Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Crazy Making" of Michele Bachmann

Today I’m taking on a controversial subject.  Many people have advised me not to speak or write about politics or religion, but these matters are at the root of too much debate to be completely avoided.  For instance, I was reading a short article yesterday about Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann that warranted further investigation.

I must confess that although I’ve heard her name, I never took much interest in the woman until I read the 
Michele Bachmann, Newsweek
recent Michele Bachmann story in Newsweek, with the crazy eyed, image of her on its cover.  The biased article created a storm of controversy, with reports of Democrats and liberals drawing fire from Republicans and conservative fans of Bachmann.  Seems par for political course, right?  Only there’s more to this Newsweek story than the standard GOP vs. the DNC.

When I looked at the cover of Newsweek, I saw an unappealing photo of a woman that was taken from an unflattering angle, below eye level, making her appear wide eyed.  The magazine article describes Bachmann as the "Queen of Rage", in a demeaning, dismissive tone.   There are several online news editorials regarding Bachmann with a similar slant.  After reading through volumes of comments following these articles, I realize the “crazy eyed woman” mantra is gaining momentum and is an effective ad campaign.

Now, STOP, before you get it into your head that I’m advocating Michele Bachmann, because I am NOT.  Since the controversy began I took it upon myself to learn more about her background and political agenda and can adamantly say that I DO NOT support her as a presidential hopeful.  But, I will passionately argue her right to run for political office without casting her in the role of a crazy witch, slut or any other chauvinistic stamp.

The United States, the land of opportunity, freedom and equality, has not allowed women to rise to political power in numbers that should be expected for equal representation of both men and women.  Why not?  The simplest answer is that old habits die hard.  Historically, the physically strong oppressed the physically weaker of our species.  As societies have evolved we have come to value traits beyond brute strength and promote equality for all…Yet in America, where the overall population has a few million more women than men, only 16% of the seats in the current congress are held by women.   

 In fact, the United States ranks below the world’s top 60 countries with the highest percentages of women in government.  Women today testify to the fact they don’t receive equal pay for equal work in today’s market and studies show that women still only earn about 77 cents to every dollar men earn for the same job.

The numbers are even lower for minority women.  This unfair practice can be expected to continue without fair representation of women in government and in the media.
* Sources:  The White House Project , Center for American Women and Politics, SCSU, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, I’m not saying that we should elect an inappropriate candidate just because she is a woman.  I’m saying do not suppress ANY female candidate under the stereotypical labels of witch, slut or crazy lady because it hurts all future political candidates.  Where do we draw the line on insults when we open the door to anti feminist slurs? If you don’t agree with Michele Bachmann’s political agenda then point out the flaws in her ideology, but please don’t fall to the backward insults traditionally used to oppress women.

Let me reiterate that I DO NOT support Michele Bachmann as a presidential candidate because I do not believe she can effectively represent the American people.  Not because she is a woman, or because she is religious or CRAZY, but because her opinions do not reflect the majority of American people.

Here's a table I put together for quick reference to some of Michelle Bachmann’s political issues:

Michelle Bachmann on the Issues
Reduce the role of Government and reduce business regulations to stimulate growth in the business sector and job formation. 
Repeal Obamacare/national health care system.  Wants to phase out Medicare and Social Security benefits.  Encourage options and choice by patients of physicians, medicines and medical facilities..
No debt ceiling increase to stop the continued growth of national debt.
Against downsizing of the military.
Strengthen relations with allies such as Britain and Israel.
Stop the environmental Protection Agency's cap and trade policy.
Open up restricted areas to drilling for oil and gas reserves in the Outer Continental Shelf, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska in order to lower energy prices.
Bar foreign currency from being used in the USA as a substitution or replacement for American currency.
Evolution and Creationism to be taught side by side in school science classes.
Opposes mandatory public service programs.
Pro Life 100% and anti abortion.
Renounces expensive trips for public officials and entourages to foreign countries on taxpayer's tab.
Promotes CFLs or fluorescent light bulbs over conventional light bulbs.
Opposes minimum wage increases and has supported legislation to delete the minimum wage altogether in order to increase employment.
Supports limiting the amount of personal information the government collects for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Would like to ban gay/lesbian marriage 100%.
*Sources:  Honest Despot, Michele Bachmann.com/issues, and Wikipedia – Michele Bachmann.

Whether you agree with Bachmann or not, she clearly isn't crazy.  I believe the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota is a conservative American who would like to bring back this country's glory days.  However, I question her willingness to put the choices of the American people above her own personal religious beliefs.  

For example, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted by telephone March 10-13, 2011, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults, over half of Americans now support gay marriage. Bachmann is adamantly against it.

A similar Time poll conducted on June 20-21, 2011 found that over 60% of Americans strongly agree that women should have the right to choose abortion during the early months of pregnancy.   Americans also split their opinion on Medicare and Social Security entitlement, with roughly 60% of us wanting to maintain the benefits as is.  Bachmann is Pro Life and would like to phase out Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Contrary to what many political commentators are reporting, it is not only Tea Party supporters, Republicans or fans that are outraged by the recent unflattering Newsweek cover & article of Michele Bachmann.  It is every fair minded individual who would like to see an end to the demeaning personal attacks on women candidates for their looks - eyes, hair, weight, etc. Let's get back to some objective reporting and debate on each candidates merit, regardless of their race, religion, gender...or eyes.

**All copyrights reserved by the Honest Despot.  2011-12.

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