It has gotten to a point where I can barely look at the screen during the Presidential Debates. It has gotten to this point because the facial expressions and body language posed by Mitt Romney alone is enough to convince me why he is not right as the President of the United States. Last night was particularly telling, as we learned just how little respect he has for women. He has so little respect as to lie about their health care during a nationally televised debate. He has so little respect that the female moderator consistently received inappropriate dismissive body language, and when she said “Let’s talk about self-deportation,” he replied with “No.” Oh, and in case we forget, he disclosed that he met the head of MI6 during a press conference in London. You know, the organization which is so shrouded in secrecy that it was not publicly acknowledged as being real until 1994 – 86 years after it was founded.
Mitt Romney thinks we are stupid. And he would treat foreign leaders with the same contempt with which he treats the sitting President, the voting people, and the moderators in these debates. President Obama at least has the decency to treat us like adults, and to understand that we’ll catch him if he lies to us. I was also very grateful that both the President and the moderator – Candy Crowley – made the point of correcting him by use of transcripts when it came to accusations that President Obama did not refer to the Libyan Ambassadors death as an “act of terror” until two weeks after the fact, when he did call it as such during the Rose Garden speech the day after the incident.
But let’s get back to that bald faced lie he made during discussions about women’s health: During last night’s debate, Mitt Romney said that he believed in contraceptives for all women. But in the first debate, he said that paying for birth control was “ridiculous” and that he didn’t want to have to pay for it.
So which one is it?
Well, given his statements toward closing down Planned Parenthood as a way to save money, I’m going to go with the second opinion rather than the first.
During the section on equal pay for women, I was particularly pleased with what the President had to say. I greatly appreciated the idea of framing the issues of contraceptives, STD screenings, and mammograms as an economic issue rather than a social one. Because it’s true. Women have a significant number of responsibilities in terms of health care which men do not have. Men certainly have their own health issues, but economically women are placed with the burden specifically when it comes to pregnancy prevention. President Obama wants to offer his daughters “the same opportunities that anybody’s sons have.” I firmly believe him when he says that he wants equality because he does make it personal. He makes it very personal.
Mr. Romney made it personal in a very different way – he commented that women’s needs as professionals are different, and that his Chief of Staff needed to leave work early in order to put dinner on the table for her two children – this, by the way, on the heels of his “binders full of women” comment. My question is this: Does Mitt Romney support women being equal in the workplace, because it seemed to me like he was way more interested in espousing the differences between women and men and their priorities.
Of course, it’s the parenting issues that truly get me angry. Because in a dialogue about gun violence, of course we’re going to talk about how schools need to create better ways of attacking the culture of violence in our country, of course we need to have engaged parents. That being said… Well, why don’t you just read the quote first?
“And the parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Whenever possible. The benefit of two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. Lots of great single moms and single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before having babies they ought to think about getting married to someone – that’s a great idea.”
What a heterosexist, anti-woman, mean, senseless thing to say on public television! First he comes for Big Bird, then he comes for Planned Parenthood, and now – he’s going after MY MOM. Maybe he’s forgotten, but there are people in this country who voluntarily become single parents, because they want to have children and haven’t found the right parent. Also, what about adoptive parents, step-parents, families raising children together, gay couples who can’t get married, straight couples who don’t want to… It’s a modern world and the variations are endless.
And one man on that stage knew that.
Granted, the room wasn’t particularly diverse, the questions didn’t really answer the things I want to know – about disabilities, about LGBT rights. Those questions weren’t asked, and I know that both candidates have opinions on both issues, and we have the right to hear them. But even with the limited information we were given, I know who acted like a President, and I think you do too.