I’m no peace-loving hippie, but what’s with our obsession with war? Everywhere I turn, some group or some party is declaring war on someone in America.
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The latest example is the Democrat’s strategy to claim Republicans are waging a “war on women” if they do not support increasing the minimum wage: “Are Republicans really going to block giving 15 million American women a raise?” asked Democratic Sen. Patty Murray at a recent press conference.
Why do Democrats go after women?
Women tend to be swing voters. Political strategists would like you to believe they are fickle and therefore an opportunity exists to sway them in any election. What better way to win their hearts and minds than to be the White Knight they never asked for but you convince them they need?
Women lack a strong voice. Women, historically, lacked an advocate for their rights. Someone willing to fight for them against a menacing (though imaginary) foe is enticing for a group that only recently secured equal rights and opportunities.
Women are more vulnerable. Women generally seek someone (a husband) or something (the government) to protect them. [Here’s where you insert the audible “gasp!” from feminists.] Not all women feel this urge, but it is a natural biological tendency that can’t be avoided for the sake of not offending someone.
Ladies, we are better than this. We are smart enough to recognize that we are pawns in a political game, played by lame strategists who care about messaging more than you as a human being.
The fact is that you can prove there to be a “war” on just about anybody! I could declare a “war on men” by pointing to the fact that fewer men graduate college than women, men lost their jobs at a disproportionately greater rate during the recent recession and women’s employment has rebounded faster than men’s.
Pick virtually any group in America and we can play this game.
Republicans aren’t waging a concerted war on women. They are just an awkward bunch that doesn’t know how to talk to them. Like the geek at the high school dance, they aren’t dancing well with girls because they hate them; they simple have two left feet.
Luckily messaging, just like dancing, can be taught. Here are five pieces of advice for any politician trying to talk to women:
Don’t try to be cute: Speak to me, or any woman, like I am a competent human being capable of rational thought.
Empathize but don’t patronize: Speak to me as though I have the same fears, doubts and concerns as everyone, as well as the same aspirations.
Quit the partisan BS: Speak to me about the issues that unite us, rather than reminding me of our petty differences or focusing on the negatives of the other party.
Don’t say dumb things: Conservative social principles are great, but think about how you express them or if it’s even necessary to say something about it in that moment.
Stay on message: Be prepared for the media to try and trap you. Practice graceful ways to pivot onto the things you want to talk about, such as job creation or education.
Women are not foreign creatures like something locked behind glass at a museum. We’re just like you, except we have lady parts. Believe it or not, our decisions and political beliefs are also based on more than the fact that we have lady parts. Some women may be one-issue voters, but that’s not the case for all women.
Until Republicans learn to talk to women – or all Americans, for the matter – they will continue to struggle gaining new voters. They will also continue to fall victim to a media eager to excoriate them at the first mention of libidos and Uncle Sugars.
Democrats could also do us all a favor and quit this caricature of a war. It is patronizing, deceiving and tiresome.