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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Three teenage girls from Montclair, N.J., have managed to make the Commission on Presidential Debates in Washington, D.C., look like a small-town after-school club that crouches behind a sign that reads, “No Girlz Allowed.”

Forgive my glee.

On Tuesday, Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel tried to deliver to the commission a petition with more than 120,000 signatures of fellow Americans who want a woman to moderate at least one of the presidential debates.

The girls didn’t get very far. Emma explained to NPR’s Audie Cornish: “We were not received. We had let them know on Friday that we were planning on coming to deliver the petitions, but they never got back to us. So when we went to deliver our boxes full of the flash drives that have all the signatures on them, we were turned away and we were not allowed to leave our packages there, either, in case they contained dangerous material.”

Dang right these girls are dangerous — to the status quo. Worse, they keep talking to the media. Next thing you know, they’ll be plastering their notebooks with bumper stickers that read, “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.” (Bless you, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.)

Here’s an excerpt from the girls’ online petition, including their boldface passages:

“We already know that no women will be on stage at this year’s presidential debates, but what about in the moderator’s chair? We were shocked to find out that it has been 20 years since a woman last moderated a presidential debate.  …

“Presidential debate moderators have a lot of power when it comes to helping the American public to better understand candidates. Being a moderator is a tough job; the moderator must keep debate flowing, make sure candidates stay focused on relevant topics, and maintain an unbiased stance.

“Men are no more capable of performing these tasks than women — but for the last two decades, only men have been given the job.

“Women and men will never be truly equal in our country until they’re one and the same in positions of power and both visible in politics. We need to take immediate action in order to move towards this change. There is no reason why a woman shouldn’t have a chance to show what she’s capable of by moderating debates in the upcoming election.