Recently, there has been much discussion with regard to Mitt Romney and the Republican War on Women — but more awareness needs to be raised with regard to the perception that is given instead of what is reality.
The reality is President Obama nominated the first Latina as a Supreme Court Justice. On the other hand, Mitt Romney stated he would not support Sonia Sotomayor as a justice of the Supreme Court even though in 1991, she was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush.
According to the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University, Janine Balekdjian stated: “President Obama has made other concrete steps for the advancement of women, like signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay act and appointing Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.”
Indeed the Republican Party has a woman problem and it extends into the Latina community. Dr. Caroline Heldman, an Associate Professor of Politics at Occidental College and political commentator for Fox News identifies the problem further as she digs deeper into Conservative talking heads like Rush Limbaugh. According to Heldman, Limbaugh has spent two decades attacking feminists, female political leaders, professional women, women who speak out, and women’s gains more generally. This formula makes his almost exclusively older, white, male audience feel more powerful in a world where changing gender roles have challenged non-meritorious power structures that benefit them.
Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh share the same philosophy because both have publicly stated their opposition toward a Latina justice that holds one of the highest positions in the land. Coincidentally enough, the last act of Mel Martinez as U.S. Senator was voting as one of only nine Republicans in support Sotomayor for SCOTUS. He resigned the next morning.
Will the Republican Party take us two steps backward as Latina leadership emerges?
We believe so.
Recently, the Republican Governor Dave Heineman has promised to veto the Nebraska bill (LB599). LB599 provides prenatal coverage to low-income women, many of them undocumented, who lost Medicaid coverage for prenatal care in 2010. Civil Rights and immigration attorney, Shirl Mora James, also Lead Co-President of the National Tequila Party Movement (a female-led Independent movement that motivates Latinos to vote for pro-immigrant politicians), recently exposed the Republican Governor of Nebraska with regard to his pro life hypocrisy. Shirl believes in helping ALL women who choose to keep their babies while ensuring appropriate prenatal care despite their immigration status.
Apparently the Governor of Nebraska thinks it is safe to pick on undocumented women who choose to keep their babies since he really does not have to worry about their votes in the immediate sense– and this seems to be the path Republicans are now willing to embrace.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University:
“… voter turnout rates for women have equaled or exceeded voter turnout rates for men. Women, who constitute more than half the population, have cast between four and seven million more votes than men in recent elections. In every presidential election since 1980, the proportion [of] female adults who voted has exceeded the proportion of made adults who voted …”
There is a strong sense of matriarchy within the Mexican-American culture, and Latinas will ‘wise up’ during the 2012 elections when we evaluate how politicians treat women of Latin descent. One thing is for certain — we cannot gamble our vote away on “multiple-choice” Mitt. Why should women support him if he would have opposed a ‘wise Latina’ like Sotomayor?
In conclusion, male chauvinism is a thing of the past and it is high time men take note in the political arena. Women can do much more than cook and clean … we can politically educate ourselves, too, and base our voting behavior on the past history of those who want to be entrusted as our elected officials.