Democrats to Women: Conform or be Caricatured

The Democratic Party wants you to think they celebrate and welcome diversity. This is a sham. However pretty their “come one, come all” rhetoric sounds, the reality is that Democratic leadership requires conformity in the strictest terms. Nowhere is this more evident than in the party’s relationship with women.

Devoid of a coherent platform, leaders of the Left have patched the modern Democratic Party together as a confederacy of anti-Republicans -- put simply, if you don’t feel comfortable with the GOP or any of their policies, Democrats will offer safe harbor (or so they say). And while this tactic has lured in a good number of Independents, the Left has realized their cause can be further bolstered by attaching an unflattering face to their political antagonists. In this vein, liberals have cast the entire Right as a collection of stuffy old white men who supposedly harbor deep-seated resentment towards women, minorities, homosexuals, and the poor. It’s implied that so long as you don’t look or sound like a modern-day Archie Bunker, you’ll be at home with Democrats.

But this can be a tricky way to go about capturing voter market share. By trying to steer entire people groups -- the LGBT community, all minorities, all of the economically disadvantaged and all women -- into tidy voter subsets, there comes a point when the diversity of individuals within those groups must be sacrificed to the values of the larger group into which they’re being herded. At some level, diversity must conform to party standards. And those individuals who aren’t compartmentalized so easily find out that the Democratic Party’s definition of “diversity” isn’t so widely inclusive after all.

We’re all familiar now with the Left’s demonization of the Right’s fabled “War on Women.” It’s an overt attempt to convince women that the Republican Party is little more than a grown up version of the “He-Man Woman Haters Club.” This mythic war is composed of two primary battle fronts: the pro-life/pro-choice debate, and a fictional conservative conspiracy that promotesgender-based “wage discrimination.”

Because the word “abortion” isn’t too friendly on the ears, Democrats have reframed that contest to one about “reproductive rights.” Of course, the abortion contest isn’t just about terminated pregnancies;the Left uses it as a symbol that the Republican Party wants to have total control over women, their bodies and how they choose to live their lives.

To further highlight the Right’s imaginary desires to chain women into a subservient social caste, every election year (interestingly, only in election years) since 2010, Democrats have tried to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act through Congress. Every time the legislation has failed, and every time it has provided liberals an opportunity to talk about how much Republicans supposedly dislike women.

So if those are the two main battle fronts of the War on Women, what about the women who happen to be pro-life and/or understand that paycheck discrepancies have more to do with career selection than gender bias? Are they still welcome under the Democratic Big Tent?

Short answer: No.

In the April 28 edition of the Weekly Standard, Maria Santos profiles the lonely travails of Kristen Day, Executive Director at Democrats for Life of America, a small consortium of pro-life Democrats. In the article, Day bemoans the fact that over the years her organization has shrunk from roughly 50 elected officials on Capitol Hill to seven. And she admits, “There are some Democrats who would rather be in the minority than have pro-life Democrats in the party.”So much for inclusiveness of convictions.

Speaking of diversity of ideas, how do liberals treat the first female African American Secretary of State if she happens to be a Republican? Well naturally, they protest against her. Just the sheer thought of having Condoleezza Rice deliver a commencement speech sent the leftist faculty at Rutgers University into near riot mode. So drastic were their convulsions that Rice decided to pass on the invitation school administrators offered her.

And heaven forbid if a woman decides to be a stay-at-home mother. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen revealed a resentment shared by many on the Left of women who choose domestic careers over office jobs when she mocked Ann Romney for raising children instead of raising her earning potential.

So why are women like Day, Rice, and Romney ostracized by the political party that says they’re fighting on their behalf in the War on Women?

Because, per the usual,Democrats are being disingenuous.

The irony in all this is that Democrats are fashioning themselves as liberators, but are requiring the women they’re supposedly liberating to conform to party standards. Where’s the freedom in that? For centuries women have been told to stay in their pre-set social positions -- to behave. How, then, do Democrats propose they’re offering a savory political alternative to women if those women they’re courting are forced into rigid partisan orthodoxy?

Women who don’t wholly subscribe to the Democrat canon are either sidelined like Day or caricatured as yahoos along with the likes of right-wing firebrands (and female sellouts, of course) Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

As stated on the Democratic National Committee’s website, the Left vehemently believes they are at their best “when everyone plays by the same rules.” This should read, “Walk the party line.” There is no room for true diversity or true freedom of ideas on the Left. Democrats do not offer a new paradigm for women. They only prescribe stricter conformity.

