Defending the Rights and Dignity of Women

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    Here’s the statement I sent today to people in Roanoke organizing this week to protest the abominable anti-women measures being pushed these days by Republicans in Washington and in Richmond.

    I would like to convey to the people rallying in Roanoke, in Richmond and across Virginia this week in protest against the grotesque, anti-woman measures being pushed forward in the Virginia General Assembly these days by the Republican Party, my solidarity on these issues.

    It is ugly for these politicians to be attacking the rights of women in this way.

    It is unconscionable for them to be using their public offices to seek impose their own beliefs on

    matters of private morality.

    And it is irresponsible for them to be embroiling the Commonwealth of Virginia in battles of this sort while so many people are hurting from the greatest economic crisis of our lifetime, and are in need of governmental attention to be directed instead to meeting the urgent needs of struggling families.

    I join their efforts to defend the rights and dignity of women against such an onslaught.

    In this onslaught, I would add, we also see a specific instance of the more general pathology that, to our country’s great detriment, has arisen on the political right.

    It is this destructive turn taken by the Republican Party in recent years, unprecedented in the history of major American parties, that has led me to run for elective office for the first time in my life, to oppose the 20-year Republican incumbent “representing” the 6th District in the United States Congress.

       •  This attack on women – and particularly on women in the most delicate and difficult of situations – is part of a larger pattern of preying on those who are most vulnerable in America, including the scapegoating of ethnic or religious minorities.

       •  This use of hot-button issues regarding people’s personal lives is part of a larger pattern of distracting people from the arena where the greatest injustices are being perpetrated, where power and wealth are being taken from average American families and given to those who already possess the most power and wealth.

       •  This focus of our attention on matters of sexual and reproductive choices is part of a larger pattern in which the right works continuously to turn groups of Americans against each other, preventing our making common cause on the basis of those values we share in order to achieve those purposes that could unite us.

        •  And this governmental intrusion into the most intimate of spheres – by a political party that claims that it stands for small government – is part of the larger pattern of rank hypocrisy, a pattern in which, for example, the party that ran under the banner of “Country First” could turn on a dime and seek, as it’s top priority, to make the president fail, even though at a time of acute national economic crisis the failure of the president would inevitably mean also the failure of the country, and suffering for tens of millions of Americans.

    So I join in the protest, and in the determination to denounce and oppose what this right-wing force is up to in both Richmond and in Washington. I join in the knowledge that this is a vital battlefield in what is a larger struggle against a mean-spirited and destructive political force that has taken over the Republican Party.

    The struggle to turn back and defeat this force – which has brought thousands into the streets and me into the electoral arena – is one that can be won if we, the people, will join forces. And it is a struggle that must be won because the stakes could not be higher.

    Andy

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    Andy Schmookler is running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.  An award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992.  He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  

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