I don’t like to talk about national politics—not because I’m writing for a local newspaper, not because I feel it’s above my pay grade or interest level, but because it’s beneath me. When you’re a big-game-hunter-caliber professional sleazebag like myself, you don’t settle for any old sex scandal or instance of an elected representative calling women who use birth control whores that comes along. It’s too easy, like shooting pickles in a hoagie or animal abuse apologists in a SeaWorld.
I only have so many hours in the day that I can spend facepalming and weeping in the darkest corner of my office—which is the only rational reaction to most of what happens in the world, and all of what happens between the wrinkly old rich white men who run our country. And don’t guffaw at me just because a handful of them don’t happen to look like an albino carrot that’s been left out in the sun for too long. I’m playing off the law of averages here. It ain’t pretty.
So without ado or comment, sans partisan snark, this is a list of senators who voted against The Paycheck Fairness Act on April 9:
Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), John Boozman (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Isakson (R-GA), Michael Crapo (R-ID), James Risch (R-ID), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rand Paul (R-KY), David Vitter (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Dean Heller (R-NV), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Hoeven (R-ND), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Michael Enzi (R-WY).
Notice an “R” pattern?
So … do we talk about this? Or do we just sit here awkwardly not making eye contact until the bus we’re waiting for arrives and we never have to see each other again? Because this is awkward, right? Even if you’re not a woman, you still have to deal with them on a daily basis—at work, maybe at home, at the grocery store, at the liquor store you prefer to the grocery store because you feel less judged there. Odds are good that one of them gave birth to you. So how do you talk about the fact that 44 elected officials just killed a bill designed to close the significant pay gap between men and women? Do we just shrug, mutter “that sucks,” and try to manufacture some justification for such a blatant dismissal of the needs, concerns, and financial well-being of half the country? Are we all supposed to be pretending that we’re trapped in 1963? Because the politicians who rejected the Paycheck Fairness Act keep pointing to the 1963 Equal Pay Act as proof that we’ve already arrived. We’ve already accomplished everything we promised ourselves we would: freedom, equality, and happiness. It’s all there in the existing legislation that protects women from the gross injustice of unequal pay.
Except that somehow women aren’t making equal pay to men. The paychecks are still skewed, and while the exact amount is subject to debate, most estimates hover around 77 cents to the dollar. I guess I could see Flake and Boozman and Crapo’s point, if their point was that it’s 2014 and we shouldn’t have to worry about equality because we’ve already successfully brought it about—hooray! Instead, their point seems to be “but women don’t want equal pay because they’d rather have time off work to take care of babies because that’s what God put them on this beautiful Earth for” and “something about Obamacare.” Seriously. The people who voted down equal pay for women are attempting to link it to the Affordable Care Act. The only connection I can see is that women need access to affordable health care more than men because something about their vaginas, which must be somewhere under those petticoats, offends their employers.
And yes, I did deliberately choose the senators with the most embarrassing names to pick on. Flake, Boozman, and Crapo sound exactly like the kind of guys who would do something like vote against measures intended to help ensure that women are paid equally. I don’t really know how to excuse the behavior of the rest of those flakes. ∆
Shredder lives in the year it is unless there’s an alcohol-induced blackout, and then Shredder is confused. Send calendars to firstname.lastname@example.org.