Wednesday, October 08, 2008

At the DNC: The Women's Caucus

The Women’s Caucus meeting held the final day of the Democratic National Convention proved newsworthy.

There, several speakers exhorted the crowd to encourage women to run for office. Obligingly, several young women in my social circles have been asked whether they have considered doing so. As the ladies in my social circles tend to be disgruntled conservative Democrats, the Women’s Caucus leaders would regard many of them to be the “wrong kind” of women, but they should be more careful about what they wish for.

Women’s Caucus speakers’ rhetoric about the advancement of women provides an appetizing irony in retrospect, considering the hostile reaction to the GOP’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin one day later.

One asserted that women bring “different perspectives.” Certainly, Palin was not the difference she had in mind.

Speakers lamented how many more women were seated in foreign parliaments as compared to the U.S. former Vermont Governor Madeline Kunin told how she saw how many women were in Rwanda’s parliament and asked a female parliamentary leader why this was so. “For the survival of our children” was her touching reply.

The former governor’s remarks that women need to agitate “for the survival of our children, and children all over the world” patently clashed with speakers’ repeated support for that certain “women’s issue” which will be discussed below.

Howard Dean made another appearance and provided a gem quote for an unscrupulous reporter. Mentioning how the Democrats’ electoral woes were aggravated by hostile secretaries of state, he quoted the old saying “It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes.”

“We count the votes now,” he added, stating his belief that the Democrats will use this power for good.

With such a potent sound bite, it’s amazing Republican media outlets did not exploit it as a potential “Macaca moment” to score easy political points. Though politicians are not known for honoring self-imposed limits on debate, perhaps there is an unspoken bipartisan agreement against combing convention speeches for political gain.

More likely, media businesses which report such items don’t get press credentials at the next convention.

A few speakers endorsed Barack Obama with a noticeable deficit of enthusiasm. The tensions between the Clinton and Obama camps were referenced by continual exhortations to party unity.

“Hillary supports Obama and so do I” said Governor Kunin. “We have to reach out to our sisters who pause between saying those words!”

The tensions peaked just before Michelle Obama took the stage. At that time, the protesters showed up:

About a dozen women waved these signs in relative silence, protesting the absence of Hillary from the ticket. They were tolerated for far longer than the anti-abortion protesters who showed up before Sen. Boxer's appearance. Finally, Hillary's women were escorted out. One person was particularly incensed that she, a woman, was being thrown out of the Women’s Caucus.

Michelle Obama’s speech was lackluster. Her delivery was so reliant on her notes that both photos I took of her show her glancing down.

She did provide a suitably bizarre remark to base a story upon, saying of her husband:
He’ll protect a woman’s freedom of choice, because government should have no say in whether or when a woman embraces the sacred responsibility of parenthood.

Sanctity of parenthood trumps sanctity of life, I guess.

My reportage was apparently the only story carrying this quotation. The exclusive even attracted the attention of NewsBusters.

Needless to say, abortion was a major topic of discussion and a major focus of my coverage.

Right before Sen. Barbara Boxer was to speak, about a half dozen women ranging from middle-aged to elderly moved to the stage and opened their shirts to reveal T-shirts reading “I regret my abortion.”

As if performing an exorcism, the audience then loudly chanted “Obama! Obama!” as security escorted the protesters out.

Sen. Boxer effectively repeated many talking points, but was otherwise uninteresting.

Taking the lead from Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen, she started declaiming hypothetical criminal sentences for women who seek abortions and the doctors who provide them. As noted here, National Review responded to this point a year ago, noting how abortionists and their clients were treated in law, with much harsher penalties only for the former.

The fittingly surnamed Rep. Louise Slaughter attacked conscience protections for medical professionals who won’t involve themselves in abortions.

Bizarrely, she categorized such conscientious refusals as a violation of the Hippocratic Oath’s phrase “do no harm.” Of course, that oath forbade abortions until its opportunistic revision in recent decades.

More accurately, Slaughter suggested that abortion was the prerequisite for the creation of the feminist professional classes.

“It was the right to control our reproductive systems that made it possible for almost all of us to achieve our own dreams which our parents had paid for,” Rep. Slaughter said.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made much the same argument in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

Pro-lifers generally aren’t socially aware enough to realize how significantly our society relies upon abortion as backup contraception. Without abortion, casual sexual relations would have to cease, yet casual sexual relations are now almost normative. Both male and female professionals are severely tempted to abort the child they have conceived because a child does not fit into the careerism for which they have prepared their lives.

They have been taught since kindergarten that they can do anything they choose if they apply their talents and work hard in the right career. In the context of abortion, we know what “doing anything they choose” often means.

The “me-tooism” of pro-life feminists such as Sarah Palin does not inquire whether the preferable aspects and results of feminism could only come by trampling upon the corpses of the unborn.

It is chilling to think that even admirable pro-life women may be unknowingly promoting the careerism, the egalitarianism, and the revolts against motherhood and fatherhood which both sustain and require the United States’ abortion regime.

Also at the DNC:

Faith Caucus

Women's Caucus

LGBT Caucus

Democrats for Life Town Hall

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