Are only men created equal?

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Republicans insist they are not perpetrating a war on women. They claim their policies will help women. However, their words and actions tell a very different story. They would love a return to the 1950s, but even better would be a return to the 1850s, when men ruled the home and women had no rights.

On Feb. 26, 2001, Ann Coulter, a Right-wing spokesperson, said, “I think [women] should be armed but should not vote. No, they all have to give up their vote ... The problem with women voting — and your Communists will back me up on this — is that, you know, women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it. And when they take these polls, it’s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”

Coulter believes that if women had never gotten the right to vote, things would be much better.

“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.” The New York Observer, Oct. 2, 2007.

Sadly for Coulter’s vision of paradise, women got the right to vote in 1920. Women then began to think they also had the right to work and be independent, but the idea of equal pay for equal work was decades away. Newspapers even had separate Help Wanted sections for men and women. After all, women didn’t need to earn much money!

My father was a teacher. I remember vividly when there were two salary schedules for teachers; a woman with exactly the same education, experience, etc., as a man, in the same school, got paid less, because she was a woman. The passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, signed by President John F. Kennedy, began to change this fact of life. Women were realizing that not only could they do traditionally “men’s” jobs, but they should get paid as much too.

Modern-day Republicans are still fighting the concept that women and men should be paid the same for the same work. Just research the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was blocked unanimously by Republican senators on April 9, 2014. (Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is for the bill, voted “No” to keep the bill alive). Phyllis Schlafly, conservative spokeswoman, reinforced this idea recently, saying the pay gap is beneficial. “Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.” Christian Post, April 15, 2014

What do other Republicans believe about marriage? At a recent Heritage Foundation event, panelist Molly Hemingway said, “We should show concern for everybody by extending the marriage franchise to everybody ... Everybody go out, right now, go get married if you’re not married, and we should be able to solve all these problems.” There you go, women. Just get married and all your problems will be solved.

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, a conservative hero, told young men this: “You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16 ... They got to where they’re getting hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ‘em ... Look, you wait until they get to be 20-years-old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket.”

Continuing this idea, in 2012, House Republicans let the Violence Against Women Act expire, even though this law has reduced domestic violence by 67 percent. In February 2013, reauthorization passed the U.S. Senate; the only “No” votes came from 22 male Republican senators. The bill finally passed and was signed into law March 7, 2013.

So Republicans object to women’s right to vote, right to earn a fair wage, and protections against abusive husbands. They encourage women to marry at a young age so they can’t get the education that will help them be self-reliant. They want women to be subservient to their husbands. For any woman out there who believes you are just as capable and worthy as a man, remember this when you go to vote. This is the Republican/conservative vision of America. Is it yours?

Jeanette Strong is an LVN columnist.


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