I was suprised to see an email in my inbox today from Idaho Representative McGeachin (Rep. McGeachin is an anti-abortion Republican from Bonneville County, and I'm a pro-choice Democrat from Boise). Still, I'm always interested in what my legislators have to say. This particular email had a simple request, really. It asked me to vote online for a young Idaho woman for Miss America....hold on...MISS AMERICA!? They still have that archaic tradition?! Worse, Rep. McGeachin she sent this from her legislative email address. Of course I found this irresistible. I had to respond (and please give me props for holding back the snark--it was a challenge). Her email is below my note.
Representative McGeachin -
Thanks for your note! I'm not sure how I wound up on your list to support Ms. Davis's quest to be named Miss America, but I felt I should drop you a note in response.
I think it's teriffic that you support Idahoans, especially young Idahoans, in their endeavors. Supporting this particular endeavor, however, I think is a misstep.
Nationally, Idaho is sometimes seen as a backward and behind-the-times place. Likewise, the Miss America Pageant is seen as antiquated and old fashioned. Do we really need this kind of publicity?
While the pageant now calls itself a "scholarship pageant," it still heavily emphasizes physical appearance over actual skills, attributes and knowledge that would help make young women more likely to be successful today. Growing up, I found such events to be at best frivolous, and at worst, another reason to feel physically inadequate.
I don't quibble with your personal support of pageants. However, when you forward emails that support pageants from your legislative address, you imply state, and possibly even party support. As a Democrat and Idaho taxpayer, I surely hope our party and government don't support these outdated, backward-looking, dying traditions. I like to think we support our ambitious young women through scholarships won on the basis of their brains, hard work and skills, and not how good they look on television.
On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 10:16 AM, Janice McGeachin <JMcgeach (at) house (dot) idaho (dot) gov>
This is an exciting opportunity to help elect a beautiful, young Idahoan as the next Miss America.
Please take the time to view the pageant and cast your vote for Elise Davis Miss America.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 09:38:16 -0700
Subject: FW: Miss America : Countdown to the Crown : Elise Davis
Some of you may have heard that Elise Davis (a graduate from Skyline) will be competing in the Miss America pageant on Saturday. What is cool about this years pagent is that the viewers will have the chance to vote for their top choice. The four girls with the top votes will be included in the top 15 finalists. You can vote via the internet or by text messaging. Try to get the word out, and help one of southeast Idaho's exceptional women become the next Miss America. I have included a link below with more details.