With the Republican National Convention in full swing in Tampa, many eyes are focused on the upcoming Democratic one scheduled for next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s not that the Democrats anticipate any insurgency by rogue delegates like Ron Paul’s that have at times threatened to disrupt the Republican show. No, the big whoop-de-doo in Charlotte is about children and, more to the point, women with children. It seems that the Dems will only allow credentialed delegates, staff and media on the convention floor. That of course will include many women delegates, but not their children, if they happen to have any, and that has got the knickers of none other than Gloria Steinem in a giant knot. Read about it here (ABC News, 8/27/12).
It’s not only Steinem, but four state chapters of the National Organization for Women have thrown their weight behind – well, what? It’s not clear how Steinem, et al want things changed, although free on-site day care might be it. But what is clear is that, in keeping with a grand old tradition, they’re angry. They’re so angry in fact that what they say doesn’t make a lot of sense.
“Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women,” Steinem said in a statement. “It’s both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist.”Actually, I’m pretty sure that the Democratic National Committee is aware of the existence of children. In fact, part of its information packet for delegates includes a long list of daycare facilities available to all, but apparently that’s not good enough for Steinem and the minions of NOW. Of course, I expect no better from Steinem. After all, she’s the one who infamously claimed in writing that 150,000 women and girls in the U.S. die each year of anorexia. A quick call to organizations that support anorexia sufferers would have told her that the actual number was between 50 and 75, but being wrong by a factor of 2,000 – 3,000 fazed Steinem not a bit.
But beyond the sideshow antics, there is actually something going on here – a couple of things, in fact. The first is that feminists like Steinem have become emboldened by their own rhetoric. We all know about the Republican War on Women which, if it’s a war at all, is less against women than the kind of women NOW tends to recognize as such. Of course there are millions of women who vote Republican, who aren’t pro-choice and who don’t believe the government should mandate contraceptive coverage by insurance policies. But those aren’t the type of women radical feminists recognize as members of the female sex. I’ve never figured out just who they think they are, but there it is.
For months now, the drumbeat about the War on Women has grown louder and more than a few commentators have noticed that women need to vote Democratic in huge numbers for Obama to win. This is not news. So feminists like Steinem have decided that this is the time to try to bootstrap themselves into positions of even greater influence in the Democratic Party. Children at the convention look like their chosen litmus test. Will Steinem, et al be able to bend the Dems to their will on this “issue?” We’ll see. For the time being, the DNC is holding firm – no credentials, no admission.
That NOW has chosen children and daycare as the place to draw their line in the sand is no surprise. It’s always looked like one of the great mysteries of feminism to me; feminist organizations consistently push women to join the workforce, but just as consistently oppose fathers’ parental rights that would assist them in doing so. It flat doesn’t make sense until you realize that it makes perfect sense if the goal is to replace fathers with state-subsidized daycare. Then it all fits into place; mothers could work, children would be cared for at zero or reduced cost to moms and fathers would be completely out of the picture. To make sure fathers stay out of the picture until this brave new world comes into being, it’s necessary to rigidly oppose any and all improvements to fathers’ equal rights which, unsurprisingly, feminist organizations invariably do.
As if to underline the anti-dad part of their vision of the future, California delegate Susie Shannon said this:
“It’s either allow children on the floor or provide child care,” Shannon said. ”You can’t expect that every single woman who is a delegate can leave their child at home in another city for week and go to the convention.”Notice the entire absence of any concept of a father. Does Mom want to take a week off and attend the convention? Great, leave the kid with Dad. It works if the two are married and it works in most cases if they’re not. But Shannon, like the rest of the complainers, assumes there’s no dad to take care of the child. It’s exactly how feminists in positions of authority at NOW and other organizations see the world and their assumptions come in lock-step.
Which brings us back to the Democratic National Convention and feminist demands that the party provide free childcare for women delegates with children, with fathers conveniently ignored. It’s like a little demonstration project, just to let Dems know NOW hasn’t abandoned that part of its agenda.
The second interesting thing about the whoop-de-doo is that it looks like the feminist demands are going nowhere. That, I suspect, is because Democratic Party officials know that feminist votes are going exactly the same place – nowhere. After all, who are they going to vote for, Romney/Ryan? A Ron Paul write-in ticket? The Green Party? Not a chance. Democrats know that feminists will line up behind Obama come election day which renders moot all the bold words we’ve heard the past week or so. Steinem herself admitted as much.
While Steinem is critical of the Democratic Party this week, she was commending its leader for supporting women’s rights.Well, that’s setting the bar pretty low, which I guess is the point. Gripe as they will no one thinks these people aren’t going to vote for Obama in November.
“He understands that women are absolutely full human beings,” Steinem said of Obama in a video for his campaign.
“It’s sort of like a check your baby at the door kind of policy,” Shannon said. “If they want the mom vote and they want moms to participate and they want to say they are speaking for moms, they need to accommodate for them.”No, actually they don’t. And that too is a little demonstration project on the part of the party.
It’s a small fracas that reveals a lot.