Ah – election season. A time where flimsy plastic signs fill the medians and political debates seem to be America’s favorite pastime. I normally try to avoid discussing these formal battles-of-BS, not as much because I’m uninterested but because it really gets boring when every other conversation or Facebook post is about them. In fact, despite having watched at least part of every debate (including the GOP nominee debates), the only time I bought up my opinions of them were to suggest two additions to the debate that I personally think should have been added a long time ago:
1. Candidates are fact-checked as they speak and, when they lie (or cite bad statistics, etc.), are given a small electrical shock.
2. The last debate should be a dance-off.
In the most recent debate, however, one of the phrases used by one of the participants did particularly catch my attention and got me thinking more seriously. The phrase or, more specifically, the word I’m talking about is republican candidate Mitt Romney’s use of “binders”, a topic I’m sure many of you have heard a great deal about since the debate. When I first heard it I didn’t have much of a knee-jerk reaction as a lot of people seemed to. At first, I didn’t even understand what the big fuss was because, when in context, it really didn’t seem that bad. What he was trying to say was that as the governor of Massachusetts his cabinet had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in the country. This is true and I think it’s a very good thing. I do take issue with a few other things though. When describing how it came to be that his cabinet included so many women, he said that he approached women’s groups to find them when in actuality there was only one group called MassGAP, a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed to put more women in high-level government positions. Also, the group was planning to work with whichever administration was elected, and MassGAP actually approached him, not the other way around.
Those are just the issues I take with that one comment. Along side them is the entire political past of the GOP candidate. Two of the biggest offenses in this topic- highlights if you will- were his support of the Blunt Amendment and his comments regarding Griswold v. Connecticut.
The Blunt amendment was a bill introduced to essentially restrict access to birth control. Despite the fact that this act was opposed by 67% of Americans according to Daily Kos/SEIU Weekly State of the Nation Poll, Romney continued in his support of the amendment. The case of Griswold v. Connecticut was of a similar nature. Griswold v. Connecticut ruled that a law banning the sale of contraceptives in Connecticut was unconstitutional. When asked about the case, Romney said, “I don’t believe they decided correctly”. Just to clarify, the law that was overturned by Griswold v. Connecticut banned the sale of contraception even to married couples. On top of this he’s stated that he’s planning to remove funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
His actions along with a poor choice of wording have taught Mitt an important lesson that most people learn much earlier in life: Women do not like to be categorized. Unfortunately for him instead of just losing a date or a girlfriend, Romney may lose 50% of the vote instead.