The “War on Women:” (Part 4) Practical Solutions
In the previous three parts of this series of articles, I attempted to explain the inconsistencies of the modern feminist arguments. While most readers here understand these dynamics, the majority of the American electorate often react to the message put forth by liberals and the Democratic Party when it comes to this notion of “women’s rights.” Admittedly, the conservative and Republican messaging has been odd at times and drifted into areas that need not be drifted into. I am always amazed that in virtually every electoral cycle there is some highly qualified Republican candidate who self-destructs at the hands of liberal media minefields and traps. Perhaps Todd Akin is the poster boy in this area.
While it may be true that Republicans are “losing” the female vote, there are ways to reverse or mitigate that trend and that is the purpose of this article. Women make up more than 50% of the electorate. In an ideal world, it would be great to capture 60% of that vote. But as with any demographic voting bloc, it is not necessary to capture huge percentages of them to have electoral success. For example, if Mitt Romney had captured somewhere near the Hispanic vote that Bush captured, then races in certain states would have been at least closer. The same is true of the female vote. Here, a dent in the female vote that went to Obama could have made the difference. The problem, as this writer sees it, is messaging. The fact is that liberals and the Democratic Party have the mainstream media in their pocket and they will bend, twist, and take out of context any comment to prove this “war on women” theme. This theme resonates and achieves ratings.
Step 1: Avoid the liberal talking point traps. Todd Akin lost because of his own stupidity in a race that was his to win. Everyone in Missouri knew his pro-life stance. Instead of simply saying “Everyone knows my views in that area…can we please talk about Obamacare and the economy and Claire McCaskill’s record in that area?,” he fell for the trap. Of course, liberals and the Democrats in Missouri would have misrepresented his views on abortion in advertisements, but they would have appealed only to the people who were going to vote for McCaskill anyway. Democrats and liberals have much to gain financially and politically by playing this abortion stance game as long as Republicans fall for the traps. When it comes to the issues that most voters are concerned about, one’s stance on abortion falls quite low on that list and one’s stance on contraception even further down the list. And to those to even respond that it is their #1 issue, Republicans are not going to win the pro-choice vote regardless. That is not to say that Republicans should ignore the pro-life voters who I contend are smarter than the pro-choice ones and can make better informed choices on candidates rather than be the Democratic automaton caricature of a pro-choice voter.
Step 2: Avoid discussion on contraception. Quite frankly, it is somewhat creepy for a male candidate or spokesman to divine the interests of women in this area or to comment on female libido. Leave that for the people at “The View” to discuss. However, in the context of Obamacare and religious expression and freedom, contraception- the choice to use or not use it- can and should be portrayed as a personal choice which is more resonant with voters. In that vein, the government intervening and mandating contraception coverage or, in the alternative, blocking access to contraceptives negates that choice. If this is a personal choice- as liberals contend- then the government has absolutely no role in this area. The “stay off my body” argument works both ways. Arguing this point from this angle will resonate and actually be more “pro-choice” than anything liberals can offer up. Also, as part of any alternative health care reform proposal, contraceptive services should be removed from the whole discussion and left to the purchaser of health insurance. Paying a few extra bucks per month for coverage is better than any government mandate unless a woman’s health is dependent upon it.
Step 3: Call out pro-choice for what it is. The fact is that the pro-choice people are pro-choice in only one area- abortion. In the area of contraception, for example,they are forcing a choice through mandates. If they were truly pro-choice, then they would cease the denigration of those women who choose to remain or become stay-at-home mothers or who refuse to be defined as women based upon their stance on abortion. What can be more anti-choice than the definition of oneself by others? Polling indicates that presently, most people are NOT for the radical abortion-on-demand stance that many liberals assert, although over the years, that polling fluctuates but never exceeds 55% one way or the other. Abortion remains a contentious issue in this country and is likely to remain such for years to come thanks to Harry Blackmun.
Step 4: Stop trying to overturn Roe v. Wade. Try as one might, this decision will never be overturned. A conservative Utopia is just as unrealistic as a liberal one. Instead, conservatives need to deal with the reality that exists and, quite frankly, Roe has been so gutted over the years that conservatives should not be as critical. True- it was a badly decided issue best left to the political process as even some liberals argue today. Instead, we need to deal with the undue burden standard. While the envelope will be pushed legislatively, the idea is not to go too far lest liberals label conservatives “extreme.” We should be supporting commonsense legislation that ensures the safety of the procedures, informed consent and the like in order to avoid the grisly abortion mills such as those run by Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia (and chances are there are more out there). Incidentally, did anyone report that the majority of those victims in Philadelphia were low-income minority females. Not to sound,extremist, but self-propagated genocide is genocide just the same. And realize that the fight will be ongoing at the state level because the pro-choice realizes also that they cannot achieve their agenda legislatively (that is, democratically) and they have to resort to judicial fiat.
