Some people are offended by the idea that there is some kind of "War on Women" going on here in the United States. Of course, Republicans suggest that in spite of the fact that there have been nearly a thousand anti-women bills introduced nationwide since March 2011, the "real" War on Women is, as John McCain puts it, nothing more than a ruse to, "distract citizens from real issues that really matter" or perhaps, "give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television."
In February GOP legislators tried to deny women equal protection under the law regarding health insurance packages awarded to employees of religious institutions as part of a wage/benefit plan. The GOP re-framed the debate to make it sound like taxpayers were paying for the slutty desires of college coeds, and tried to paint the issue as a morally ambiguous religious issue instead of what it was, a clear violation of the rights of women.
When I saw that panel of mostly religious men lined up to testify about this issue, and read about the fact that Sandra Fluke was denied the chance to speak out for me and women like me, I was enraged. Like many women in America, I was called to action.
This weekend the was the culmination of many women choosing to act, choosing to stand up for each other, choosing to fight back in this, very real, War on Women. Nationwide, thousands of women gathered to participate in We Are Women events. Every state had activities. Some states gathered thousands of participants. Different states had different events. Here in Cheyenne, Wyoming we held a silent protest. In Oregon and several other states there were also performances by groups known as The Raging Grannies. Sacramento's protest was home to a group, RTSV who raffled off $500 college scholarships in drawings dubbed, “Rush Limbaugh thinks I’m a slut,” one of which was won by UC Davis junior linguistics major Rachael Delehanty.
All day, on Sunday, I was hypnotized by the response of American women. I visited all 50 We Are Women state Facebook pages, I laughed at the creative and witty protest signs, the various Raging Granny performances and the snarky look of a Missouri woman dressed as a miffed Lady Liberty. In my head, I could not help but hear the echo of Mrs. Banks on Mary Poppins, as she sang "Our daughters daughters will adore us, as they sing in grateful chorus: Well done Sister Suffragette!"
It wasn't until I came to the Colorado page that I stopped feeling nothing but immense pride and started to feel that fiery anger in the pit of my being that smolders when I see women being mistreated. In spite of the fact that the group had a fabulous turn out of more than 2,000 participants in their well planned, well received event, the local press simply isn't picking up the story.
According to the press release, ignored by the local press such as the Denver Post and Fox 31 News Denver, there were at least 12 democratic legislators in attendance at the event, including: House Representatives- Crisanta Duran, Lois Court, Su Ryden, Jonathan Singer, Beth McCann, Rhonda Fields, Joe Miklosi, State Senators- Morgan Carroll, Gail Schwartz, Betty Boyd, Linda Newell, Pat Steadman, Brandon Shaffer, and Former Legislator, Dianna Primavera. Many candidates for the 2012 race were present as well, including: Dave Anderson, Joe Miklosi, Armando Valdez, Mike Foote, JM Fay, Tracy Kraft Tharp, Paul Rosenthal, Lorna Idol, Jonathan Singer, Pier Cohen, and Mary Parker. Every politician in attendance, with the exception of two Independents, were Democrats. No Republicans legislators or candidates bothered to show.
The woman who organized this grassroots event, Meg Fossinger, "was thrilled with the diversity of the speakers who were there. The roster included everyone from award-winning national poet Susi Q, to NAACP's Rosemary Harris Lytle, to some amazing politicians like Representative Joe Miklosi and Senator Brandon Schaffer, who are challenging incumbents who do not support women's rights. It was an incredibly inspiring day for women in Colorado." In reading of the days events, and the efforts of the group, I was most impressed by one line, in the bottom of the press release, "Your time, your money, and your opinions, matter."
That's what this is really about isn't it? The desperate cry of our nation's women to simply matter. All we want is to have our time, our health, our opinions, our voices, our efforts, matter. So long as the women of our nation think that they don't matter, this War on Women is real and worth fighting. Anyone who'd tell you otherwise is the enemy. The men and women of Colorado, who participated this last Saturday deserve recognition, and if the conservative media of Colorado won't offer it, I sure as heck will. Thank you. Thank you, all who participated, for standing up for women like me.
The GOP can't say the War on Women doesn't exist, while drafting nearly a thousand anti-woman laws in a year's time. American Women are too smart to be distracted by GOP smoke and mirrors, we have mobilized. We are not about to stand idle while our rights to our own bodies become second priority to The GOP's God. We are not about to sit quietly while our rights are chipped away, a thousand bills at a time. The fact is that we women matter. The GOP might like to pretend that they can alienate us and our ovaries over a few old white guys' rosaries, but the fact is that they can't. We are the 51%. We all know the truth - Behind every great nation stands its women.