Why Are Women Treated as Second Class Citizens?
The week of August 19, 2012 was the week that Todd Akin didn’t want. Who’s Todd Akin? He’s the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri, running against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill. In an interview on a St. Louis television station on Sunday, August 19, 2012, six-term Representative Tom Akin, caused a huge stir with his comments about how women who are true rape victims rarely get pregnant.
“If it’s a legitimate rape,” he said, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (Quoting from the Channel 6 News page of the Kansas City, Missouri Star, August 22, 2012, MCT News Service.)
It’s this kind of antiquated, narrow-minded thinking that makes eyes roll, tongues to click and political parties squirm—especially when this particular seat was destined to be the GOP’s in November—or so they thought. Missouri is a Republican state, although moderate Democrat Claire McCaskill has served her state very well—reaching across party lines until the 2010 Congressional election saw more ultra conservative members (read “Tea Party”) arrive in Washington, DC, and who said “no” to compromise on nearly all issues.
And so there is the issue. The GOP wants McCaskill out and Akin in. However, Akin made a horrendous verbal abuse in front of God and everyone. Once again women are verbally abused by a man in power. Sound familiar? It’s been happening in this “New World” since the 1600’s when the Puritans demanded that everyone believe as they did and follow their religion and political rules. It matters for our discussion that the Puritans came to the New World from England to escape religious persecution. Instead, they set the pattern for hypocrisy in religious persuasion.
Further, women were thought to be witches in colonial Salem, Massachusetts and were burned at the stake as their punishment. We don’t do that anymore, but it doesn’t take much imagination to think it could happen again. In a free and thinking society, it couldn’t. However, verbal assaults, especially those like Akin’s, are dredged up from the deep dark recesses of twisted and ignorant minds. But why are we women still bombarded by antiquated and offensive verbal assaults?
I will venture my opinion as I did my book Democracy vs. Theocracy: The President and the Senate Will Decide YOUR FUTURE. Religion has been the big gorilla in the room since mankind decided there was a God—a higher power—a big guy in whom we must believe and worship. Before that, early mankind worshiped many gods and before that many goddesses. Before I get off on a tangent and away from the topic—women as second class citizens—let’s agree that you will seriously consider my words that religion has controlled all of society’s laws and mores since we were in loin cloths and gathered berries. If humans can recognize that we have spirituality and pay attention to it instead of man-made dogma we can move ahead as a species.
In the U.S. Constitution women are not even mentioned. At the time of the ratification of the Constitution, many plantation owners owned slaves—and those slaves: men, women and children, were chattel or collateral: property. The men of color were considered to be 3/5 of a white man’s worth when it came to voting privileges, so they could not vote. Not until the 14th Amendment, Section 1, did free slaves have the right to vote. But still…no women could vote. When the women held their convention at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, the men in power were on notice that they would keep struggling to get the right to vote. Check out Women’s Suffrage. Look up Susan B. Anthony’s and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s biographies.
With Akin’s comments he has taken the progress in assuring civil rights through settled law for every American back at least 100 years. The settled law to which I refer is Roe v. Wade—the decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 1973, “with a 7-to-2 majority vote in favor of Roe. Burger and Douglas’ concurring opinions and White’s dissenting opinion were issued along with the Court’s opinion in Doe v. Bolton (announced on the same day as Roe v. Wade). The Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny. “. [Quoted from Wikipedia.] The high court cited the 14th Amendment with due process and the right to privacy.
The patriarchal society in which we live has roots deep in most religions on the planet. Men are in control as deemed by a male God–a fact undisputed by even some women! And those women have shored up the concept that men should be in charge and women remain subservient. Subservient=second class. Do you still wonder why women are treated as second class citizens?
If you are not registered to vote—DO it NOW! And—ASK the tough questions of your Representatives in the House and Senators BEFORE the election! Where do they stand on the issues of abortion and religion and women as the second class? AND: these issues should be important to YOU as a woman or a man: the economy, health care, education, and perhaps immigration. Get the conversation started. And then go to the polls in November and vote!
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