Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sonia Johnson: From Housewife to Heretic

The recent death of environmental thinker and activist Barry Commoner (1917-2012) at ninety-five reminded me of several things. One, that Commoner ran for president of the USA on the Citizens Party ticket in 1980, the election that Ronald Reagan won (boo!). Two, that the next -- and last -- Citizens Party candidate to run for president was Sonia Johnson (b. 1936). That was in 1984, the same year Garaldine Ferraro (1935-2011) was chosen as Democratic Party vice presidential candidate backing Walter Mondale (Reagan-Bush won again -- double boo). Three, that not too long before Ferraro and Johnson, Shirley Chisolm (1924-2005) had aimed for the presidency as a Democrat in 1972 -- when Richard Nixon was elected to a second term (boo -- but at least that second term didn't last long thanks to the Watergate scandal).

Before she ran for president, Sonia (Harris) Johnson came through Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the early 1980s, to speak about her then new book, From Housewife to Heretic (Doubleday, 1981), which sometimes is given a subtitle (derived from the 1983 paperback cover, I suppose): One Woman's Struggle for Equal Rights and Her Excommunication from the Mormon Church. She was energetic and fiery, still furious with the status quo of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) because of what she saw as its backward patriarchal ways, particularly the way gender roles and expectations were seemingly set in stone from on high. I wonder how Johnson, assuming she's still alive and cognizant, feels about Mitt and Ann Romney in 2012?

Today's Rune: Growth.


Adorably Dead said...

I never even knew a woman tried running before Hillary did. That's awesome.

the walking man said...

Don't know what Sonia Johnson(alive still b-1936) thinks about them, I know what I think about them though. If they represent the Mormons then they (the Romneys and the Mormons) are the face of hypocrisy and the soul of willingness to tell any lie to assume the throne they feel entitled to.

Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder why we never end up with a viable third party.

Kate Sterling said...

How interesting! Thanks for sharing.

I got here via Charles Gramlich's blog and glad I did. I'd never heard of this woman and want to read this book.

Also agree with Charles re: lack of a viable third party.