Women to Make a Difference Again, Colltalers
Much has been lamented about the lack of in-depth discussion and analysis of the issues affecting the U.S. presidential election. And in no other space such issues, whichever they are, have been more neglected than during the televised debates.
As President Obama and his GOP challenger prepare to enter the ring in their third and final clash, many will need extra help controlling their emotions, and resisting the urge to throw something at their HDTV set.
Perhaps it’s almost ironic that during the world’s most expensive electoral campaign, there’s been a relative limited room for discussing the all-encompassing issue of women’s health, their right to choose and full care coverage.
Even with the president’s signature policy being all but assured at least a deep imprint in the cavalcade towards full, universal health care for every American, one of its most meaningful consequences remains under intense attack from the GOP and the religious right that controls great part of it.
For make no mistake: we’re all affected and stand to benefit, or being short changed, by the quality of health coverage women receive or not. A woman with complete medical support, from the best possible therapies to the full spectrum of the right to choose, means a healthier community. Period.
We all should have the right to full health coverage, to be sure. But whereas assuring free Viagra for men, or natal care for infants have their places in the bigger picture, a woman’s nutrition and good health are the basic foundations where to build the care for all other members of her circle.
When a single woman ponders whether to have or not a baby, for reasons concerning only her and possibly her mate, either way, her decision will affect the whole society. One may argue that single parents or same-sex partners may also have a similar impact.
The difference, however, is that women count for an estimated 160 million Americans, more than half the population. So whatever public policy is directed at them, it impacts the majority of U.S. one way or another.
Since the GOP candidate has vowed, with so many words, to curtail their right to make decisions affecting their reproductive system, one could leap to the conclusion that no woman would be caught dead voting for him, his party, or even dreaming of supporting the religious right.
But one would, unfortunately, break a neck only attempting at such jumpy conclusion. For reasons that elude even the most diabolical of the political operatives, down on the ground, or hidden in cushioned cabinets of power, there are women actually working towards reversing Roe vs. Wade. And those operatives are happy to welcoming them to their fray.
These are, however, a minority. The trick for the Democratic Party will be not to win tonight’s debate, even though that would also help it, but to have the greater number of those who support choice to get to the voting booth, coming election day.
The task is harder than it looks, and Republicans are already ahead, having deployed their devilish Trojan-horse strategy: under the guise of fighting voter fraud, they’ve been devising ways to prevent potential Democratic voters from even reaching polling stations.
Even if their attempt at demanding photo ID as a condition to vote, from demographics traditionally associated with the president’s party, have largely failed, the overall effort is still on. We may still hear more about such effort very soon indeed.
In the meantime, though, the Democrats still have the most sensible policies concerning women’s rights, and are natural recipients of their support. To translate this edge in votes, though, will require a nationwide hands-on approach.
The reassuring part here is that historically, whenever women’s issues were hooked to public policy, society has made great strides. The fight to give women rights to vote, for example, ushered a whole new era of labor union engagement in national politics.
In the 1970s, the mass movements that ultimately led the nation to the landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, have also increased public awareness about the need for health-related legislation to support working women.
We may be afraid that the overwhelming sway of money may prevail this time around, and we’ll be standing here, Nov. 7, bitterly regretting the lost opportunity. But we should never doubt the power of popular mobilization whenever women issues are at stake.
So tell your friends and family, your sisters and mothers, that it’s time to rise. Those attempting to turn back the clock on our hard-earned rights to self determination and choice, count on our obliviousness and even skepticism about politics to succeed.
We, the citizens, must not relent. Be good and have a great one. WC