Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

March 19, 2013

WE THE PEOPLE: Equal protection for some

CROSSVILLE — Apparently the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution is just a suggestion, judging by some of the most Constitution-quoting members of our governing bodies. Case in point, consider the recently renewed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

This act, first passed in 1994, funds programs and research to help prevent and prosecute domestic and sexual violence. The act has had a significant impact. All states have passed legislation — over 660 laws — to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The incidence of domestic violence has decreased by 58%. Maryland’s intimate partner homicides have been reduced by a remarkable 41% over four years (July 2007-July 2010).

The act has had a positive economic impact also, saving $12.6 billion in the first six years. Our neighbors in Kentucky saved $85 million in one year alone reducing violence through the issuance of protection orders.

VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with nearly unanimous consent. It was due for renewal in 2012. The Senate, after consulting with experts, agreed to offer (for the first time!) protection to people who were Native American, of a sexual persuasion other than heterosexual, and undocumented immigrants. The Republicans in the House apparently couldn’t stomach the idea of helping women in these categories. The divided, gutless 2012 Congress could not come to agreement (surprise!) and the bill languished.

Last month, after being dormant for nearly two years, the act was passed by Congress and signed by the President with the new groups protected. This was despite a “fake” VAWA proposed by conservatives in the House that would have gutted important features of the existing, very popular law.

Thank you Senators Corker and Alexander for voting “yes.” Nevertheless, 22 Senators and 138 Representatives voted AGAINST protecting women.

You might assume that all “no” votes came from men who never had a mother, sister or wife. But, it’s likely that the men who voted against VAWA have women somewhere in their life. Even more amazing, though, is that there were ten lady Representatives (all Republican) who voted against the bill. So what separates the no voters from the other conservatives in their chamber? It won’t surprise most of us to learn that the phony House version and the final no votes were sponsored by the Tea Party wing.

Morally heinous as voting against reauthorizing VAWA is, it is also just plain stupid. One reason the GOP lost big in November was its failure to honor women and their needs. To add insult to injury, many right-wing opponents of VAWA are now claiming to have voted FOR the act, when, in fact, they only voted for the bogus House proposal to give them cover before they voted against reauthorization. Not only are they mean and not particularly smart, they are dishonest. Some of these folks claim to honor “family values.” They must think violence against women is a just fine for the “family.”

If you are a woman, or value the women in your family, you might be interested in how Cumberland County’s Representative voted on H Amdt 23 (the bogus cover) and S47 (the real VAWA reauthorization). Go to “votesmart.org,” type in Diane Black and search her voting record. You’ll be amazed.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice