Some things in life should be non-controversial. One of these seems to be the very successful “Violence Against Women Act” of VAWA which has sown improvements in terms of crimes against women in America. VAWA is up again before Congress and the Senate for Reenactment and, guess what, the Repugnicans have determined to make yet another stand in the War against Women (or at lease vulnerable and poor women) by attacking the Act in the Senate and forcing through a watered down version in their House controlled Committee.
Again, we aren’t talking about funding abortions (neither is Planned Parenthood for the matter as NONE of their Federal Funding can go to abortion–yes, imagine it, another false argument against an organization that does good work about 99% of the time, see e.g. ACORN) or demanding some “radical” notion like equal pay for equal work done by women (yup, the GOP opposes that too–want to bet what word best describes the Republican party–hint, it isn’t Grand or Party in terms of their thinking). Instead, VAWA tries to make crimes against women more easy to report, investigate and prosecute despite the sometime “familial” or “marital” nature of the relationships between victim and attacker. The GOP is trying to portray the vote on VAWA as an extension of the left’s attempt to “radicalize and feminize” the populace thereby leading to less stay at home Mom’s (as opposed to the economy THEY brought us which is the number one cause of Mom’s HAVING to work often two jobs), more abortion, and the breakdown of the true underpinning that the Founding FATHER’s brought us, i.e. a society dominated by rich, white, older, men. Ok, they don’t feature that last bit as part of their argument but just like attacking the President in terms of his “other-ness” (really, this moderately conservative, wall street friend is a socialist–come on, socialist is simply a nicer way of trying to point out that President Obama doesn’t look like those rich, white, older, men that the 50’s taught us should run the show…Father Knows Best…even the TV show said that with some tongue in cheek) they are trying to remind us that the Democrats are outliers in the world order, because they actually and ultimately want a gender-blind society in term of rights and opportunities (but you can’t get there without some help and protections).
So the GOP version of VAWA specifically strips the bill of protections for the “less amongst us” in terms of socio-economic and political strength. In particular, gone in the GOP version are VAWA protections to immigrant communities (legal not simply illegal) where there are scores of anecdotal evidence of violence often between the host sponsor of an immigrant woman (and her family) and the woman who can’t do much but go along or lose the host sponsor and return to her and her family’s home country. Gone too is any funding for work on Native American reservations and an exception to allow most domestic violence disputes to be handled by the Native tribe and ensure that crimes cannot be prosecuted by the State. Look, while the issue of Tribal National Rights and the rights of the US Federal Government and State Governments are often at odds (and that should be the subject of another column in depth), somehow the groups work it out on taxes, casinos and general criminal issues with clear balances given to each in order to protect the individual whether it be from State discrimination or Tribal inaction in what often (but clearly not all or even the majority) is a paternalistic society. Of course, the GOP bill also specifically excludes any action where the couple is same sex or transgender. What a lousy society we live in when that sentence starts with “Of course” but that is where we are with this Grand Old Party!
The Senate Bill was passed over the GOP vote out of committee and goes to the full Senate. Will the Republican’s now filibuster it? Probably. No Senate has ever seen the filibuster so mis-used and often used as this Congress. (Yet another issue for another column–Filibuster reform now!). And the House Bill? Well, when the Democratic Chair on the Judiciary Committee (the Minority chair) offered the same VAWA bill as in the Senate, the Republican’s didn’t even have the courtesy to debate it. They found that adding these protections to their Bill was not Germane to the discussion, i.e. they wouldn’t debate it, listen or discuss it.
There are those of us who believe that the Repug-nicans would actually like to gut VAWA completely and this is a first step. Basically, turn the Ayn Rand philosophy loose and let the strong prevail. I happen to think that women can prevail as the “strong” but not without a little help overcoming a half millenium of discrimination and obstacles and less so those women who are the most at risk.
This War on Women, laughed off by Fox, is real and it is coming for you! Don’t ignore this simply because you may not favor Choice on Abortion or because you like the tax policies of the GOP–this is all out critical and if we, as a whole and community, don’t rise up and stop them it will be too late. Where have we heard that before in history? Well that day is today again if we don’t protect the least among us and the rights of our majority gender. Stand up, yell at your Congressperson or Senator, take a stand especially where it is simple and not a complex issue. Fairness to women and protection under the justice system should be no-brainer. Time to retire the Grand OLD Party and start fresh. If you can’t bring yourself to re-register as a Democrat, form a new center-right party (wait that is the Democratic party–ok, yet another column that needs to be written…)