before they could read.
• Violence against women: Senator Obama voted for funding to prevent domestic violence and abuse. Sen. McCain has voted against all such programs, including a grant to aid children who have witnessed family violence.
• Reproductive choice: Senator Obama says it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. While in the Illinois Legislature, he was the chief sponsor of a bill requiring that hospitals providing emergency services for sexual assault victims also give them medically accurate information about emergency contraception. Sen. McCain brags about his zero percent rating on pro-choice issues. According to a Sept. 21 New York Times editorial, "Mr. McCain, whose website proclaims his dedication to overturning Roe v. Wade, would appoint justices who could be expected to lead the charge to eliminate the right to abortion."
His running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has said that she would not support abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
The Constitution gives women the right to vote. Thousands of early 20th century women fought for, marched for, and went to jail for this right.
Your vote is also your choice. What life stories will you, your children, and your grandchildren live?