Women are People, Too

I’ve been on vacation for a week and I’m about to take a couple more days off to celebrate freedom (by being completely unproductive, ironically enough). During my time off, I did my level best to avoid getting irate or annoyed at Texas politics. Unfortunately, to read Texas politics is to get irate. And boy has it been an interesting week. Again.

Forget, for a moment, the irony of our small government governor pushing various laws that increase government power and ignore the irony of a man who doesn’t like taxes, welfare, and public expenditures because he wants to keep government off our backs even though he’s more than willing to call multiple special sessions (costing taxpayers real dollars) because it’s not only okay for government to be in a woman’s uterus but it’s evidently the most pressing issue in the state of Texas right now. And if you can forget all that, write a book and show the rest of us how.

The most important and ridiculous political moment from last week wasn’t Wendy Davis being chastised and condescended to by the men in the Austin state house. It wasn’t even the attacks on her feminist bona fides because she dyes her hair (although that runs a pretty close second.) Instead, our goofy, annoying moment of the week goes to Rick Perry for his continued attack on women (and this is why I shouldn’t read the paper on vacation!) by vetoing HB 950, the Lilly Ledbetter Act. HB 950 was relatively simple and enjoyed bi-partisan support in Texas. The bill mirrored Federal law and allowed worker protections against gender discrimination with regards to equal pay. If you don’t know Ledbetter’s story, you owe yourself a moment of outrage by googling and reading about her case.

In essence, Perry is against government intrusion except when he is for it.

I’m sure Governor Perry imagines himself a Constitutional scholar of sorts. Lord knows he’s been in office long enough he’s had plenty of time to read the thing. But, I can’t help but imagine he doesn’t quite understand the role of government based on that founding document. The goal of the Bill of Rights was to restrict the government’s intrusion in our lives and homes. We are free, the Declaration tells us, to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. The role of government is to protect citizens from threats the individual cannot stop on his or her own.

In fact, I might agree with Perry that over-regulation is a bad, destructive thing. He and I probably agree that the government isn’t there to protect us from ourselves. The government is there to protect us from those nefarious forces we can’t fight on our own. We must, as the founding fathers intended, trust the individual to make the best choices for themselves and their community. Federal laws and state laws should not trump those rights.

Someone just needs to remind Governor Perry that women are individuals, too.

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

3 Responses to Women are People, Too

  1. 8d82c662 says:

    Does the Governor have to give a reason for a veto? It seems kind of unfair if they don’t have to document their thought process as to why. I just looked at the web site and read the bill, saw the Veto, but no explanation for the veto.

    • John Wegner says:

      Sorry for the delay. Yes, he does have to respond. Perry’s veto contends that HB 950 duplicates existing federal law and that the legislation would hurt job creation. (It’s okay to shake your head in confusion.) HB 950 does, in some cases duplicate federal law but the Texas bill, sponsored by Rep Wendy Davis (remember her–she filibustered the abortion measure and made him mad), offered protection for state cases not covered by federal law. Additionally, the law allowed trials in state courts avoiding the increased costs federal court. (Perry’s veto, in essence, makes it more costly and more difficult to file the discrimination suit.)

  2. Eve says:

    Can I get an AMEN here! Unbelievable that he vetoed HB950. If he is elected to the presidency, I’m moving out of the country.

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