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NOW v. George W. Bush
By Gregory J. Hand
In late June nearly 1000 feminists, gathering in Philadelphia for the annual NOW (National Organization for Women) convention, elected forty seven year old Kim Gandy to replace outgoing NOW President Patricia Ireland, who has served in that position for the last ten years. Gandy, an attorney from Louisiana, has not only been a NOW officer for the past 14 years, but has also served as President of NOW in Louisiana and is credited with starting no less than 11 chapters in that state.
As a primer, NOW has special status with the mainstream media in that they are the apparent spokesperson for women all across the country. On issues that are supposed to concern women, NOW is clearly one of the premier 'go to' organizations for comment (as opposed to generally ignoring more conservative women's groups such as the Independent Women's Forum.) Not that they are the only group to enjoy this status. On issues involving homosexuals, GLAAD is that organization where the press goes, the NAACP for African-Americans, PETA for animal rights, and the Sierra Club on the environment. Even while leaving out a couple of organizations, as there can often times be several of them pushing the same agenda, is there an obvious pattern emerging here? (Hint: They are all radical, left wing organizations that are propped up to appear mainstream.)
But back to the topic at hand. Apparently women, as supposedly represented by NOW, don't like George W. Bush very much, if at all. In a phone interview with the Associated Press as the convention was wrapping up, Gandy apparently came out swinging, "I'll be president of NOW for the next four years and one of the things at the top of my agenda is sending George Bush to Texas." In addition to helping Bush pack his bags as something on her 'to do' list, she also sites, "From the Bush administration's attacks on women's rights to preparing for a vacancy on the Supreme Court, NOW activists have our hands full protecting the advances we've made together over the past decades and moving forward on women's rights." Sounds like a full plate.
Why, the naive observer might ask, would Gandy come out so strongly against the President, who has only been in office about six months? This is a man whose candidacy, it could be argued, was largely centered on attracting women voters in an all out effort to eliminate the alleged 'gender gap.' It was Bush who not only appeared on Oprah but hugged and kissed her as well, an important measure of his sensitivity towards women given the talk show host's popularity with that gender. It was Bush who talked to death about 'the children,' education, and any number of issues that were targeted at women voters, and it was Bush who referred to what was in his heart about as much as what was in his tax cut plan. But in return for all that and more he gets Gandy's accusatory, "He's missed no opportunity to take steps that would reverse any advances we've made." One would, from her whining, get the impression that the President isn't happy unless a woman is barefoot and pregnant, cooking over a hot stove with a load of laundry or two waiting in the corner, while her oppressive husband is watching a ball game in the next room.
Gandy continued, "He intends to stack the Supreme Court with right-wing and political extremists whose views are contrary to the advancement of women's rights." Make that abortion rights, which is apparently the organization's top priority. According to a Washington Post story, "Gandy said her immediate concern was preventing President Bush from appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion in the United States." It's good to see that fighting for a minor's right to get an abortion without her parent's knowledge or consent, or making sure that partial birth abortions are higher priorities then protecting women from domestic violence or workplace discrimination or harassment, or assisting women, especially single mothers struggling to make ends meet, in developing workplace skills and other assistance to lift them to better standards of living.
And NOW has a political action arm, NOW/PAC, to help them achieve the sorts of goals for which Gandy is relentlessly striving. But candidates for public office need to support certain agendas before getting that precious NOW/PAC endorsement. According to the NOW/PAC web site, "Candidates endorsed by NOW/PAC support reproductive freedom including no restrictions on abortion procedures, Medicaid funding for abortions, minors' access to services, and family planning funding..." Here we go again. All abortion, all the time. Poor Planned Parenthood must be feeling a little left out. And it is probably a safe bet to assume that these issues, among others to follow, are listed in order of importance to NOW.
After the abortion hurdle, for which there can be no compromise, ever, those endorsed by NOW/PAC would also have to support, "civil rights for all, including lesbian and gay rights, an Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, affirmative action and equal opportunity programs..." Interestingly enough, "equal rights for all" doesn't include a fetus in the womb. And lest we forget, any time the phrase 'civil rights' is used, in today's bastardized linguistics, it is short for putting the screws to anything male, anything white, and anything heterosexual.
And as an observation, why would a woman's organization be so interested in lesbian and gay (men's) rights? Since that is an issue of sexual orientation rather than gender, which is where a women's organization should be primarily focused, would that not be the dominion of gay rights organizations that would be better suited to handling that as an issue? Given that the original statement of intention for the organization states that, "The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men," how did this organization come, much like the Federal government, to get involved with so much outside of what would normally be considered their original purview? Do homosexual women deserve even more consideration than their heterosexual counterparts? Is there such a thing as being a victim, and then really being a victim?
NOW/PAC also requires, for its endorsement, that candidates support, "programs and funding to fight domestic violence...." However, recently from the NOW web site, "A message to your Senator is urgently needed to ask him/her to oppose the so-called Unborn Victims of Violence Act (author's emphasis) (UVVA, H.R. 503/S. 480); this dangerous bill is expected to be brought to the Senate this Congress. This bill passed the House in the end of April, with a vote of 252 to 172. This legislation is being championed as a measure that would limit domestic violence, but is actually nothing more than a poorly disguised attempt to elevate fetal rights. This bill expands the rights of a fetus to equal that of a woman who suffers the primary harm, even if the pregnancy is only weeks old and its presence is not known to the woman." What you have in the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is a bill that, according to NOW, "is being championed as a measure that would limit domestic violence," and that, despite NOW's objections, could realistically serve to obtain that worthy and important goal. But since it is coupled with elevating 'fetal rights,' and we certainly cannot have such 'rights' for what is ostensibly an unviable tissue mass, an effort to protect women from domestic violence is jettisoned because it could possibly threaten the 'right' to unfettered abortions. Priorities, priorities.
