Hi. How are you? I want to briefly talk to you about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I'll try to make it quick. No promises though.
We are in an election season, and, naturally, everywhere you turn is another political advertisement either for or against some candidate running for office. In the forefront we have people running for Senate and also for the Presidency. (I'm not sure, but I hear the latter is, like, a pretty significant office to run for. Correct me if I'm wrong.)
So, if you haven't notices, women are the number one demographic that is being pandered to currently. As women tend to be more liberal (those bleeding hearts open for human rights everywhere) and vote red more often, the Democrats are trying everything to hold on to those votes. The GOP, on the other hand, realizes that women have a tendency to vote with the left-wingers, so they are trying to appeal to women in a way that they truly never have before (see specifically Ann Romney's speech at the Republican Convention).
Now, clearly I have my own opinions on all of the hot topics and issues (social, economical, or otherwise) that are based on my own beliefs and experiences. Just as every other person in the country does. I am not here to talk about my opinions or beliefs. (I just heard the collective sigh of relief.)
Women, what I want to talk about is the way we are all being force-fed what issues the political world thinks should be important to us. Every time a new advertisement comes on promoting the Democrats (mostly Obama), it is addressing two issues: Roe v. Wade and the Pro-life/pro-choice debate, and the insurance/birth control issue. Even Elizabeth Warren, whom I had been commending up until now for not playing that card and sticking to her "middle class warrior" strategy, has a new ad that is completely devoted to how she feels about the Republican standpoint on abortion and birth control.
Clearly, these are important issues. And important to a lot of people, not only women. However, can we take a step back and look at how they measure up to some of the other issues that we are dealing with as a society and a country today? I see/hear these ads and I think to myself, "Is this what the general opinion is of women and our political views? That we are most concerned with whether or not we can get free birth control or have abortions? Is that why they keep talking about it?" That is how I am being made to feel, and perhaps I am not alone. Apparently, ladies, all we care about in politics is anything that has to do with babies and whether we can or will have them or not have them. I was completely unaware of this.
I was unaware of this, because, I see a country with much bigger problems than birth control and a women's right or lack of right to choose. I see a country in an economic crisis with a middle class that is slowly fading away. I see a country with a national deficit so high that balancing it seems almost unattainable. I see a country with boatloads of corruption in government and big business everywhere. I see an education system that is gradually going downhill, so other countries are surpassing us for the first time, well, ever. I see a college stupdents who will be in debt for the rest of their lives because they are collectively $1 trillion in debt. I see a healthcare system that may be great, but is becoming unaffordable for most average citizens. I see a country that is starting to lose it's greatness and it's reputation of being so amongst other nations. I see a country divided between two parties that are so hell bent on proving that they are right and the other is wrong, that they are the best and the other one sucks eggs, that we have to choose between our left brain and our right brain instead of letting them work together.
Ladies, I beg of you. Don't let them trick you into believing that there aren't other, more important things you should be worrying about. I'm not telling you that those issues shouldn't be of some significance. They are important to me, and very much so. Just, please do not make them the most important. Please think more about the education your children are getting. Think more about the fact that female unemployment rates have gone up. Think about where your tax dollars are going, or how much you're paying for health insurance, or how businesses are shipping jobs overseas, or, hell, even gas prices.
Obama can look at you and smile and tell you you're getting free BC and can have as many abortions as you want to because it's your right, but if you don't agree with his plan for education or how he will try to reform Medicare/Medicaid, are you going to vote for him anyways? Perhaps you agree with Romney, that we should get rid of Roe v. Wade and make people pay for their contraceptives. But if you think his economic plan is going to fail and send the country into bankruptcy, are you still going to vote for him?
I'm not asking you to throw away your morals and beliefs. On the contrary I believe that too many today live without them, which has muddled up everyone's persepective. I am not asking you to do anything short making educated decisions. Ladies, we need to be informed. And not just on what the media or the politicians think we need to be informed about. We need to be informed on everything. Get out there and read up on these guys. Not a Republican? Who cares? Watch the GOP Convention speakers anyways. Are you so right wing even Alex P. Keaton would seem like a bleeding heart liberal? Who cares? Listen to Elizabeth Warren anyways.
Another problem I have with these ads is when my 7 year old daughter says, "I would never vote for Mitt Romney because he hates women." And when I ask her where on earth she heard that, she says "A commercial! A woman was saying stuff about how Mitt Romney is against girls." I knew immediately which commercial she was talking about. Keep in mind that my daughter watches very little television and what she does watch is on early and is child appropriate (i.e. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy). So, she is not seeing commercials that are being run at specific times so as to avoid certain audiences (ahem, impressionable children).
What does that say about the way these political campaigns are being run nowadays? A 7 year old girl formulated a very strong opinion based on rhetoric and sensationalism. Say what you want about his politics, Mitt Romney has been married for 42 years, has 5 children, and 18 grandchildren. He stood by his wife's side through a battle with breast cancer and stands by her, still, as she battles Multiple Sclerosis. All politics aside, he is a loving husband who has been with the same woman for over 4 decades which is more than we can say about most people today. But clearly, this guy is a woman hater and a horrible person. See, I understand the ads and read between the lines on things. My daughter can't. She hears someone say something on television and she thinks it must be true - even if she doesn't remember or understand why they said it. What other things will I have to explain to my 7 year old that I'm not ready to explain to her, because we have no regard for who may be listening to us wage war on our political enemies? And people wonder why I limit what she watches on television so much.
Listen, ladies, I'm getting long winded here so I'll wrap it up. Please just remember that we are not out to win a war about our bodies and who has control over them. We are part of a larger army, whose prime goal it is to choose who is going to run our country for the next four years. We have been entrusted, just like every man in this country, with the privilege of voting for the leaders of this country (Note I said privilege. Remember, girls, we had to fight pretty hard for that one, and not so long ago.) So, let's not waste it by breaking up into smaller groups and only voting on a few key points. Let's band together, read up, study, investigate, and cast well-informed votes based on what we think is important to us, not what they make us believe is most important to us.
And, ya know what? If those two issues are what is most important to you, then, by all means, vote based on those. But promise me that you do it because you chose to. Not because it was what they chose for you.
We are more than birth control and abortion, girls. So much more. Let's get out there and prove it.