David Allen Martin is a contributing columnist to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.  He also teaches U.S. History at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Democratic Party wants you to think they celebrate and welcome diversity. This is a sham. However pretty their “come one, come all” rhetoric sounds, the reality is that Democratic leadership requires conformity in the strictest terms. Nowhere is this more evident than in the party’s relationship with women.

Devoid of a coherent platform, leaders of the Left have patched the modern Democratic Party together as a confederacy of anti-Republicans -- put simply, if you don’t feel comfortable with the GOP or any of their policies, Democrats will offer safe harbor (or so they say). And while this tactic has lured in a good number of Independents, the Left has realized their cause can be further bolstered by attaching an unflattering face to their political antagonists. In this vein, liberals have cast the entire Right as a collection of stuffy old white men who supposedly harbor deep-seated resentment towards women, minorities, homosexuals, and the poor. It’s implied that so long as you don’t look or sound like a modern-day Archie Bunker, you’ll be at home with Democrats.

But this can be a tricky way to go about capturing voter market share. By trying to steer entire people groups -- the LGBT community, all minorities, all of the economically disadvantaged and all women -- into tidy voter subsets, there comes a point when the diversity of individuals within those groups must be sacrificed to the values of the larger group into which they’re being herded. At some level, diversity must conform to party standards. And those individuals who aren’t compartmentalized so easily find out that the Democratic Party’s definition of “diversity” isn’t so widely inclusive after all.

We’re all familiar now with the Left’s demonization of the Right’s fabled “War on Women.” It’s an overt attempt to convince women that the Republican Party is little more than a grown up version of the “He-Man Woman Haters Club.” This mythic war is composed of two primary battle fronts: the pro-life/pro-choice debate, and a fictional conservative conspiracy that promotesgender-based “wage discrimination.”

Because the word “abortion” isn’t too friendly on the ears, Democrats have reframed that contest to one about “reproductive rights.” Of course, the abortion contest isn’t just about terminated pregnancies;the Left uses it as a symbol that the Republican Party wants to have total control over women, their bodies and how they choose to live their lives.

To further highlight the Right’s imaginary desires to chain women into a subservient social caste, every election year (interestingly, only in election years) since 2010, Democrats have tried to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act through Congress. Every time the legislation has failed, and every time it has provided liberals an opportunity to talk about how much Republicans supposedly dislike women.

So if those are the two main battle fronts of the War on Women, what about the women who happen to be pro-life and/or understand that paycheck discrepancies have more to do with career selection than gender bias? Are they still welcome under the Democratic Big Tent?

Short answer: No.

In the April 28 edition of the Weekly Standard, Maria Santos profiles the lonely travails of Kristen Day, Executive Director at Democrats for Life of America, a small consortium of pro-life Democrats. In the article, Day bemoans the fact that over the years her organization has shrunk from roughly 50 elected officials on Capitol Hill to seven. And she admits, “There are some Democrats who would rather be in the minority than have pro-life Democrats in the party.”So much for inclusiveness of convictions.

Speaking of diversity of ideas, how do liberals treat the first female African American Secretary of State if she happens to be a Republican? Well naturally, they protest against her. Just the sheer thought of having Condoleezza Rice deliver a commencement speech sent the leftist faculty at Rutgers University into near riot mode. So drastic were their convulsions that Rice decided to pass on the invitation school administrators offered her.

And heaven forbid if a woman decides to be a stay-at-home mother. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen revealed a resentment shared by many on the Left of women who choose domestic careers over office jobs when she mocked Ann Romney for raising children instead of raising her earning potential.

So why are women like Day, Rice, and Romney ostracized by the political party that says they’re fighting on their behalf in the War on Women?

Because, per the usual,Democrats are being disingenuous.

The irony in all this is that Democrats are fashioning themselves as liberators, but are requiring the women they’re supposedly liberating to conform to party standards. Where’s the freedom in that? For centuries women have been told to stay in their pre-set social positions -- to behave. How, then, do Democrats propose they’re offering a savory political alternative to women if those women they’re courting are forced into rigid partisan orthodoxy?

Women who don’t wholly subscribe to the Democrat canon are either sidelined like Day or caricatured as yahoos along with the likes of right-wing firebrands (and female sellouts, of course) Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

As stated on the Democratic National Committee’s website, the Left vehemently believes they are at their best “when everyone plays by the same rules.” This should read, “Walk the party line.” There is no room for true diversity or true freedom of ideas on the Left. Democrats do not offer a new paradigm for women. They only prescribe stricter conformity.

David Allen Martin is a contributing columnist to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.  He also teaches U.S. History at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.