It was clear last night that the Republican Party understands what could lose them this election – WOMEN!
In the wake of Representative Akin’s comments on rape, Representative Ryan’s comments about conception, and the new addition to the party’s platform which would outlaw hormonal birth control and allow any medical provider to refuse patients’ treatment, the Republicans spent last night appealing to the ladies.
Up first: Rick Santorum and his insinuations that getting married is a woman’s only way to avoid poverty and that non-traditional family are breaking our country:
Graduate from high school, work hard, and get married before you have children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just two percent. Yet if you don't do these three things you're 38 times more likely to end up in poverty!
We understand many Americans don't succeed because the family that should be there to guide them, and serve as the first rung on the ladder of success, isn't there or is badly broken.
Up next was our own lovely Governor Nikki Haley, who proclaimed that all women look up to Ann Romney – because she’s a wife and mother:
Ann is the perfect combination of strength and grace. Ann Romney makes all women proud by the way she has conducted her life as a strong woman of faith, as a mother, as a wife and as a true patriot. She is an amazing inspiration for me and for so many women across this country.
The keynote address was given by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who focused the beginning of his speech on his mother and the lessons he learned from her:
The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting -- but that respect could grow into real, lasting love. Now, of course, she was talking about women.
Then there was Ann Romney herself, espousing the goodness of Moms and “realities” that women in this country (albeit married mothers who don’t have jobs outside the home):
It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.
It's the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters. You know it's true, don't you? You're the ones who always have to do a little more.
You know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done. You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they're doing. You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone when you call at night.
And to top it all off, there were these beauties. According to Ann Romney, men don't know as much as women, don't work as hard, and don't understand what goes on in their own homes. What does that say about her running-for-President husband?
I'm not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there's a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!
And that's fine. We don't want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It's all the little things — that price at the pump you just can't believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. It's all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.
As an unmarried woman with no children who works to support herself, I was insulted by the evening’s speeches. According to this convention, I am “breaking” America by not being married, I will only earn respect by becoming a wife and mother, and I will only know true “work” when I have kids who write book reports.
Clearly, the Republicans are trying to reach out to soccer moms who have been abandoning the party in droves. Women are not “single-issue” voters, as Nikki Haley put it, but we’re also not one dimensional. We are more than wives, mothers and daughters. We are citizens and voters and educated members of this society. We can be addressed on a level above simply “you’re the only one who fills up the car” – and more than that, we demand it!
We do care about our futures, as well as the future lives of our children –and that’s exactly why we care about a platform that removes our right to basic, healthcare, decreases education opportunities and thinks that the only way that we can earn respect is to get back in the kitchen.