I have sent this letter to the National Organization for Women in hopes they and Ms Clinton will listen, but I am not holding my breath ...
I am writing about your recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. I have been a feminist since the early 1970's. Over 35 years ago, when I voted for Dixie Lee Ray for governor of my state ~ which was a huge mistake ~ I learned an important lesson that voting for a woman simply because she is one, is not a good idea. I am wondering if your endorsement of Hillary Clinton is for the same reason because she has not been overly friendly to women's issues in her legislation.
More over on the other side ...
A few years ago Hillary Clinton went about the country with Joe Lieberman touting the "wonders" of Welfare Reform signed into law by her husband in 1996, which has plunged mothers and their families into lifelong poverty, thanks in large part to her avid support. To Mr. Lieberman and Ms Clinton, a McJob with low pay and no benefits is more important than a child having a parent at home if needed. They supported the horrible mandates being put on poor single mothers, over 80% who were married and over 70% of those that fled because of domestic violence. Legal immigrants are not allowed to receive the benefits of welfare. The only remaining benefit left for immigrants is housing, which pits millions of poor mothers and immigrants against each other, all to vie for the tiny piece of the pie that has been left for them. All pay taxes, around 19% of their incomes, while the rich pay less than 5% of their incomes in taxes and Ms Clinton is well aware of this.
Our government and corporations should be supporting working mothers ~ and they should also be supporting women for the choice to actually BE mothers if they are called to be, because that work is just as valuable, if not more valuable to her country than working any paid job. Here is why:
People who sniff and say they "should never have to support other people’s kids" should take their short sightedness a little farther ... With that thinking and since each generation pays for their parents’ Social Security, then why should MY kids pay their Social Security? Why should my kids fight in their wars, run their country or repair and maintain their infrastructure? Who is going to take care of these people who think they are so smart and so entitled when they are old and why should my kids do it? If people think rich kids are going to choose a career of changing other people's’ diapers, they better start re-thinking that one. And Oh. You had better become a multi-millionaire or start learning how to dig that sewage trench with your cane and climb a telephone pole with your granny boots since as you say, why should MY kids pay taxes to maintain your infrastructure or do that work for you either? Because see, parenting IS worthwhile work that contributes to our country's future.
When Ms Clinton went around with Joe Lieberman crowing about how wonderful Welfare Reform is, she is well aware that it is barring low income women from going to school. Before 1996, over 70% of women on welfare were able to get college degrees and train for a job that paid a livable wage. After Welfare Reform was made into law, this has all been banned for low income women, so mothers can no longer seek higher education, train for a job that would pay a livable wage, nor even obtain her GED.
Most of these women have barriers that would flatten the likes of Ms Clinton, whose wealthy and privileged family would never leave her bereft ~ not even if she became a crack whore. Instead she appears to have little interest as to what low income families are going through, and it is fine with her that these mothers only have 2-5 years of already extremely meager compensation that is less than 1/2 of the lowest poverty level. Oh and by the way, neither welfare assistance nor the preconceived poverty level have been adjusted for decades. Poor women and their children are simply thrown off the bus permanently. They are left to fend for themselves even if they have serious barriers such as the parent and/or child is disabled, they are homeless, there are no livable wage jobs in their area, there are is no childcare available, and there is no reliable transportation. None of that matters, according to Ms Clinton. Why these bereft mothers should just pull themselves up by bootstraps they don't even have, doncha know!
How humane of these elected representatives like Hillary Clinton to decide the government of We The People can pay for unjust wars that is killing thousands of our kids and Iraqis, but hey if we even recognize she exists at all, let's stomp hard on the American mother and make her our excuse to demonize motherwork ~ especially if she is poor ...
Now, thanks to Welfare Reform, the only thing a woman can do that is considered worthwhile is sacrifice her children and her family in order to give her body, mind and soul over to some bottom line corporation who will dispose of her when they think she is too old or unusable, treat her with disdain for all she does outside their walls, and pay her little or nothing so she cannot even support her family with the pittance they pay. If she ends up in crisis, alone and without support, ‘Well so be it, you are on your own " How skewed is that?
Sooo let's get this straight ...according to Welfare Reform, all the work a mother does is not "doing anything" for her community because she does not get paid, BUT a minimum wage job such as working for a fast food joint is "doing something" more significant??? WTF?
Welfare Reform has made sure that all mothering is now codified into law as "doing nothing". Think about that a moment ... If you think laws in this country only apply to certain people, you better go back and read your Constitution and Bill of Rights, because American laws are supposed to pertain to everyone. Laws are not supposed to be enacted for just a certain citizen like low income mothers ~ so do not think for one moment this law does not apply to every parent in this country!
As I told Joan Blades from MomsRising, a group of wage-earning mothers asking for paid family leave, "How can you expect the government or corporations to respect and support women by enacting policies and laws for them if they do not see that taking care of family IS a job and should be considered worthwhile work worthy of society’s support?" When this question was asked of legislators, Family Medical Leave, paid leave for workers taking care of other family members, was enacted this year in my state.
So, unless Ms Clinton apologizes or takes a different stance publicly, I can't bring myself to forgive her for adding to this disdain of traditional women's work nor can I forgive N.O.W. for ignoring the plight of these hard working mothers. Because it was codified into law that the work of all unpaid traditional work women have done from the beginning of humankind is now "doing nothing". As if the care of a newborn, the care of a sick spouse, the care of a disabled relative, taking care of neighbors, giving time to her schools and community, or the care of a parent ~ well that is just not contributing anything significant.
N.O.W. really should be ashamed of themselves for ignoring these women and how they have been left to twist in the wind. The women you and and Hillary Clinton condemn to permanent poverty are fine women of every race, nationality and creed, who are my dear friends. When I see the needless suffering they endure because of such elitist thinking, I am furious. I know well educated, upper income people who are well meaning but to be frank with you, our low income sisters are some of the wisest, smartest, most creative, generous, and resourceful people I know. Even if you refuse to do so, we will continue to pressure Ms Clinton to explain herself and we ask you both, "Why do you suppot all the roadblocks thrown at low income mothers by those rich white Heritage Foundation men who wrote Welfare Reform? Why don't you stand for and respect these women for raising the next generation to take care of our country? Why do you expect them to do this under third world conditions?"
Therefore I am deeply disappointed in your endorsement of Ms Clinton for the reasons stated above. I doubt I will hear back from you, since your organization is so proud of endorsing someone who has shown so much disdain for the work of women, especially low income women. I have heard from other writers like me, you do not respond to our comments, so in spite of your name that pretends you are for women's rights, poor women do not appear to be very important to you from an organization that SAYS it is for women. Uh-huh, right.
Cat In Seattle
P.S. I guess you do respond when people write to you ...Your response I just received in my email is an automated response containing a form to contribute with a credit card. AARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!