How do the news stories of the past week impact you? What if your neighbor had been the kidnapper of three women? Or your boss was charged with sexual battery (as the Air Force Lt. Col. in charge of prevention of sexual abuse)? How did you feel when a rape victim was vindicated by a jury after suffering denigration and blame for the crime committed against her?
Extreme situations like this point to the ways groups of people are marginalized today. The influence of the spin doctors seems to grow stronger as we allow our political influence and social significance to degrade.
So, exactly what makes violence against women a money-in-politics issue? Many of us assert that equality is “bad” for politics today, that it is “good” to sort people into controllable groups to be used or disenfranchised as needed to maintain power, and, as is true for all “other” groups: the farther out from the hub of power, the more un-equal life becomes.
Equality costs more “they” say: yet the wage, wealth, and influence disparity gets bigger by the day. The 15,000 point high point on Wall Street this month is a likely bubble given unemployment, underemployment, and wage erosion in America. Remember a time when the stock markets and Wall Street were related to these concerns?
How obvious is this becoming? The Yale University Institution for Social and Public Policy sponsored a conference earlier this week called Purchasing Power, Money, and Politics, where “...leading policy makers. academics, advocates, and thought leaders from around the country will come together at Yale University to explore the role of money in our political system.”
Women make up the greatest number of single heads of households, are the most likely to make minimum wage, and make up a disproportionate number of the true unemployed. Instead of a cry for support, we are inundated with the systematic denigration of those falling away from our illusion of prosperity. After all, why can’t a poor single mother working part time for minimum wage with 3 children to feed “boot strap it?” “Good people succeed” is a slap in the face. And, it makes it OK to not give political influence.
In case you still have some doubts, let’s look at a recent example.
The recent renewal (after expiration) of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was political theatre at its best. All data since the original inception of the law showed reductions in rates of violence and homicide between intimate partners, both men and women. But upon reflection after many failed attempts to have reasonable debate let alone pass the expired law, it appeared that the biggest barrier to passage was, in the words of Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, " I didn't like the way it was expanded to include other different groups."
The spin doctors have made it fashionable to consider native American women, undocumented women, or the transgendered as less important, even though they are a part of the group called women.
The United Nations considers violence, discrimination, and undereducation of women a pandemic. In 2011 UN Women outlined a comprehensive policy agenda to end violence against women globally. Among the list is the call for political will and investment to ensure that women can live a life without violence.
The lack of political will and investment in America tells the story. For some reason NOT acting pays. In our current corrupt environment of political pandering for campaign contributions, the big donors MUST be pleased.
But why inequality? Why denigration? This may all go back to the infamous words from Paul Weyrich in 1980: "Now many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo-goo syndrome.' Good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Disenfranchised people do not vote. Is it really that simple? Yes, it appears to be.
Today on LUNCH WITH LOUDEN we will discuss the politics of inequality with YOU and guest, Dennis Little. He is active in transpartisan politics, and works to advocate change. Dennis has a background in the health care system and is currently involved in the renaissance of health care technology and the human dynamics aspect of care.
TODAY 12-1 PM PACIFIC
LUNCH WITH LOUDEN
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(Debilyn is away this week)