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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2008 Elections: Women

This election year for many of us was marked by firsts: the first woman candidate with a good chance of winning faced the first African-American candidate with ... well, no one believed he had a chance, really, till he won. It was also the first time (in our lifetime) that citizens participated so eagerly, with crowds in the tens of thousands showing up to see &mdash well, some of &mdash the nominees.

The misogyny of the media and the Powers That Be revealed itself to a degree that surprised most of us. The racism, likewise. But this past Saturday, Senator Hillary Clinton did herself proud, conceding the race to Obama with unmatched grace, wit, brilliance, charm, and a terrific speech. Nothing in the struggle became her like the leaving of it. We're actually very sad because we've been wanting her for President for many years now.

She has always been a champion of women's issues, and deserves plenty of respect and kudos for that. More to the point, her candidacy, and her loss, had many people worried. Who will speak for women, in the coming Administration? Gee Dumbya and Dick made it clear that, in their book, women keep their mouths shut and their heads down. From the attacks on working women's pay, benefits, families, rights, and bodies it was clear that the Republicans are no respecters of women.

Once Clinton bowed out, it was time to look for evidence of what the candidates had to offer women. We were pretty sure that McCain would not have a lot to offer women. He's a Republican, after all, and most Republicans don't like or respect women enough to trust them to decide on their own damn bodies, for goodness' sake.

Well, here's some of the evidence. McCain opposes the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay for Equal Work act because "it'll lead to lawsuits." Hey, dumbass, there wouldn't be any need for lawsuits if employers paid women equally for equal work.

See for yourself. Pertinent snippet:
McCain skipped the vote to campaign in New Orleans.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters.


The Arizona senator said he was familiar with the disparity but that there are better ways to help women find better paying jobs.

"They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else," McCain said. "And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them.

"It's a vicious cycle that's affecting women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say the least," he said.
Yeah, well, that was then, Johnny. These days, women work at coal mining too. Sheesh.He's insane. What century does this guy live in? What does he mean, "women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else"? The dog is also a co-head of the household? What, the cockatoo? The cat?

And what about single women without children? Are they not also part of the workforce? Should they be forced to accept lower pay? What about Lily Ledbetter, after whom the damned act was named, who HAD the requisite education and training and was STILL paid less? Doesn't he realize that if you make less during your working years, your pension, retirement, social security benefits will be lower than someone who made more? What an idiot.

The SPTimes thinks women should worry about McCain taking power. No shit. Here's snippets from their article on the issue:
Due to McCain's reputation as a maverick, many voters seem to attach more moderate abortion views to him. In Florida's primary, for example, 45 percent of those Republicans who said abortion should be legal voted for McCain. Whereas the prochoice Rudy Giuliani won over only 19 percent of the prochoice Republican vote.

But McCain's voting record is solidly antichoice. He said directly in South Carolina that Roe "should be overturned" and strongly reiterates that position on his campaign Web site. He told the American Conservative Union that one of the three most important goals that he wants to achieve as president is to promote "a nation of traditional values that protects the rights of the unborn."

In accordance with these views, McCain promises to "nominate strict constructionist judges," which is code for "will overturn Roe if given half a chance."
The article goes on to say that McCain supports the global gag rule, one of the most hideous things to come out of the religious right's attitude towards women as uteri with legs (but not brains, hearts, or minds). Basically, the food crises we're seeing? The starvation, the fierce competition for water, fuel, and other resources? These all result from the death of the Zero Population Growth movement.

Back in the late sixties, people all around the world looked at themselves and the planet they lived on and came to the conclusion that we were soon going to exceed our planet's capacity to feed, shelter, and care for us. The ZPG movement was born with the intent of keeping the world's human population at sustainable levels. Then along came the Religious Right, those fundies who won't spend a penny to feed hungry children or even give their possibly illegal immigrant parents amnesty or an education so that they can afford to feed the fruit of their collective womb.

