Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Complicating the Issues

I like to think of myself as above average in my awareness of important political issues.  I try to listen and read objective accounts and expert analyses.  On the other hand, I do indulge in MSNBC, because there are times we all just need to have the simple version.

I know that one of the tactics well used by the republican party is that of complicating the issues.  If you can make it murky, you can make it sound more threatening.

I have been trying to understand the Violence against Women Act.  It really isn't all that complicated, but you would never know that by reading about it.  Anywhere.

There are excellent analyses of the act, from its inception in 1994 to the current opposing Senate and House versions of the reauthorization act.

But the details make me bleary-eyed, and guilty for feeling that way.

Imagine the average voter.

So let me try to simplify it.  I may be wrong, but so will Fox News.

It appears that the difference between the existing Act and the proposed reauthorization in the Senate is the inclusion of LGBT, immigrant, and Native American women.  The repellent House version of course, does not include those minority groups.

I have counseled battered women, living with their abusers, or forced out of their homes to a shelter, as well as those who have successfully left their abusive partners and struggle day by day to make it emotionally and financially.

Believe me, the cards are stacked against women who have been abused.  Even with the existing protections, they are constantly thwarted by the judicial system, by financial institutions, by their religious leaders, and by plain old misunderstanding and bigotry.

I don't believe for one minute that the republicans in Congress have a good reason for the exclusions they have put into the new bill.  I believe that their purpose is merely obstructionist.  If the Senate Democrats were to appear willing to pass the bill with the House exclusions, my guess would be that there would be further roadblocks, much as occurred with Obamacare and pretty much everything else the Democrats have tried to move forward.

So what do we do?  We need to think in terms of an abused woman, not abused women.  We need to understand what happens on a day to day basis when a woman is raped or battered, how she attempts to survive the violence, and the barriers that are put in her way.

Meeting women who had been the victims of violence and working with them in therapy was the best education I could have had, other than having to experience it myself.  I got to see courageous women attempt to free themselves and their children, and each roadblock that was put up to force each of them back.

And so should we all.

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