Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I write to Al Franken: Why no love for the ladies?

This would be a picture of me and Al Franken instead of him from really far away if I weren't so awkward and shy. Also, I would have said the following things in person instead of emailing them to his campaign. I rule.

Dear Al Franken,

I think you’re missing a great opportunity by not specifically addressing women’s issues on your website. Any truly progressive political platform must include stands on women’s and feminist concerns. Obviously, we should all research candidates, but not everyone has ample spare time to surf the internet at their overpaid data entry jobs like I do to try and decipher all your views through search results. Granted, it took very little Googling to discover that you have done benefits for both Planned Parenthood and NARAL, but I don’t think voters should have to either make the assumption that you’re pro-choice or do a bunch of research to find out. I caucused for you at the Senate District 65 Convention, and I’m assuming that as a U.S. Senator, you would vote to renew and improve legislation like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Violence Against Women Act, but I don’t actually know. Because your website doesn’t tell me.

Norm Coleman has a zero percent pro-choice score from NARAL. He is squarely in the pocket of the forced-pregnancy movement. I emailed him about the Brownback Amendment (Global Gag Rule), and got back some ludicrous form letter justifying his yes vote by citing the old “promoting family values” argument. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that most Minnesotan families don’t particularly value increasing worldwide AIDS infections and maternal death rates by de-funding health and humanitarian organizations that have the gall to mention the word “abortion.” In the Senate, Coleman has also consistently shown himself to be unconcerned about women’s lives and health through his confirmation of various judicial and political nominees who use extreme religion and conservative ideology to limit and deny women everything from adequate reproductive health care (Plan B, “partial-birth” abortions) to the ability to sue for pay discrimination (Ledbetter v. Goodyear). Members of Congress have power over laws involving parental-notification and interstate transportation for abortion, the funding of (sexist and medically inaccurate) "abstinence-only" education, welfare reforms and efforts to reduce poverty, providing child care and early childhood education, universal health care, sexual harassment and employment discrimination, and other matters of direct (and disproportionate) concern to women and their families (see a nice complete list from the policy agenda of the National Council of Women's Organizations). Pro-woman candidates and elected officials should make their views known and commit to fighting for women on the floor of Congress.

Guess who also doesn’t address women’s issues on his campaign website? That’s right, Norm Coleman. But his voting record leaves no room to speculate about what his stances are. Assuming you get the DFL’s nomination next month in Rochester, it’s up to you to let Minnesota’s women and pro-woman voters know just how far apart your views are. Speaking to at least a few specific issues that concern us on your website would be a great start. Besides, anyone who’d be turned off by a progressive/feminist agenda is probably not going to vote for you in November anyway. See John Edwards’ archived campaign site for a great example. He seems like a nice guy, maybe he’d just let you copy and paste it. I hope you and/or whatever passionate but underpaid staffer who actually reads your emails take this into consideration. I’m a supporter, but I know I’m not the only one who would be even more vocal and enthusiastic if you’d take a stand and add some (sincere) nods to the ladies in your already well-defined and progressive platform.



1 comment:

  1. If only you had an adorable picture of yourself with the Franken to go with this post.