American Woman Under Siege
You might not know it, but there’s a quiet war going on this election season. It’s being waged in state law and through Tea Party candidates and Republicans. It’s a war against American women.
True to form, these conservatives are dressing this assault in Orwellian perfection, littering the landscape with female candidates and claiming this to be the “Year of the Conservative Woman”. If you are selfish, obtuse, and narcissistic enough to think that God chose you to be elected so you don’t need to bother learning anything that pertains to your job (like the law), then yes, this could be your year. If you are putting a pretty red ribbon on that package, dressing her up like a porn star librarian — cheesy, cliché glasses to boot and plopping a bouffant wig on her head which you call feminism, this may indeed be your year.
If you care about women’s rights, this is not your year.
This is the year when Tea Party candidates are running on women having no rights over their own bodies. They call this liberty. This is the year when Republicans have many candidates running who have been accused or found guilty of domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault. This is apparently tolerated in the Republican Party (as witnessed in Vitter’s office). They call this Family Values. This is the year Republicans are running ethics violators who don’t understand the constitution who repeatedly vote against all women’s rights. They call this the Sanctity of the Family.
This is the year when Republican candidates are creating such a stunning culture of lawless, self-indulgent, petulant, childish social-Darwinism that their supporters take pride in physically attacking any perceived difference of opinion at a candidate’s rally. This is also the year when they are playing dress up war games and having thugs arrest journalists who are doing their constitutionally protected duty for the American people.
This is the year when the misogynistic playground they call running for office opened siege on American women. This is the year when a volunteer coordinator for Rand Paul stomped on a woman’s head.
And it isn’t just that moment- but everything that happened after it, that matters. Because afterward, we heard about how she was a “Move-On” activist, we heard she was wearing a blonde wig, we heard that she wanted to give some fake award to the candidate, and we heard that she told an interviewer the police weren’t involved, but the interviewer saw police talking to her after the incident.
And this is where we jump the cultural shark.
It doesn’t matter what she was wearing. It doesn’t matter whose opinions or values she shared. She is not the issue. The issue is that two men clearly found pleasure in holding this woman down and stomping on her. She posed no threat to them or the candidate, who was not anywhere near her at the time.
They felt justified in this because they didn’t agree with her politically. In their world, you only have rights if you agree with them. They call this freedom.
By their own standards, every time one of them spits at a congressman or shows up carrying, they should be kicked and abused by a gang of men who outweigh them and physically over power them by at least 50%.
In their world, you only count if you are going along with the patriarchal rules. And in their world, their own rights have been so violated (their loss of power) that they are going insane. They will do anything to get it back. And that’s why you see their tactics escalating to violence from intimidation. It’s all about control. They want the reins of power back, and they intend to make women suffer for all of this change that’s been disrupting their happy little privileged lives.
Two grown men violently attacked a small, petite woman. It was captured on camera. And the media can’t stop talking about her wig and her award. Where’s the societal outrage over the violence being perpetrated against a helpless, smaller person who had her back turned when she was wrestled to the ground, held down and kicked by Rand Paul’s campaign coordinator and accomplice? It’s almost as if this is par for the course now. It’s almost as if because she is a liberal activist, this is acceptable.
Another aspect of this problem is that the Right has framed the debate over feminism to such an extent that American culture thinks that to be equal in rights and status, you must embody the masculine value of power. This is assumed; a woman who is equal is a bad ass who carries a gun or wields some other evident aspect of power, not a soft housewife who bakes cookies for her children. Both women should be equal if we were really doing feminism, as in, equally respecting feminine values and females. And this is the inherent flaw in American feminism, because it denies nature and in doing so, let’s men off the hook for their behavior and choices.
Women are usually out sized and out powered in an attack by a male. So are children. These smaller people are protected by our cultural values (of which this country is sorely lacking) and if those fail, our laws.
So it matters who our lawmakers are. If you live in Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska, Alabama, or Arizona your rights are in imminent danger. If you live in any other state, you may think you are safe from the tyranny of Republicans’ Family Values, but you should be aware that this is how paradigms are shifted and federal laws challenged.
Wake up, American women. This is the moment to join your sisters in solidarity, regardless of which side of the aisle you take. These Tea Party candidates and many Republicans (male or female, the values are the same) represent a danger to the very safety of women.
Stand up for women’s rights this year. Your vote matters.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.