Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Act like a Texan"

I still have some thoughts to collect from yesterday's meeting on the Texas Central Railway, so let's catch up on Wendy Davis slamming Greg Abbott around (I'm sure someone somewhere might construe that to be insensitive to a man in a wheelchair)...

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis delivered a strong message to Republican opponent Greg Abbott on equal pay for women Monday morning, telling him to "act like a Texan" and stop letting his surrogates speak for him on the issue.

"I have a message for Greg Abbott today," Davis said at a speech in Austin. "Stop hiding behind your staff members. Stop hiding behind your surrogates. This Texas gal is calling you out. Act like a Texan and answer this question for yourself: What on earth is going on at your attorney general's office?" 

That's vintage Ann Richards right there.  Or maybe Don Vito Corleone.

Everyone knows she's saying "act like a man" (a phrase usually preceded by "Stand up and") and everyone also knows that Abbott has been acting like a man in his business dealings with the women that have been hired in the OAG over the years.

Two of his surrogates stumbled in television interviews on the subject, saying women are too "busy" to think about equal pay for equal work and insisting that the reason women are paid less is that "men are better negotiators." The San Antonio Express-News reported that Abbott's office pays female assistant attorneys general $6,000 less, on average, than men in the same position, and Abbott's campaign said he would veto equal pay legislation that because current wage discrimination laws are sufficient, he would make it easier for women to sue over pay discrimination.

As attorney general, Abbott also successfully defended the state against a female college professor who was being paid less than her employees for the same work, arguing that federal equal pay protections don't apply in state court.

Davis pointed out on Monday that as state senator, she introduced an equal pay bill in a Republican-controlled Texas legislature that would have changed the circumstances under which women can sue their employers for pay discrimination, and it passed. Gov. Rick Perry (R) vetoed the bill last June.

The only thing Greg Abbott has done in the nearly twelve years he's held office -- besides sue Barack Obama, of course -- is act like a man.  Just as every other man has been acting towards the women they hire, in Texas and across the country, for decades.

Keep in mind that it's just an act.  In order to get men like Greg Abbott to act differently -- and also the millions of other men who have kept women down with this pay gap since, I don't know, forever -- enough shame and blame needs to be heaped on their heads and draped around their shoulders until they get it.  Until they start acting better.

Paying women less than men like me for the same job is wrong.  It's wrong even if their experience differs: if they are good enough to be hired, they are good enough to be paid the same.  Underpaying people on the basis of their genitalia is plain old discrimination.  Since so many women are primary breadwinners in their households now, pay inequality affects the children they are struggling to raise as well.

But here's where we are reminded that Republicans don't really care as much about children as they do fetuses.  Once that umbilical cord is cut you're on your own, kid.  Get out there and make something of yourself, like I did.

Especially if you're a man, like Greg Abbott.  Why, you can have a tree fall on you and collect ten million bucks for it, then make certain nobody else -- man, woman, child, or fetus -- ever does the same.

That might be what a real Texan looks like to Republicans.  But it's not how one acts.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

I'd like to see the next interviewer ask each one of Abbott's female surrogates, individually: "Do you believe that men are collectively, by virtue of heredity, better negotiators, etc., than you are?"