By DAWN GABLE (from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.)
HAVANA TIMES — I went to the Women’s Caucus at the Democratic National Convention, the first caucus I have ever attended, thinking that it would be a working session in which delegates would discuss the Party’s agenda from a female perspective and as it pertains to women’s issues.
But that was not at all the case. It was instead a pep-rally with the delegates being entertained and pumped up by a series of women leaders, personalities, and politicians.
Unsuprisingly women’s reproductive rights were the focus of the most speakers followed by women empowerment and political participation. Nancy Pelosi opened the event to raucus cheers. She declared that Women have the most to lose if the Republicans win, reminding us that they are not only anti-Choice, but they are also against birth control. They are not interested in education or health care, she pointed out, but they are for “government in our bedrooms and that’s just not right!”
Cecile Richards, demonstrating women’s progress over the past century, related that when her grandmother was just a girl in Texas, only idiots, imbeciles, illiterates and women were barred from voting. A generation later her mother Anne Richardson was the first pro-choice women governor of Texas.
Richards ruminated about last weeks’ Rupublican National Convention. Instead of talking about jobs and the economy, she said, they ranted about ending access to birth control, illegalizing abortion and cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. “It’s as if they think that the solution to unemployment is hidden in our uterus!”
When women vote, Democrats Win!
Richards assured that women are going to be the majority of voters… just like four years ago and we will relect Obama. He stood up for women and now we will stand up for him, she said, referring to early 2011 when the government was on the verge of a shut down because the Republicans refused to approve the budget unless Obama cut funding to Planned Parenthood. The President said no. They eventually gave in.
Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, a Political Action Committee designed to elect pro-choice women to office, alerted the women in attendance that if it were up to the Republicans we would all be put back in the kitchen. “If I’m in the kitcen people are going to starve.”
But there is hope; there are a record number of women running for the Senate and House of Representatives including two women Iraq combat veterans. She called on all Democratic women to go out and talk to their sisters about the difference between the Parties.
Health care is a right not a privilege
Mame Reiley, Chair of the event, confirmed one of the main tenents of the Cuban Revolution: health care is a right not a priviledge. But then Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke of one of her main accomplishments: women in her state get a 48 hour hospital stay after giving birth. Incredibly, women around most of the country do not enjoy that right.
Florida Representative, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz shared a touching personal story about her battle with breast cancer and her concern for her two daughters. Obamacare made sure that citizens cannot be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions. The issue itself is something unconceivable in Cuba.
Wasserman-Shultz, Democratic National Committee Chair, who receives maximum campaign contributions from right-wing Cuban-Americans, then introduced Valerie Jared, senior advisor to Obama, as her “girlfriend”. That may explain something about Obama’s weak attempt at “improving” US relations with Cuba.