Thursday, July 20, 2006

Can NOW please stop endorsing men and foiling women?

(NOTE: NOW endorsed the "Every Open Seat A Woman's Seat" strategy at its 2004 national convention.)

Wednesday my caller ID read 718-604-7500 -- and who should it be but Congressional candidate Chris Owens (NY11), calling me in Miami for support. Huh?

When I told him that for all intents and purposes I was for Yvette Clark in that race, he replied: "Would you support her if you knew she wasn't good on women's issues?" "Are you telling me she isn't," I asked. When he started to talk about his involvement in NARAL -- and don't get me wrong, Chris is a sharp guy and I told him so -- I cut him short and asked, "Are you telling me Yvette is not pro-Choice?" She is not a leader on the issue, I was advised.

And I told Chris Owens that Choice was not the most important issue to me or most of the women in this country. We care also about health care, social security, and, of course, gender discrimination. Would I turn my back on a woman running for an OPEN SEAT just because she wasn't out in front on the Choice issue? And when are we going to realize that it is not exactly productive to demand that candidates be spokespersons for our issues?

Chris advised me that because of his feminist activities he had been endorsed by Brooklyn NOW -- someone had given him my phone number based on the fact that I am pro-Choice, so that he could call and tell me that he was better on women's issues than Yvette Clark! What is wrong with this picture?

When is NOW and its fellow travelers going to realize that as long as they continue to endorse men over women they are only continuing to empower men? Since when have men been in front on these issues overall more than women after elected anyhow? Studies have even shown that Republican women forward women's issues more than Democrat men on the state level, not to mention the disengagement of so many women from any so-called feminist agenda because of it emphasis on Choice. No wonder there is no real women's movement in the country -- but let's not get off on that tangent this time.

Let's just say that women need to endorse and support only women totally until we achieve parity -- something men seem to grasp more than women. When there is no equality there is no fairness -- and the misguided notion that we must fair to men feminists or that we can count on them to deliver is just that, misguided! Each time NOW endorses a man, not only are limited resources squandered, but we continue with the three steps forward two steps back (at best) minuet. This only perpetuates the status quo, and does NOT empower women!

Once more with feeling: This only perpetuates the status quo, and does NOT empower women!


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