A conception or mental creation that is baseless or unbelievable is said to be imaginary, and it implies delusion or myth in some contexts. It is hardly appropriate for aggressors to claim their victims are imagining an attack when there is documented evidence of injury, and especially when the aggression continues unabated, but that is precisely what Republicans are claiming in their war on women. Perhaps Republicans hope that by lying often and loudly about an imaginary war on women that women will ignore or forget the devastation and injury they have endured for the past year and support their assailants. Apparently, that is what Republicans are hoping will happen and they are ramping up a campaign to convince voters, and especially women voters, that there is no war on women.
This past week, House minority leader Eric Cantor’s Young Guns group announced a multi-million dollar media campaign called “Woman Up” to convince voters there is no war on women. During a closed-door fundraiser this week, Willard Romney told supporters they needed to “get the women” on board to ensure his election to the White House, and both instances not only fly in the face of reality, they are an epic insult to women. However, no amount of media propaganda or campaign rhetoric will ever convince women that they have not been on the receiving end of the GOP’s assaults on their rights, and this week highlighted the fact that the Republicans are serious in punishing women.
In the House, Republicans successfully passed legislation keeping student loan interest at the current level by paying for it with women’s healthcare funds instead of raising payroll taxes on high-income owners of corporations to the level every other working American pays. In a speech on the floor of the House, Speaker John Boehner displayed faux outrage at Democrats for asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes and accused them of playing politics with student loans and said it was the latest Democratic “plank in the so-called war on women” that was “entirely created by Democrats for political gain.” In the Senate, former presidential candidate John McCain gave a ten-minute rant about Democrat’s politically motivated intention of “dividing the country in the name of fairness and equality” and called the “supposed” war on women “outlandish rhetoric to distract citizens from real issues that really matter.”
McCain obviously does not comprehend that for half the population, what really matters is that their rights are being subverted by Republicans as a matter-of-course and it shows just how out of touch and misogynistic he is when it comes to women’s rights. Women have spent the past year watching Republicans redefine rape, vote for gender pay inequality, restrict their access to cancer screenings and contraception, and give employers the right to deny healthcare if it went against their religious beliefs. Women are patient, but they are not stupid and that is the message Republicans are expressing when they say the war on women is imaginary, or worse, a creation of Democrats who have voted time and time again to give women equal rights the Constitution guarantees. Then there is presumptive Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney telling his supporters they have to “get the women” to support his candidacy.
Romney said, without hesitation, that one of the first acts as president is “getting rid of Planned Parenthood” that serves millions of women with cancer screenings, contraception, and family planning, among others. He supported the Blunt amendment giving employers medical rights over women’s healthcare issues, and said he wants women to have dignity of working at the same time he fawns over his wife because she had the luxury to stay home and raise children. In Romney’s budget, poor and middle class women face massive cuts to programs that provide healthcare and food assistance for their children while the wealthy receive greater tax cuts. It is too late for Romney to “get the women” to support any Republican much less a wealthy elitist who promises to escalate the war on women if he is elected.
President Obama sees the war on women as a war on equal rights and he assailed Republicans for advocating for less government regulations unless it is regulating women. In defending his policies on women, the president said the Affordable Care Act “finally gives women more power to make their own choices about their health care,” and that the Republican war on women was “appalling and offensive, and when it comes to what’s going on out there, you’re not going to close your eyes. Women across America aren’t closing their eyes. As long as I’m president, I won’t either.” Most women, who make up 53% of the electorate, know the President has been fighting for their rights, and as he mentioned, they know what Republicans are doing and their eyes are wide open. The President also noted that Republicans in states are “saying that women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions,” and it is a message women have heard loud and clear since Republicans swept into power after the 2010 elections.
Women are, and should be, incensed at the second-class status that Republicans are legislating them into with law after law abridging their rights and protections. Who do Republicans think they are waging an all-out unrelenting war on women and their rights, and how dare they think that just because they say there is no war on women that women will believe their lies? Women are not stupid, but that is the implication Republicans are making with their media blitz disputing their attacks on women and belief that they can just “get the women” to support their campaign to put women back in the Dark Ages. As the President said, women are not, and have not, closed their eyes to the hideous assault on their rights and yesterday they took the first step to destroy their attackers. In 55 cities, women united against the war on women to tell the entire country they have had enough of Republican misogyny and this is only the beginning.
The sleeping giant that is American women is wide awake and they are livid and looking for retribution. They are not sitting idly by hoping the Republican assault will subside, and the GOP is going to pay in the general election. The march and rallies across the nation should serve notice to Republicans that no impassioned Senate or House floor speeches is going to convince them there is not a war on women, or that Willard’s campaign to “get the women” on board is going to have any success because Republicans have battered women for too long and they are not taking it any longer. It is stunning that Republicans voted against women’s rights and access to healthcare in the same week they are telling them there is no war against them. It is beyond the pale that the GOP has such low regard for women that as they are beating them down, they say there is no war; women will make them pay and they are not alone. The men who love their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters are just as furious as women and they are mobilizing and supporting women’s movements to end this Republican war on women’s rights which is, in reality, a war on human rights.