One of the first rules they forced through was the gag rule. In essence, what the gag rule does is, it prevents providers of women's healthcare services from offering, or even discussing, any alternative options other than forced birth. Clinics or even "barefoot doctors" who offer information about birth control can lose all their funding. Even if their sole abortion-related activity is to lobby to legalize abortion in their own country, or to refer their patients to other providers of services that might include abortion, and even if that activity is funded by other monies, they lose any money that they might otherwise receive from the U.S.

What this has done is turn the world and millions of women into one vast forced-birth experiment. Denied the ability to control the size of their families, women who become pregnant must give birth. While the gag rule contains a supposed exception for rape and incest, anyone who has lived or worked in the Third World knows how unlikely a woman is to allege rape or incest if she becomes pregnant.

In many countries, rape laws don't exist; in those where they do, they are selectively enforced; often, social opinion turns against the victim of the crime, not the perpetrator. Women brave enough to publicly allege rape or incest face penalties including jail, beatings, loss of their family, loss of their children, if any, loss of livelihood, and, often, death.

Thus, they are forced to birth unwanted children. If a woman does not want her child, forcing her to give birth to it can only have bad consequences for the child. Parenting is a tremendously difficult task, and requires a great degree of self-sacrifice. The same mealy-mouthed hypocrites who force women to birth unwanted children cry the biggest tears when asked to fund food, shelter, and education for such children. Even when wanted by their mothers, such children are at a tremendous disadvantage, especially in poor communities where they start off with a single parental income instead of two. In countries where the maternal mortality rate is high, they might not even survive their childhood. A child without a mother is at greatest risk of death through neglect or abuse.

Small surprise that parents who have many children that they cannot feed sell their children as slave labour. Thus is their misery perpetuated, the misery of their parents who have to give up their child, the misery of the children who are exploited by cruel and greedy people.

Now that we are in competition for the very basics of life, and world population has increased by 50 per cent since the ZPG movement, we see how much suffering and misery the Religious Right's attitude towards women's reproductive bits has caused.

John McInsane will perpetuate this inequity leading to even greater overpopulation, greater competition for scarce resources, more death and suffering.
An intelligent person might think that someone as rabidly antiabortion as McCain would be backing approaches to prevent unwanted pregnancies, thereby, ipso facto, fewer abortions. Well, think again.

McCain is an antagonist of sensible family planning and effective sex education. In 2005, he voted "no" on a $100-million allocation for preventive health care services targeted at reducing unintended pregnancies, particularly teen pregnancies. In 2006, he voted against funding for comprehensive, medically accurate sex education for teens.
Those women who claim they will vote for McCain need to look at some of the linked sites here. They might change their minds in a hurry.

Some women have said that McCain's positions on women's reproductive rights and health don't concern them since they're past the age of reproduction. Fine, whatever. What about your kids and grandkids? Is it OK if they die from back-alley abortions? What about your sons and grandsons? Is it OK if they get killed in a war? And unless you're as rich as Mrs. McCain, what about your job? Is it OK if you don't have one, or yours gets shipped overseas? What about your retirement benefits? Is it OK if they tank like the Dow, and our economy? What about your house? Is it OK if you have to live in a cardboard refrigerator box? Is it OK if he privatizes Social Security?

Now, what's Barack Obama's position on women? We went to the candidate's Web site to find out. Here it is.

We already know that he earned a 100% lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that he is committed to equal pay for equal work for women, that he wants an end to the war in Iraq, that he wrote to Ben Bernanke about the dangers of the subprime housing loan market a year before it collapsed, that he plans to work with Elizabeth Edwards on universal health care, that he plans to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans and give the middle class and working poor a tax break ... What's not to like?

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Stumble It!


At 11:12 PM, Blogger Brian Slesinsky said...

"no one believed he had a chance, really, till he won" - Oh really? Nobody at all?

At 11:34 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

OK, maybe you did, Bri. Anybody else? Hello? Yes? Anybody?

Somebody is just aching for a dinner invite. Somebody.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me me me....and still believe he is our next el presidente!Yay!


At 11:47 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Cool beans, seinlife.

You're invited over for dinner too!

Yeah, I think he's it meself.


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