OK, Senate Republicans - tremble in your little currency-lined Hello Kitty socks, because a floodtide of women is coming after you now, tomorrow, in 2012 and beyond, thanks to your shameful blockage of so much as the courtesy of Senate debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act...let alone something as radical as, say, that "august body" actually voting on something meaningful for a change!
Do you get what you've signaled by this heinous, and heinously casual, choice you have made?
You have once again - as your party in particular repeatedly does, despite your admiration for the pundits and posturers in the Sarah Palin/Fox News mode, all beauty-pageant gush and wafer-thin policy chops - made it clear that you feel that not only is gender equality none of government's business, but in fact that women are no concern of the government. "All men are created equal": yup, that's you, and that's all; all the way!
You have demonstrated your tone-deaf lack of awareness of just how many households in the US - perhaps, particularly, households where the man used to be the primary breadwinner has seen his job fall prey to the current economic climate (not to discount for a moment the many female-single-parent households that exist, and perhaps suffer even more) - depend on a woman's income for their sustenance. At just a little over three-quarters what a man equally employed would, on average, make, how can you defend this as a sane economic policy? By even debating this, you would have signposted your seriousness about the economy, about keeping more struggling families out of the pit of foreclosure, bankruptcy and poverty. As it is you have told millions of families, not unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, that if they are going to fail they had better do it and decrease the surplus population. Because, you know, those Wall Street bonuses aren't remotely as important as keeping these fragile families afloat.
The truth is that lawmakers all, but especially these Republican fat cats who seem to think that $250k per year is a "middle-class" wage, are grossly out of touch with the situation in which the American populace finds itself, on the whole.
I know. I've been there. When we had a looming balloon mortgage in Silicon Valley in the mid-90s, and spouse had been fired thanks to nasty internal politics (I warned him!), my salary an hour's commute away in San Francisco kept us from the brink of disaster. Later on, in the Pacific Northwest, as we struggled to earn even a dollar's income from our own business for a full year-and-a-half (we timed its launch just for the dot-com bust and then 9/11: stellar, isn't it?), my part-time gig and the freelance jobs I cultivated and the craft fairs and galleries I pursued with my work gave us the margin of survival.
How much safer might we have been - how much more might we have felt OK about feeding back into a teetering economy - if we had the assurance that my efforts were being compensated on an equal basis with Joe Shmoe across the cubicles?
No, Senate Republicans - and, for that matter, GOPers and TeaPartiers in the House. You may have thrown down the gauntlet in this round, but rest assured that it ain't gonna be pretty from here forward. Because if we can't appeal to your nonexistent sense of fairness, your apparently-lacking earnest desire to rehabilitate the US economy, or your hollow insistence that you're doing "the people's will"...we know one thing.
We are the swing voters who will either make or break you in the coming cycle, so sadly predictable in the States. And I don't just mean women as a whole. I also mean specifically Latina women, and Asian women, and Black women, and the voters whose families depend on them and whom they influence.
Your bigotry has been a direct kick in the teeth to all women, but especially to those women whose ethnic heritage has added an extra layer to the hypocrisy and disparity.
Forget the "mama grizzlies" you love to placate. WE together, we progressive women, are the true female power base in the electorate. You've chosen to throw us overboard in your supposed march back to power.
We will not forget, and we will not forgive. Your days are numbered.