In general, I reject the idea that there are "men's issues" and "women's issues" -- as if some topics are off-limits to one gender or the other. Typically, modernly, it's men who are barred from topics that we can't possibly have an intelligent opinion on, but historically the discrimination has worked both ways. Actually, let me rephrase: I do believe there are certain areas of life that can best be handled by people of a certain gender, but since we're just talking about politics here and people of both genders get to vote, I don't think either gender should attempt to reserve certain domains as their own territory. Attempts at such labeling are generally intended to shut down debate by undermining the legitimacy of those with opposing views.

But let's look at some so-called "women's issues" and see how they may influence female voters.

"If President Bush or Senator Kerry wants to move more undecided women voters and bond more deeply with them, they have to start paying a little more attention to the issues that matter in these women's daily lives," said Meredith Wagner, executive vice president of public affairs at Lifetime Television.

According to Wagner, the prevention of violence against women and the promotion of equal pay and women's health are the issues likely to impact the female vote in the presidential election.

So there we have three things that are supposedly (according to this "expert") important to women, and by even naming these issues the expert entirely sidesteps the question of whether or not the government should be meddling in these areas at all.

First is "the prevention of violence against women", but is this a federal issue at all? Aren't the vast majority of violent crimes handled at the state level? Shouldn't states be concerned with preventing violence against everyone, not just women? The only real way I see for the federal government to get involved here is to more vigorously protect our Second Amendment rights, but I get the feeling that isn't what Meredith Wagner means.

Second is "the promotion of equal pay", which many would argue isn't a proper function of government at any level. Being a capitalist nation, why should the government get involved in what people are paid? As long as workers (male and female) are free to accept and reject jobs and negotiate for their wages, any action by the government will end up reducing liberty, not enhancing it.

Third is "women's health", which is generally a euphemism for abortion. Again, this may properly be an issue for the states, but if people want the federal government involved there's no guarantee that the majority (even the majority of women (except maybe old women)) would agree with those women who would use this euphemism. Those who tout "women's issues" probably wouldn't see the widespread banning of abortions-of-convenience as "women's health".

So really, what have we got? These "women's issues" look pretty irrelevant and insubstantial to me. Are these really the concepts that motivate female voters? I certainly hope not.

If anyone can think of some politlcal "men's issues" (irrelevant and insubstantial or not) I'd be very curious to see them.



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