<b>The War on Women: A Father’s Perspective</b>
Oct 2012 24

The War on Women: A Father’s Perspective

Posted In Activism,Blog,Feminism,Politics

by Steven Whitney

As if the illegal Iraq War and the botched Afghan War were not enough, it seems as if Republicans are going to war against damn near everybody but old, rich white guys.

First up is their War on Facts – their avalanche of misstatements has set a new record (and a new low) in both congressional and campaign practices. The GOP lies about Obama’s record and Romney assiduously avoids any concrete facts about his own plans.

There’s a closely related War on Science – it contains too many perplexing facts and, after all, faith provides all the answers we need.

There‘s a covert War on Voting Rights, particularly VWB (Voting While Black) and VWP (Voting While Poor) – and then the very visible War on GLBTs, especially those who want to hold their weddings at Chick-fil-A.

There’s an open War on Immigrants – in Arizona, and despite being sued by the Department of Justice for racial profiling, the self-aggrandizing Sheriff Joe rounds up Hispanics, detains them in dehumanizing tent city corrals, verbally taunts them, and heads them back over the border. In Missouri, Republican Steve King also views them as animals, recently doubling down on his statement last May that “comparing immigrants to dogs is a compliment.”

There’s a War on Education and the snobs who attend college. And a War on Healthcare – Romney wants to repeal Obamacare on Day One and turn Medicare into a voucher system benefitting insurance companies. (If you have a serious pre-existing condition, do you really think a voucher is going to help you get coverage?)

Then there’s the War on Labor – particularly those nefarious teachers, firemen, postal workers, and policemen who are getting obscenely rich lapping up money from the public trough.

And Romney himself apparently wants to go to war with Big Bird and Iran.

To a degree, I understand their warmongering on these issues – racism, xenophobia, selfishness, skullduggery, and outright stupidity have always found a place in our politics, although never to the extent bandied about by Republicans in this election cycle.

But what I cannot comprehend is the Republican War on Women. While the GOP denies any such crusade, a mere summary of their actions suggests otherwise.

The Republican platform calls for a Constitutional ban and criminalization of abortion without exception – not rape, not incest, not even if the mother’s life is severely endangered by her pregnancy.

It denounces contraceptive education in schools while encouraging teenagers and young adults to abstain from sex until marriage.

Virginia Republicans passed a bill requiring women to undergo invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Other state legislatures in GOP control quickly followed suit, proposing bills with identical or more severe mandates.

In Michigan, GOP representatives banned Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking “for violating the decorum of the House” after she mentioned the word “vagina” during a debate on women’s healthcare. In defending their action, Republicans characterized the word vagina as “offensive, disgusting, and vile.”

In Congress, Darrell Issa (R, CA) created an Oversight Committee panel to shape policy on Women’s Reproductive Rights without a single woman invited to contribute, either as a panelist or speaker.

For the last several years, House Republicans have vociferously attacked and attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, a non-profit that serves 1 in every 5 women sometime during their lives. The GOP also wants to repeal Title X, which provides breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and testing for all STDs to low-income women. Without Title X’s preventive care, thousands of American women will needlessly die before their time.

If their positions on healthcare weren’t enough to reveal the GOP’s stunning misogyny, consider the sexist invective they employ to put women in their rightful place.

It’s no fluke that drug felon Rush Limbaugh – considered by many to be the ex-officio head of the Republican Party – labeled a female law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking to House Democrats about the importance of requiring insurance companies to cover birth control. And it’s no surprise that Rush – who takes Viagra-fueled holidays in the Dominican Republic, famous for its teenage sex trade – encouraged her to send him video tapes of her own sexual activities. Rush, of course, originated the term “Feminazis” for women seeking equal rights and protections under the law, so is it any wonder he likes to watch?

In her book, What I Saw at the Revolution, Peggy Noonan – Reagan speech writer and chronicler/pundit of all things GOP – likened women who have abortions to Germans exterminating Jews during World War II.

Following his widely disseminated remark about “illegitimate rape,” Republican Todd Akin called Claire McCaskill – his opponent in the Missouri Senate race – “one of those dogs.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A Google search for “republican sexist comments” returns thousands of examples. Just this week GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said he came to realize that pregnancy as a result of rape was “something that God intended to happen” and a “gift from God.”

Is it any wonder that Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill mandating equal pay for equal work? Or that the GOP views women as less than equal citizens?

One has to ask: Do Republicans still blame Eve for biting into the apple? Were all their mothers Mommie Dearests? Do they feel emasculated by women? Are they threatened by empowerment?

What is it with these guys? Don’t any of them have daughters?

This isn’t political, it’s neither right nor left, it’s just a human truth – if any father seeks to deny his daughter(s) the same rights, opportunities, and benefits that boys (or men) possess, then he must relinquish his “Best Dad in the World” coffee cup for one that designates him a “Bozo Dad.”

What father wants his daughter to be coerced by law to birth a child sired by a serial and violent rapist – or to be forced to carry a child at the risk of her own life?

What father wants decisions about his daughter’s medical care left in the hands of an all-male House Oversight Committee task force, or by a squeamish male legislature that can’t even say the word vagina?

What father wants his daughter to die prematurely because she couldn’t afford breast and cervical examinations that are now covered by Title X, Planned Parenthood, and Obamacare?

What father deems his daughter less capable than a man to make choices about her own life?

What father adheres to a religious group that values his daughter less than any other person. Or a political party that demeans her through legislation and verbal sexist abuse?

What father doesn’t want his daughter to be all she can be? Or to have the opportunity to achieve everything she wants while pursuing her personal goals And how can she do that without equal rights and equal protection under the law?

What kind of father envisions his daughter as a second-class citizen?

Having a daughter is the greatest gift any man can receive, for through them we finally learn the meaning of and experience a love that is completely unselfish. Wives and lovers bring us much pleasure and happiness, but they are equal partners in our lives, with the expectation of equal “give and take.” But because daughters light up our lives in countless ways, fathers want nothing back from them, except perhaps that they find their own particular brand of happiness.

Those who most severely criticize this new brand of far-right Republicans often accuse them of putting their party before the country they were elected to serve. But for me, their most repugnant betrayal is putting the GOP agenda before their own daughters.

These days our daughters are brought up to think for themselves in all things. Are they now expected to willingly turn over their rights and decisions to an out of touch Republican agenda? If anything qualifies as an “illegitimate rape” that does.

And as a father, my response is simple: I value my daughter more than anyone else on earth and I will fight to my last breath anyone who makes any kind of war on her. And I think every father, deep down, must feel the same.

This November, every father in America is faced with a clear choice. And I suggest each of them votes for the platform that will most benefit and honor his daughter(s).

It’s the least we owe our daughters for bringing both joy and true meaning to our lives…and for shining the light of unconditional love into our hearts.

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  1. [...] I won’t tell you who to vote for and I refuse to endorse any candidate in writing. What I can tell you is that the Republican and Democratic parties have plenty in common. It’s up to you to find the difference that will help you make a conscientious decision this November. The only advice I offer is to not dismiss the hardships others may face due to the outcome of this election. Even if you’re a white, middle-class, middle-aged male, I promise you the social impact of this election will inevitably affect someone you love. [...]

  2. [...] Romney/Ryan advocates repeal of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that mandates equal pay for equal work for women (and all minorities). They support the Religious Right in ordering government control over women’s bodies. And Republicans engage in frequent sexist invective to put women in their place. For a fuller assessment of their stand, read this short post on the War on Women. [...]