Taking issue with 'women's' issues
© by Barbara Anderson

The Eagle-Tribune
Sunday, September 28, 2014


“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore…”

Helen Reddy, 1972

And now it seems those lyrics mean that women roar only about imagined assaults on their reproductive rights, while rolling over when government rolls all over their rights to efficient, effective, affordable government. And when did so many of them begin to insist that men not roar, but instead use their inside voices?

I’ve been attending campaign events for my favorite candidates, including Charlie Baker, but one event you didn’t see me at was “Women for Charlie” in Boston last week, partly because I don’t enjoy going to Boston anymore, and mostly because I don’t do events that begin “Women for” anyone.

I could attend a function called “Taxpayers for Charlie” or “Citizens Desperate for Effective State Management for Baker” or just “People who Support Charlie Baker Because Overall They Agree with Him on More Issues Than They Agree With His Opponent” -- any group defined by its common sense, not the fact that it’s made up of girls.

What’s the point of dividing voters by gender? Both men and women belong to groups called conservatives and liberals, statists and libertarians. I do know that in many respects, not just physical differences, men and women are different; I’ve read “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” and watched the sitcom “Friends.” And what is it about the Three Stooges that so many men seem to find hilarious? But I can’t think of any reason why there’s a gender gap on political issues and candidates, though I know from experience there is.

With Proposition 2 1/2 , on the statewide ballot in 1980, we were told by exit pollsters that it won with both Republican men and women, but with a higher percentage of men; that it lost with both Democratic men and women, but with a higher percentage of women. It won with independent men, lost with independent women.
The majority of men and women voted for Ronald Reagan, but it was a larger majority of men. So I recognize the gender gap, but I can’t imagine why it exists.

I’m a woman. Martha Coakley is a woman. Other than the reproductive system, we have nothing in common, agree on nothing, so why would political consultants assume other women would support either one of us as if we were interchangeable?

Why do male politicians believe they can’t win women’s support if they vigorously debate? Do they assume that we are genetically clueless about politics because early women were passive gatherers, while early men were aggressive hunters? Maybe, but that was sooo long ago…

And yet, some male politicians, allegedly descended from long-ago fearless hunters, pander to the descendants of the berry-pickers. I’m told that in Massachusetts, they have no choice but to tremble before the 54 percent of voters who are women and, we’re told by Democrats, have certain non-negotiable demands on subjects that aren’t even on the table like birth control and abortion, and now the NFL.

Hey, if you’re a man, stand up and act like one. Women: stand up and act like men, too. Have strong opinions on Massachusetts issues, none of which are the tenure of the head of the National Football League! I saw that video too, of the woman some football player beat senseless in an elevator. I was appalled until a few minutes later I learned she’d later married the brute. Hey, if she doesn’t care, why should we? I never looked at that issue again. But Coakley and NOW demanded that Charlie Baker say the NFL commissioner should be fired for not adequately addressing domestic violence, which he then obediently said.

Meanwhile, the truly fearless Mike Beaudet of local Fox 25 News came to interview me about the deputy director of field operations for Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife, whom he caught on camera spending his days drinking at a strip joint in Rhode Island, then driving home in his state car. Can the management of this state possibly get worse? Children missing, dead, from the care of the Department of Children and Families. Deaths from meningitis due to failed oversight from a state compounding center. State lab results faked. A state employee using money from a town’s pension fund to feed his drug addiction. Welfare fraud. Increased city costs from Illegal immigration. State Health Connector and Department of Revenue websites not working properly. Out-of-control bus maintenance costs at the MBTA. Flawed state oversight while the elderly are harmed in assisted-living residences.

Yet the number of state employees earning more than $100,000 increases, to almost 9,000 last year, many of them from a state college system that graduates young people in serious debt.

Which of these issues are of interest only to men? Why wouldn’t women want the commonwealth fixed as much as men would, and elect a proven crisis manager like Charlie Baker? Why isn’t he allowed to show anger about the Patrick administration scandals?

After watching my appearance on the Fox news item, above, I saw a story about Charlie discussing a campaign event on camera. A woman reporter started to ask about campaign ads and the candidate, already leaving, smiled as he said, “This is gonna be the last one, sweetheart”; then I heard “I’m kidding” as he left the scene. Later he called to apologize. She accepted his apology. Stay tuned for the weather…

I am woman, and I am outraged at the waste of my taxpayer dollars, the jobs that aren’t getting done, the state and country that are being mismanaged. Fortunately, I am allowed to roar, while once-strong men whimper their apologies to any woman who may or may not have been offended by almost anything at all.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.

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