Friday, October 26, 2012

“Why should women be paid equal to men?”

I have tried fairly successfully to avoid participating in rampant political debates.  Heck, I made the “mistake” of using one of Ann Romney’s quotes as a type of analogy in a piece on work layoffs, and I received hate mail for my efforts.  I can handle that.  I am one to agree to disagree when it comes to politics.  I’m pretty certain that any argument I could come up with would never change anyone’s mind or their views. 

In the past week or so, several news articles have piqued my interest, really surprised me, or just plain managed to throw my proverbial Irish temper into a twist.  I’ll start with the temper. 

Ann Romney is at it again.  Speaking to a group of mothers for Mitt, she was asked about equal pay for equal work and the Lilly Ledbetter legislation.  Her answer was about as archaic and inane as saying a woman should be seen and not heard, while barefoot, pregnant and in her home, the only place where she belongs.  After all, she should be happy to be a housewife that is taken care of by her magnanimous husband.  And if she happens to work outside her home, she should be happy and not complain that a male doing the same job is getting paid at a substantially higher rate.

Few things anger me more that seeing women being used.  Paying a woman less for the same tasks is a form of servitude.  It is a way for men who feel threatened by intelligent and capable women to keep them oppressed.  They consider themselves to be the breadwinners and therefore more deserving of higher pay. 

Here’s a few facts from the Census Bureau.

In 2011, there were 5 million stay at home moms.  This is down from 5.3 million in 2008. 
In 2011, 23 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15 had a stay-at-home mother.
In 2011, there were 10 million single mothers living with children younger than 18.  This is up from 3.4 million in 1970.

Let’s review.  Only 23% of women in a married situation with kids were stay-at-home moms.  The rest are out working, likely because their traditional breadwinner is not making enough to achieve financial stability. 

If 23% = 5 million stay-at-home moms, then the working 77% = >16 million working moms.  We are not counting the massive numbers of women working who no longer have children under the age of 15 at home.

There were 10 million single mothers with kids under 18.  No magnanimous male breadwinners are taking care of them.  They have to be mother, father, and breadwinner as best they can. 

In my experience, most truly professional women, be they lawyers, doctors, dentists, engineers, or whatever their chosen career are more proficient, more skilled, and better performers than their male counterparts.  Do you know why?  Because they had to work harder, test higher, be smarter, and put up with crap no man ever had to put up with to achieve their goals of careers in areas traditionally occupied by men.  I see this experience repeated in women at all levels in all jobs from white collar to blue.

For Ann Romney to say that wanting to be equal in the eyes of the law is “detrimental” to our future is ludicrous.  She also said Who’s going to want to hire a woman, or for that matter, even marry a woman who thinks she is the same, if not better than a man at any job. It’s almost laughable. C’mon now ladies, are you with me on this?”  Does she really expect any woman with a brain to agree?  A friend recently told me that Mrs. Romney reminds her of a “Stepford Wife” and I’m beginning to wonder.

Second, I shared a facebook link to a video that contained numerous influential Republicans speaking very unfavorably about Mitt Romney.  What they said was nothing new.  Who was saying it was eye-opening.  Yes, quotes can be taken out of context, but the things they were saying would not have been changed by any amount of context.  Rudy Giuliani spoke at length.  Rick Santorum and John McCain were more than clear.  And Newt was not particularly verbal, but no context was needed.  “Question:  Are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?  Newt:  Yes.  Question:  You are calling Mitt Romney a liar?  Newt:  You seem shocked.  Yes.”  I’m not sure how that could be viewed as anything other than what it was…a very direct answer to a specific question. 

Third, I was surprised.  Colin Powell publicly endorsed PresidentObama.  There are some racists who think there is only one reason for that…shared culture.  I disagree.  I admit, I am a registered Democrat, but I have never been one to vote the party line.  I voted for Bush the Elder, but not Bush the Younger.  I considered voting for McCain until he made the fateful mistake of accepting Palin as his running mate.  I have to say that if Colin Powell had run, I would have voted for him.  I look into the backgrounds and records of the candidates.  I look at their voting records and I watch for consistency on the issues, especially the issues of importance.  I think Colin Powell believes in the President and has no faith in the Republican candidate.  I don’t think race has anything to do with his endorsement.  As evidenced above, he is not the only influential Republican with no faith in their candidate.  As a matter of fact, it seems that most of Mitt Romney’s support comes from very rich banking and corporate moguls.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Likely it’s the same thing that is wrong with finding out at the 11th hour that some (not all) voting machines and software in Ohio are provided by a Hart Intercivic.  Let’s try to unwind the path.  H.I.G. Capital’s cofounder and several of its directors previously worked for none other than Bain.  Same said cofounder was a donor to the Romney campaign, and H.I.G. is a huge contributor to Mitt’s PAC organizations.  As in investment capital firm, H.I.G. has numerous investments, and Tagg Romney’s company has investments in some of those funds run by Romney fundraisers and former colleagues that also manage a fund that is invested in none other than Hart Intercivic, the voting machine company.  Although there is no direct link from one end of the chain to the other, this whole situation gives me pause.  Even if Tagg is completely innocent and has no knowledge of any of this, investors in Hart Intercivic have given enormous amounts of money to the Romney campaign.  This is a huge conflict of interest.  I now have no faith that voting machine votes for either candidate will be accurately counted.  Therefore, I encourage everyone to vote early on paper ballots.  It may seem old fashioned, but sometimes you just have to go back to go forward.