The day after the election won 't seem earthshaking. After all, it 's just a primary. But by November of 2006, there 's a chance that this candidate will win. The election will be the most closely watched in the nation, but not because of the threat to women 's rights. The election will be closely watched because it will be the battle for the US senate seat from Pennsylvania, against republican Rick Santorum.
If anti-women 's rights candidate Bob Casey Jr. wins the primary, then he 'll be running against Rick Santorum. Now, Casey will deny he 's against women 's rights. So will his supporters like PA governor Ed Rendell, Hillary Clinton and senate minority leader Harry Reid. They 'll try to split hairs and say that Casey 's opposition to abortion rights --the right of a women to control her own body --is not opposition to women 's rights.
I disagree. Women fought long and hard for the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, and this fight happened while they were fighting for a whole lot of other equal rights to vote, work, own property, and to participate fully in all aspects of society.
There has long been a resistance to not only these rights but also to the archetypal feminine dimensions of being human. Recently, this war against women and against all things feminine has been ratcheted up many notches. The religious extremists in the US, the Arab world and the most of the fundamentalist sects of the religions of Abraham --Judaism, Christianity and Islam --all embrace patriarchal, male dominating, women 's rights abridging visions of how the world should be.
If Bob Casey Jr. wins in his battle with Rick Santorum, his win will set back the progress that women 's rights advocates have achieved by decades. The DLC will consolidate its influence over the DNC and they will, probably successfully, argue that the way to beat Republicans is to oppose abortion.
Don 't be misled by this. It is not about abortion. It is about taking away women 's rights, about taking away women 's power and all the other rights they have achieved. Once a woman 's right to control her body when she is pregnant is taken away, the next step will be to take away the right to use contraception --both pills and mechanical approaches.
Centrist democrats may try, as George Lakoff describes, to "parse " the issue, and to deny that they are opening the doors that will allow right wingers to drastically increase their assault on the feminine and women 's rights. But that is exactly what they are doing, selling out women and women 's rights with the belief that it is a necessary "compromise" to win against republicans. But a lot of people think they are wrong.
They believe that any strong, well supported opponent to Rick Santorum, who stands for core Democratic values, who doesn 't sell his or her soul out to beltway and K street political consultants, pundits and DC insiders has a great shot at beating the Santorum, who has become an embarrassment to most of the citizens of the state. They believe that the way for democrats win in PA is to strongly get out the vote in the major metropolitan areas --- Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and their suburbs --and that the huge preponderance of Democrats in those counties will beat the red state right wingers in the middle and northern parts of the state. Those same people think that Casey will LOSE to Santorum, just like his 14 point lead over Ed Rendell evaporated when Casey lost in the 2002 Gubernatorial race. Casey is a Republican look-alike and progressives and women won 't bother to work hard for him, and republicans will stay with Santorum. Casey 's name recognition didn 't win him the governor 's race and it won 't win him the senate race either.
If Santorum wins, that 's a major loss for women too, since his ideas about women, described in his latest book, are medieval. But I'm not sure which is worse, since a Casey win seems like it will cinch the selling off of women's rights by the Democratic party. As horrible as it may seem, as much as I detest "man-on-dog" Santorum, a Santorum win might actually be better for women than a Casey win,
There 's another solution. Chuck Pennacchio, http://www.chuck2006.com , a pro women 's rights, pro choice Democrat, has been a declared candidate for longer than any of the others. He has a successful track record helping other underdog US senate candidates win their races. He is decidedly independent, rejecting PAC money and rejecting the influence of the centrists. He 's the solution to this problem. When people see Casey speak, they try to stay awake. When they see Pennacchio speak, they are often moved to tears, because he talks their language and understands their issues, and they move from thinking that Casey is the only choice to seeing that Pennacchio is the best choice --for the state and for the best chance to win. Personally, I feel that Pennacchio could be the Democrat's next Paul Wellstone-- a leader with courage, conscience and an enormous amount of savvy and experience with how the senate works.
Women across the US, not just Pennsylvania, women throughout the world need to recognize that if the dominos fall and the democratic party writes off women 's rights, it will affect women in every nation. It 's a long slope to slide backward towards, but a Casey win in the spring primary is a sure disaster for women the world over. It 's just a matter of time.