Say What Now?

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Some of you may recall when, back in 2007, GOP-darling and all around queen of crazy town, Ann Coulter, said that, “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat [sic] president.” If not for the picture making the rounds on Facebook, I would have remained blissfully forgetful of this festering pile of twit-shit. If not for the present state of insanity in which the GOP is presently residing, I’d not even bother to entertain this resurrected cadaver of stupid. But with all of the hate being directed at women, especially the anti-women plank in the GOP’s 2012 platform, her comment is, it pains me to say, more relevant now than it was when she first said it.

On the surface, what she’s saying is that the overwhelming majority of women vote Democrat and that for the Republicans to truly gain control of the nation would require that women not be allowed to vote. As laughable as this sounds coming from a woman whose own right to vote would be stripped, the implications are frightening, dangerous, and insulting.

It is insulting because, in Coulter’s opinion, women only vote for Democrats because women, especially single women, are stupid and lazy. Single, liberal women, according to Ann, vote for Democrats because Democrats “give” them things like health care, food stamps, and aid for services like day-care. Never mind the fact that such services are essential to single moms and working-class families, who typically live either dangerously close to the poverty line, teetering just on its very narrow edge, or desperately below it, because who needs facts when they get in the way of making snap judgments on people? What Coulter’s comments imply is that the Democratic party would fall without the female vote because men (read “real” men) do not vote for social programs. Social programs, which are designed to assist those for whom the system has been a disgusting failure, are a sign of weakness; they’re for lazy people who refuse to work (never mind, again, that the poverty rate is climbing, making it harder and harder for the poor to find gainful employment or support themselves). Only a pansie-ass (read, woman or less-than-manly man) would dare to be concerned with assisting the less fortunate.

The implication that it is a weakness to be concerned about and care for those who struggle to make ends meet, for those who are living in poverty, and for those who are sick is insulting. It’s insulting to those living in these situations and to those fighting to fix them. It is not a weakness to care about others, to provide programs to help people to put food on their tables, to seek medical care, to put a roof over their heads, or to acquire an education.  Compassion is a strength. It’s a marker of higher thought and a requirement of a civilized society. It is also insulting because this woman, and I use that term lightly for her, seems to honestly think that women cannot be trusted to vote.

It’s dangerous because it would set the US back decades, centuries even. Nearly every single progressive social program, from Medicare to Labor Laws to Civil Rights to Women’s rights (this has an interesting history, though, so to learn more follow the hyper-link) to environmental protections, has been sponsored and/or passed, in large part, by liberals and Democrats (especially in the past thirty years). And the majority of these programs were and have been supported by female voters, most of whom tend to be liberal. If women couldn’t vote, if the GOP had all or most of the power, then most of these programs would likely be gone or, at the very least, greatly diminished in scope and power. Just look at the GOP’s 2012 platform (seriously, read this shit, what you don’t know will hurt you): end medicare (that is exactly what the voucher program they’re proposing will do), make gay-marriage illegal, outlaw all abortions with no exceptions for rape and/or incest, weaken (if not completely destroy) Unions, tear down the wall of separation between church and state, and essentially dismantle the EPA, among a slew of other policies that will be detrimental to the progress of this nation and that are hostile to anyone who is not a wealthy, white, heterosexual male.

If this is the America that the GOP wants, then just imagine if the conductors of the train of human progress in this nation (liberals and women) were no longer a strong presence in politics. I feel ill just thinking about it. Just imagine if women could not vote. Imagine once again being wholly dependent upon men, specifically conservative men, to make any and all political decisions. It’s an awful thought. I shudder to think of all of the people living in poverty without access to health care, food, and shelter. I cringe at the thought of all of the women forced into back alley clinics, risking injury or death, to abort a pregnancy she does not want, either because birth control is once again illegal or because rape is now “just another form of conception.

It’s frightening because this is a woman saying this. Whatever you think of Ann, and I personally do not think very highly of her, the idea that a politically active woman would sooner relinquish her own right to vote than suffer care of the poor, sick, and disabled is a scary thought. Regardless of personal ideology on polarizing issues, such as gay rights or abortion, on the issues of suffrage and equal protection under the law we women need to stand together. There was a time in this country in which a married woman could not own property, enter into contracts, maintain custody of her children, seek a university education, enter most professions, have a line of credit, wear pants (that’s right, women were not allowed to wear pants), seek a no-fault divorce to escape an abusive husband, the list goes on (read this and this). The majority of the improvements in the legal status of women in this country resulted after we got the vote.

That a woman would suggest that the nation, and by extension its women, would be better off if those same women couldn’t vote denies the very real struggles and sufferings of our fore-mothers. Worse, it makes a mockery of everything they endured to lift up themselves, to end the state of chattelry in which they’d been kept, and to ensure that their daughters and all subsequent generations would never be subjected to the powerlessness that they and their own fore-mothers had been forced to endure.

Seriously, Ann? Say what now? Would you truly want to take the vote away from women, from yourself? You might be willing to return to the dark ages, to be once again the property of the men in you life; but I like being free. Free to vote, free to seek an education, free to choose if and when I become a mother, free to own the fruits of my labor, and free to wear pants.

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