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  • Reverend James Squire

Don't Mess With Women

There has been a lot of talk about the ramifications of the recent primary elections and their bearing on the Fall election. Depending upon your party, you can come to vastly different conclusions except for two conclusions. People don’t like to be told what to do. If I am honest, I don’t like it. There is so much in our country that points to this truth. Unfortunately, it is an underlying dynamic in the gun control debate. They can talk about the First Amendment as much as the gun lobby and gun owners profess, but underneath it all rests the fact that isn’t mentioned much that people don’t like people telling them what to do. If you examine their advertisements, you can see this clearly for most contain a theme of, “Act they are going to take your gun rights away not matter what.”

Second learning from the primary elections is that you “shouldn’t mess with women.” That is the most important teaching, in my opinion. When I was Chaplain at EA, I considered myself as a focus group as often on the receiving end of complaints by phone or by a visit to the office. I consider myself a focus group on “don’t mess with women” after over 38 years of experience in a large school community. I do have some research backing from Deborah Tannen, Linguistics Professor at Georgetown who has written widely on men and women in communication. Women were sometimes more difficult than men who voiced their concerns, and obviously times where both parents were on the phone or arrived. I should also indicate that there are stronger feelings if you are a mother of boys or girls.

Women get right to the point as men do as well. But then things change. After the facts there is an emotional component that can express powerful feelings. I had one woman parent call me to complain about how strong another woman parent came on in a conversation about hot button topics. I tried to enter some humor into the situation and indicated, “All my parents are that way. You have to work hard as a parent to have you kid go here.” Another woman parent who I have remained good friends with was the embodiment of directness and emotion. I kidded her after I retired that I had seat belts installed on my office chair that I would buckle up when I saw her name appear on the phone screen. I don’t have the research to back up the point that women seemed to be the voice of the family. However, they were more often on the phone or in the office than men. They were less likely to end the conversation with the proverbial, “What are you going to do about?” although some did. That kind of closure wasn’t needed as it is with men. Tannen’s research has concluded that women want connection in conversation where men want closure with the question, “What are you going to do about it?” But here is the conclusion that I could take to the bank, women more so than men WANT TO FEEL HEARD and NEVER FORGET. This truth was affirmed by my ethics students when we studied the gender studies unit in the course for women communicate and decide differently than men. And boy did the students feel strongly about it as accurate!

It is too bad the Supreme Court didn’t walk across the bridge to Georgetown University or they would have seen what was coming. They could just look at the election of a Republican governor in Virginia who defeated the Democratic incumbent. Glen Youngkin, a Republican garnered 50 percent of the vote to Terry McCauliffe, a Democrat, who received 48 percent. It was a victory in this blue state. It was before the Supreme Court decision about Roe V Wade. People didn’t pay close enough attention to what some people speculated that indicated why McCauliffe lost. He made a comment that “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach.” Youngkin made schools and parent rights as the central focus of his campaign. There was a 13 percent point swing towards the GOP among white women who didn’t go to college.

President Biden said recently, “The court practically dared women in this country to go to the ballot box and restore the right to choose.” He said this last Wednesday when he met virtually with the White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare. Biden has turned things around this week with votes on major bills voted in the Congress.

In ethics there is the Ethic of Consequentialism which is part of Utilitarian Doctrine of the greatest good for the greatest number. It includes an examination of unintended consequences as well as normal consequence. It still boggles my mind that a group of men and one woman on a court could decide the medical fate of women with no knowledge of how difficult this would be for woman and providers. They focused on the fetus as a living human being with potential for life. It is the conservative view. What was not covered was legislation to provide interim help for women as the country had no direction for transition about this medical issue which we now know justice Roberts supported.

Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves at the last election. Usually, a 40% turnout is considered average. In the recent Kansas election 69% of voters voted against an amendment to ban abortion to 41% who voted for it. Why is that important? Kansas is one of the most conservative red states in the country. Across the nation 24 % of black women have abortions where 7% of white women have abortions. This figure is due to one in four black women living in poverty and they are subject to more sexual violence. 80% are the sole bread winner.

The Supreme Court provided no guidelines to care for pregnant women or poor women having babies so they will continue in a cycle of poverty. The Republican Party which seems to be the party of pro-choice has a dismal record of supporting parents and children after the child leaves the mother’s womb. If you are pro-life with the fetus in the womb, you must be pro-life after the baby is born. In an August 8, 2022 article in Polltico by Eleanor Mueller, states: “There is a major disconnect, GOP consultant Abby McCloskey said, ‘It’s in those blue states that you seem to have a much more robust safety net for women…and yet on the other side, you have all types of abortion without any type of support system to support women and kids.”

Don’t mess with women as you will have to deal with Consequentialism, an ethical system that deals with the unintended consequences of your actions. Just ask the folks in Kansas.

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