WOW2, the sister diary to This Week in the War on Women, covers Women’s History. It posts four Saturdays a month. There are five Saturdays in this month, and usually I wouldn’t be posting on this Saturday, as my husband and I are celebrating his birthday this week.
However, I’ve been thinking a lot about how Democrats can increase their chances of gaining a true majority in the both the House and the Senate, as well as expanding their presence in state legislatures and governor’s mansions. Something clicked when I ran across the website for the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
I’d heard the term “Reproductive Justice” before but failed to distinguish it from reproductive rights. But as I read on, I found it covers more than being pro-choice:
From the website:
“Reproductive Justice (RJ) means the human right to control our sexuality, our gender, our work, and our reproduction. That right can only be achieved when all women and girls have the complete economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.
At the core of Reproductive Justice is the belief that all women have
- the right to have children;
- the right to not have children and;
- the right to nurture the children we have in a safe and healthy environment.”
The expansion of what they are advocating and defending shifts the debate from how legal abortion should or shouldn’t be, to women’s rights as human beings, a much larger subject that’s harder to vilify, since it includes the rights to have and to nurture children.
Democrats, from the right-of-center “Moderates” to the Progressive Left, have allowed the Extreme Right to set the terms of engagement, forcing us to spend far too much time defending our positions and not enough attacking theirs.
And the majority of Democratic politicians present themselves as the ‘reasonable’ party, with measured speeches aimed at the college educated, and assuming a level of issues awareness which many Americans simply don’t have.
The media chops everything down to sound bites, and the people screaming “Baby Killers!” “Freedom!” and “Second Amendment!” seem more effective in getting their message across.
Yet the majority of Americans don’t want abortion bans, do want restrictions on who can buy military-grade weapons, really want better pay, and are at least somewhat concerned about the environment and climate change. A substantial majority are not anti-vaxx, though a growing number are “vaccine hesitant” because of all the confusing arguments. They don’t like book banning, and a strong majority support same-sex marriage. One poll showed only 25% of Americans “have confidence” in the far-right majority U.S. Supreme Court, and no polls I saw showed a higher positive number than 39%. Overturning Roe v Wade has already caused a backlash against Republican candidates promoting more restrictions and bans.
So with all this to campaign on, Democrats should be winning more races by bigger numbers.
I think Democrats must start campaigning against Republicans by shifting the terms of engagement, and begin that shift by calling the GOP what it has become:
The Republican Death Cult
You cringe, thinking that’s “too extreme”?
Let’s make a list:
- In 2022, according to the CDC, 20,953 American were murdered with firearms. Republicans vote against all legislation that would restrict ownership of military-grade weapons, or even making them harder to purchase, in spite of the ever-escalating number of Americans dying in mass-murder events or taking their own lives with firearms.
- Red States are the biggest factor in the U.S. having both the highest Maternal Mortality Rate and the highest Infant Mortality Rate of any “developed” nation. In spite of lip service to the “sanctity of life,” Republicans vote consistently against medical care and nutritional support programs during and after pregnancy for poor women and their babies.
- When Trump, as President of the United States, encouraged people to try untested and dangerous “cures” and refuse to wear masks, how many died needlessly? Some estimates say over 400,000 Americans.
- Republicans vote against universal healthcare. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but U.S. life expectancy declined in the last three years. Over 67% of U.S. health insurance is from private, for-profit companies. Almost 10% of Americans still don’t have any health insurance at all – the highest rates of uninsured are all in Red States – and impact people of color at a much higher rate than white people.
- Overall, 69% of Americans are in favor of the U.S. prioritizing developing alternative energy, like wind and solar power, and the U.S. becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 90% of Democrats are in favor, but 53% of Republicans are opposed.
- 77% of Republicans are in favor of the death penalty, compared to 63% of Democrats who oppose the death penalty.
- The Extreme Right “base” of the Republican Party is openly calling for killing trans and gay people. The new platform of the Texas Republican Party defines homosexuality as an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and opposes “all efforts to validate transgender identity.”
- In January 2023 alone, over 120 bills were introduced by Republicans in state legislatures to restrict LGBTQ+ rights, including banning transgender student participation in sports, censoring or banning drag performances, and banning books with LBGTQ+ characters. In South Carolina, Republicans want to amend the state’s constitution, so the state would only recognize a person’s biological sex at birth “without regard to an individual’s psychological, chosen, or subjective experience of gender.”
- Republicans want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. Currently, over 52 million older Americans collect Social Security benefits. Many would be plunged into poverty and lose access to healthcare – their ‘Golden Years’ would be short and brutal.
- Extreme Right terrorism is on the rise, aimed at racial, LGBTQ+, women’s autonomy, and political targets. In May 2023, President Biden declared white supremacy the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S.
It’s past time to change the terms of engagement. Let’s call them out relentlessly on their deadly agenda.
And let’s declare the Democratic Party “The Party of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Please Note: These are my personal opinions, and may not be shared by other members of This Week in the War On Women.
WOW2 will resume its regularly scheduled posts of Women’s History on Saturday, July 22, 2023.