Step 5: Disentangle the abortion debate from the contraception debate. The two deal with totally different aspects of female “reproductive rights.” Personally, I would prefer an unwanted pregnancy prevented rather than terminated. In this regard, if Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations want to provide free birth control, then by all means do so. Perhaps spending less money on fighting democratically decided laws and more on actually providing free birth control would go a long way in this area. They need to be called out on this. If the pro-choice people want the government to “keep your hands off my body,” then again, that argument works both ways. And we definitely need to distinguish between contraception and abortificents.
Step 6: Contraception is not really a preventive women’s health issue. In very few cases, that may not be true and exceptions can be accommodated. True preventive women’s health programs worthy of “mandated” health insurance coverage are items like cervical cancer screenings, mammography and the like.
Step 7: Realize and accept the fact that there are pay disparities. However, instead of the government becoming a de facto Human Resource manager, noting that the tide is slowly changing can go a long way. Academic discussion in this area, which tends to support conservative views, will educate very little of the electorate who rely more on 30-second soundbites than academic analysis. As more women take full advantage of a college education and enter occupations formerly dominated by males, the disparities will slowly erode over time. The problem for the liberals is that this trend is not happening fast enough. But, a slower favorable trajectory will have better and longer-lasting results than the government intervening with some pseudo-affirmative action program for women.
Step 8: Violence Against Women. If the purpose of federal legislation in this area is to truly decrease the incidence of violence against women, then everyone should be for it. However, the current legislation does not do this. Instead of requiring reports and tipping the legal scales, perhaps steering dollars to more programs that provide shelter for battered women and their children is a better piece of legislation. Helping women in abusive relationships to find and retain a full-time, meaningful job to break their economic chain to their abusive partner is another avenue worthy of consideration. Overlooked in this discussion is the wonderful job done daily and largely without thanks by private charitable organizations. Perhaps the government should look to what these organizations are doing correctly before writing confusing laws.
Step 9: Rape is rape is rape. Unless you are a Neanderthal, there should be zero tolerance in this area. Over the years, the definition of rape has evolved to the point that we have notions of date rape and the like. If we can insist that in the area of sexual morality, “Just say no” is acceptable, then “No means no” should be accepted in the definition of rape. However, do we have to tip the judicial scales exclusively in favor of the accuser? Generally speaking ,juries get their decisions correct the vast majority of the time. When we tip the scales of justice too much one way or the other, we invite abuses of due process and the proliferation of publicity-seeking rabble-rousers like Al Sharpton and the like. Sexual violence of any kind should not be tolerated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, federalizing the crime of rape will do very little in this area.
Step 10: Expose hypocrisy where it exists. And it abounds in feminist thought. The sexes are equal, but we need special treatment under laws like VAWA. A woman can do a man’s job, but we need some gender-based affirmative action program. The next time you hear a pro-choice person talk, ask them their views on animal cruelty. Chances are they will care more about a rabbit in a lab than a human in a uterus.
Step 11: Highlight the real “war on women.” Instead of denigrating the gains of women here in the United States- an alleged patriarchal society- the real war on women is being waged in Muslim countries. Whether it is the right to vote, the right to have a driver’s license, or the right to be free of genital mutilation, that is where the real war on women should be fought. All those things denied to women in these countries are things that American women take for granted. Subtle reminders in this area are a winning message.
Step 12: Do not back off celebration of the stay-at-home mother. Although personal finances often dictate the opposite, the modern feminist denigrates these people as exemplified by the often public Freudian slips of defenders of a women’s rights. Given the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother, there is ample scientific evidence to show that such families have decided advantages over broken homes or two-earner families. Even in the latter case, women are the ones who often juggle conflicting duties admirably. The modern feminist ideal of the corporate woman is their vision of the modern woman. If choice permeates their arguments, then why denigrate the choice of a woman to remain a stay-at-home mom?
Step 13: Maintain moral principles. This extends to many areas. Libertarian notions that prostitution and pornography are “victimless” are not necessarily true. Both defile and objectify a woman regardless whether “victimless” or not. While modern feminism may stress choice above all else- choice as to whether enter the porn industry, choice as to whether enter the field of prostitution, choice as to whether to terminate a pregnancy, choice of contraceptives- realizing that all these choices have moral consequences is a winning message. The fact is that to liberals, morality means little.