And lastly, the NOW/PAC requires that a candidate support, "promoting economic equity for women, including legislation to move women out of poverty, preserving the social safety net and protecting children at risk." But not protecting those children at risk of being aborted. And it would seem that these issues, which almost appear to be tossed in as an incidental aside, would not only be better served by being listed first in a display of those requirements for consideration for endorsement, but women in general would be better helped by NOW if "promoting economic equity for women, including legislation to move women out of poverty, preserving the social safety net and protecting children at risk," and not 24/7 abortion rights, were the primary focus of the organization.
With this political arm of NOW, Gandy threatened hell and brimstone on those that would go against the NOW agenda, "They have more to fear from women's votes than they have to fear from right-wing political and religious zealots," Gandy warned shortly after her election was announced early Sunday, apparently forgetting that a good number of these "right-wing political and religious zealots" are women who despise NOW and its agenda. And to follow up with that, she threatened that Senators who vote to confirm a justice who wants to outlaw abortion will "be put out of office by the women in their states."
Really? According to a recently released ABC News/Beliefnet poll, support for legal abortion in the United States slipped to its lowest level since the survey began in 1995. According to a Reuters story on the poll, "The poll, conducted by telephone from June 20 to 24, found that just over half, or 52 per cent, of Americans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, down from 59 per cent in January." And it continued, "Forty-three per cent said it should be illegal in all or most cases, the highest number since the poll started asking the question in 1995. The January poll found 39 per cent opposed in all or most cases." She better hope that that trend doesn't continue or else her threats begin to become even hollower.
And while not wanting to further rain on her parade given that she has just been elected, NOW's national membership, which has apparently climbed 10 per cent since the election of Bush, is now only standing at a half million, hardly an army, or even a battalion, with which to threaten politicians. Out of a U.S. female population of approximately 141,080,000, the barely registering per centage (.3544 per cent) of NOW members to the female population of a whole doesn't quite present the threat that Gandy promises. Not even close. And that half million is spread out over 550 chapters, some of which are actually in high schools. It is never too early to start the indoctrination. Just ask the environmental groups.
NOW, ironically enough, denies any sort of party affiliation. On a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on the site, in addition to the question, Where can I find a list of abortion providers?, (there is no question about locating battered women's shelters or any other public services to women) one can find the question, Is NOW affiliated with any one political party? NOW's answer to the question is that, "NOW is a non-partisan organization. Candidates of all political parties are eligible for endorsement by NOW/PAC and by state and local NOW Political Action Committee." Does anyone really believe that NOW is not a house organ for the Democratic Party? This is an organization that is supposedly committed to combating sexual harassment, but only provided that it comes by way of conservatives and Republicans. Bob Packwood and Clarence Thomas were reprehensible perverts. Bill Clinton and now Gary Condit seem just fine. The double standard is glaring, yet there are far too many people willing to ignore it in pursuit of the primary agenda, namely unregulated abortion rights.
They even had the audacity to go after Ralph Nader, Green Party candidate in the 2000 election and everyone's favorite advocate of massive wealth redistribution, claiming that he "is not interested in 'Gonadal' politics," "does not address women's rights issues," "has not worked on feminist issues," "is ill-informed about abortion rights," "has reaped millions attacking corporations," and his most heinous crime, that he "doesn't care if he helps elect Bush." How anyone can attack Ralph Nader, of all people, for being insensitive to progressive causes is almost dumbfounding. This is a man endorsed by notorious multimillionaire leftists like Susan Sarandon and Phil Donahue, amongst others, and whose campaign actually endorsed NOW's platform, only to find himself getting shafted by the very feminists he supports.
Gandy, in defeating defeated Toni Van Pelt, owner of a St. Petersburg travel agency and NOW's Florida chapter president, is taking over an organization that, in campaign speeches, Van Pelt had called on to "recapture the forefront of radical feminist activism." It could be successfully argued that while no one doubted their commitment to 'radical feminist activism,' NOW has already been at the forefront for quite some time, and will, with help from a sympathetic media, continue to do so. In that light, Van Pelt's defeat was caused by her inability to understand that she was championing something that had already long been accomplished.
How an organization so obsessed with not just being involved with 'radical feminist activism,' but at the 'forefront' no less, is given any sort of main stream recognition or credibility is just beyond belief. When George W. Bush is attacked as anti-woman by an organization that is given the legitimacy to speak on behalf of all women, despite its inability to garner much more than 1/3rd of one per cent of the female population in this country, it is almost laughable except for the fact that there is a mandate given to them by those in the media who would like to do their part in pushing NOW's agenda.
NOW can not, and really never has been able to, claim the right to speak as an authority on behalf of women in general. This is especially true given the facts that their membership is so abysmally low relative to the population for which they claim to speak, and that the female segment of the overall population is so enormous as to realistically deny the vast majority of such sweeping generalizations as to their wants or beliefs. You can safely generalize that the vast majority of women are against rape. But to warn that Senators who confirm pro-life Justices to the Supreme Court will, "be put out of office by the women in their states" is a blatant lie, and one that has been disproved time and time again. And yet, not surprisingly, Gandy was allowed to get away with it.
Tens of millions of women recoil at the thought of NOW purporting to speak on their behalf, yet Gandy and her like continue to ignore those opposing viewpoints, labeling them as some sort of extremism simply because they don't conform to her view of the world. But it is Gandy and NOW who are, by their 'radical feminist activism,' coupled with their refusals to even consider compromising on highly divisive issues such as abortion, the extremists. That they have a forum to profess their beliefs is one thing. To be given center stage to do so is something else.
Gregory J. Hand is currently a weekly columnist with NewsCorridor.com, and a contributing columnist with OpinioNet.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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