It started last Wednesday.
The silencing of women’s voices this year alone on matters of health, life and death for women is sobering – as is the antidemocratic message it sends. I see it as part of a larger Election Year pattern that seems to be especially pernicious whenever a Democrat is in the White House, but that now goes well beyond even election year politics. More on this in a later post.
To warm up the conversation about duck-taping women's mouths while taking away our rights I’ve prepared a list of six other v-words and phrases that alone and together are equally important to vaginas this year and the war being waged on us.
Let’s start with this one –
Voter: As we know from Fifth Grade Civics/Government class, voters are the heart of our little democratic experiment. No voters. No democracy! Voters hold the keys: to who runs local, state and national government and determine whether schools, libraries, safety net programs and other worthwhile services get adequate funding. Voters increasingly have the power to support or deny rights like same-sex marriage and amendments defining when life begins, for example. Voters matter.
In 2010, the U.S. had 217 million voters, more than half of whom are female.
Politicians – especially those on the far-right – don’t much like voters. Rightwing politicians don’t like government or, apparently, democracy, given the zeal with which they put their thumb on the scale in every election, to tilt it in their direction, which is why we in turn have widespread cases of:
Voter suppression: Just as state lawmakers are working hard to regulate what vaginas can and can’t do, extremist lawmakers in other states are regulating who can and can’t vote. Over 5 million eligible voters are affected by voter suppression in 41 states via new photo I.D. laws, change in requirements for voter I.D., proof of citizenship measures, elimination of early voting, terminating same-day registration, disenfranchising those with past felony convictions, and outright purges of legal, registered voters.
Voter suppression matters for vaginas. Women outnumber men according to the U.S. Census, so when a group of people is denied voting rights – whether they’re older, college students, or minorities – women are affected disproportionately.
Voter participation: Here’s a news flash for all you vaginas: women are so important this year that the media are writing articles about us, candidates are designing strategies to “win” us, and women’s groups like the American Association of University Women and HERvotes are already engaged on the ground to register women nationwide and get us to vote in November.
As it turns out, vaginas DO vote and in higher numbers than men. In every presidential election since 1984, women have outnumbered men at the polls:
'84 -- 61/59 percent
'88 – 58/56 percent
'92 – 62/60 percent
'96 – 55/53 percent
'00 – 56/53 percent
'04 – 60/56 percent
'08 – 60/56 percent.
Women also outnumber men among registered voters.
Voter registration: Vaginas – especially unmarried ones – are the key this year to V-for-victory in November.
A few salient facts about VR for Vaginas. There are 55 million single/unmarried women eligible to vote this year. Some of those – 22 percent (12.1 million) were registered to vote in 2010 but did not. Finally, 38 percent of those 55 million single vaginas (20.6 million) aren’t even registered to vote.
If just half of 20 million women register and vote in November, the difference in our politics will be the difference between elected officials that actually care about and support our rights and freedoms, as well as jobs and our economic well-being, and more of the same war on women.
Here’s what the unmarried vagina vote looked like in 2010:
Of the 55 million eligible single female voters, over one-third weren’t registered to vote. Another 12 million (22.8%) were registered, but didn’t vote.
GOTVote: Personally, I’d change this to GOTVV. If you’ve followed along this far, you’ll know what that extra V is. We already know that unmarried vaginas overwhelmingly support and vote for progressive Democratic candidates and issues. So, imagine what can happen if all 55 million of us vote.
In other words, ladies, we are our own best friends.
Victory: This is the last – and best – V-word in my opinion and the best possible outcome in November. But here’s the moral: unless we connect the vaginas to voter registration and voter participation, a lot of people – including women – will be in seriously deep trouble for a very long time to come. The gender gap, it turns out, does matter. A lot.
There you have it: Six other V-Words and Phrases.