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Ellen Goodman: "Children Have My Vote"

When asked about the upcoming presidential election, columnist Ellen Goodman says, "Children have my vote." As a grandmother, the esteemed author and longtime columnist whose work is syndicated in more than 400 newspapers notes that current political strategy attempts to "subdivide us all the time", separating Americans rather than bringing them together as one caring community. "The politician who gets my vote had better appeal to the future of my grandchildren-we need to make politicians deal with a longer time frame," she says.

Goodman began her career as a researcher at Newsweek after graduating with a degree in History from Radcliffe. She later worked as a writer on the women###s pages at the Boston Globe, and then as a reporter in the late 60###s and early ###70s, a time when as a single mother she not only wrote about but experienced first-hand many of the key women###s issues and social changes under way. In 1971 she began writing columns for the Globe and in ###76 her work was syndicated. Her columns reveal her strong interest in tracking social change, ethics, the stakes of women and family, what###s in the news, and what###s on her mind, which frequently mirrors what###s on the mind of her readers. In 1980, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary.

"As a member of the ###beachhead generation###, women who were on the cusp of change-I was writing when the women###s movement had just broken," she says. "It was a great perch from which to watch change."

Goodman notes that as a columnist she must be a reporter first and then say what she thinks. "I don###t talk it out when I###m thinking about a column," she says. She is more likely to take a walk and think about what she will write as she develops a narrative. "The advantage of having done it for a long time is even if when you start at eight in the morning you feel confident that you will have written it by the end of the day. You approach the puzzle with interest rather than with terror."

Her favorite topic over the years has probably been the narrative of social change and social mores. In 2003-2004 she notes that she has written many columns about politics, feeling that this period marks a crucial turning point for U.S. society.

As she reflects on the women###s movement she says there has been a net loss in caregiving and the values of community. "There was the idea that the movement would walk on two legs, kicking open doors with one and marching through with the other to transform society. But it has been a lopsided social change, she notes, moving toward male values and life patterns rather than female. Thus, the net loss in caregiving and community.

A positive outcome for men has been a gain in stronger relationships with children. Men are going through internal changes, she notes, balancing strength and sensitivity, and stepping back from feeling that they have to solve every problem themselves.

Goodman###s first book, "Turning Points" (Doubleday, 1979), detailed the effect of the changing roles of women on the family. Six collections of her columns have been published: "Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times" (Simon & Schuster, 2004); "Close to Home" (Simon & Schuster, 1979); "At Large" (Summit Books, 1981); "Keeping in Touch" (Summit Books, 1985); "Making Sense" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989); and "Value Judgments" (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993). She is also co-author with Patricia O###Brien of "I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women###s Lives" (Simon & Schuster, 2000).