Currently, the “war on women” and “war for women voters” memes are hot topics among the Nation’s news media as President Barack Obama and establishment-declared Republican front-runner Mitt Romney duke it out over women in America.
Obama and the Democratic Party often attempt to paint themselves as the women’s party, the minorities’ party and the protector of the underdog in the United States. At the same time, the party works to make the GOP appear to be the party of the affluent white male.
NPR pointed out last week that both Romney and Obama have distinct strategies for courting female voters: Obama’s focus remains heavily, and in traditional Democratic fashion, on “micro” issues — i.e., contraceptives or Republican disdain for Planned Parenthood — while Romney is focusing more broadly on the economy, jobs and how they affect American women.
Data from the Pew Research Center show that 66 percent of women aged 18 to 34 in the United States consider a fulfilling career high on their list of priorities in life, compared to 59 percent of men in the same age group. The data indicate what Pew describes as a shift in traditional male and female roles that has been occurring for decades.
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent comment that Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife and a mother of five, had not “worked a day in her life” reignited the debate about women’s roles in the United States. According to some people, the focus of the discussion has been misguided. Rather than acknowledging that men and women both frequently take equal part in earning money and child rearing, political opportunists on both sides have muddied the issues.
With Democrats ramping up their “war on women” rhetoric and accusing Republicans of wanting women to avoid careers and with Republicans similarly accusing Democrats of hating stay-at-home mothers, a complex issue that is nearly impossible to view on a collectivist level is overly simplified for sound-bite politics.
Here are some issues that are largely disregarded:
- Sometimes, stay-at-home parents are men.
- There are a large number of non-working, single parents who rely on welfare as a primary source of income. Legislation aimed at helping them rejoin the workforce has been described as harmful to women’s rights to stay home and offer their children the best care.
- Contention between women who pursue careers and those who choose to stay at home has been created by politicians and hyped by media to further other agendas.
- Many families simply can’t afford the child care costs incurred when both parents are away from the home each day.
- Some of the women/men earnings discrepancies are statistical fallacies. Contrary to what politicians and media say, women do not always earn less than men.
Both Obama and Romney have joined in using collectivism and political campaign rhetoric to create media hype around nonissues to take focus away from a terrible economy and the near-constant destruction of civil liberties in the United States by the political class. Perhaps women, and all Americans, would find a better advocate outside of the two-party paradigm in a candidate focused on the rights of individuals rather than groups — a rare commodity in the political world.