- - Thursday, September 27, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As I write this, hundreds of people are converging on the streets of Washington, D.C., and in the halls of the U.S. Capitol with T-shirts saying “Believe Women.”

Does anyone bother to ask what this really means? Obviously, on the surface it is a statement of support for the women who have accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault or misconduct.
But how would they end that sentence?

Believe women above men, always and without question? Believe women immediately, and forget about due process? Believe women no matter what, to the point that a man is convicted in the court of public opinion with any evidence or opportunity for rebuttal?

Is that really what this is about now?

We’ve heard from plenty of people on both sides of the aisle who have come forward to say that this confirmation process has been turned into a complete circus. Of course Christine Blasey Ford deserves to be heard, and there is a prescribed, orderly way to handle the situation which would have respected both the rights of accuser and the accused, granting them the proper forum to have their say.

The process allows the accuser to tell their story, while also allowing the accused the opportunity to either admit their guilt or defend themselves from the allegation.

The integrity of the process is vital in the honest pursuit of the truth. But for many on the left, the ends seem justify the dishonest and disconcerting means that are currently underway in our nation’s capital.

“Believe Women” is a clever slogan and effective social media hashtag, undoubtedly. But it is not solely about pursuing truth, and it’s certainly not about supporting all women. If you are going to wear a Believe Women t-shirt, you had better to be ready to believe all women … even the ones who disagree with you.It’s easy to believe a story you desperately want to be true, but what of a statement you do not like? Will you believe us then?

The left needs to understand that they do not speak for all women. Nor do you get to squeeze us into a convenient box that fits your narrative du jour. If they truly valued women they would quit making us pawns in vapid hashtags and shameless attempts at political gain. By pretending that you speak on behalf of all women, you steal and silence the voice of any woman who dares disagree with you.

Nor will I stand by while being lumped into this “conservative man vs. all women” notion. It has been painted by liberal female politicians to seem just like a junior high dance — with boys on one side and girls on the other. To reduce it to that level of ridiculous simplicity is a discredit to our gender. We do not live in a vacuum. We are not simply women. We are wives and sisters and daughters and nieces and mothers (yes, to sons as well as daughters).

When you purport to speak for me … you are the one taking away my voice and jeopardizing the future for my children … sons and daughters. You. Not the GOP or RNC or Senate Judiciary Committee or Judge Kavanaugh. You. And you do not speak for me. I do not give you that authority, and I certainly do not cede my autonomy as an American citizen to the current hashtag mob-mentality.

It is not OK for elected representatives to wage proxy war on American citizens who disagree with them, advocating that they are dangerous to women. It is not OK to bully those who disagree with you, any more than it is wrong to bully those who look different from you.

Courage is not the lobbing of verbal assaults based on gender knowing that your opponent cannot retaliate. It is not dishing out what you couldn’t or wouldn’t take yourself. If a male senator stood for the press and told women to step up and shut up, he would likely be excoriated for his actions. And well he should. Because that’s not the way we talk to each other in civil society.

True empowerment is thinking for yourself, even when you are being told what to think and for whom to vote. It is standing up to bullies in the public square who call you names because you don’t support the narrative they need to stay in power. It is not lining up to receive the day’s talking points, and blindly following marching orders.

We’ve been told by the left if we vote Republican it is because our husbands told us to. We’ve been told that if we stay home and raise our kids that it’s not really work. If we speak up publicly for something in which we believed, we’ve been ridiculed based on our looks. If we dare run for office, we’ve been called demeaning and sexist names … all by other women.

So how about the relevant hashtag becomes #ListenToWomen … all women. We can vehemently disagree on issues, but at the end of the day, still respect one another as fellow children of God, recognizing the dignity and humanity of one another. We don’t need to yell and scream and belittle one another to be heard.

We cannot allow the political narrative to be so eager in making all women out to be victims that we are taking away the voice from those among us who have truly been victimized.

Women should lead the way to bring this country back from the brink of disastrous division. We should not — on the left or the right — let ourselves be defined solely by our gender or our political leanings.

Because one woman doesn’t rise by putting another down … #BelieveMe.

Amy Clark, a sixth-generation Texan, is the former vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas and longtime conservative activist.


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