Thursday, 07 June 2012
A Bleak Day's Hangover
All through my life “they” told me that people mellow with age. I'm 71 now and I'm still waiting for my emotional life to smooth out. Instead, it appears my passion for the things I care about has grown beyond what it was when I was younger.
If you try hard to believe that some things do get better over time, Tuesday was not one to get out of bed. First, Senate Republicans filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act that would have given teeth to the equal pay Lily Ledbetter Act passed in 2009.
The bill failed to reach the required 60 votes to move forward; every Senate Republican voted against it. As thinkprogress reported:
”Republicans framed the measure as a useless bureaucratic roadblock that would have hindered free enterprise and helped trial lawyers. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) called the bill a 'war on free enterprise.'”
Uh-huh. In Wednesday's commentary somewhere I've lost track of, it was noted that slave owners used to say that about abolitionists.
On average, women earn just 77 percent of what men are paid for equal work. That's up from 58 cents per male dollar in in 1967, so women have gained a big, fat 19 cents per hour in 45 years.
According to the Center for American Progress, “Over a 40-year working career, the average woman loses $431,000 as the result of the wage gap.” That means entire families' well-being is affected by reducing the amount of food, education, housing and health care they can afford.
And I would like to remind you of this: the pay gap reduces a woman's Social Security benefit. It is certain that some women reading this blog post are struggling in retirement because they were paid 30 or 40 percent less during their working years than men doing the same job.
Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said his party was justified in voting down the measure:
“'We don’t think America suffers from a lack of litigation,' he said.”
In other words, to hell with equality. It's too expensive.
If that were not depressing enough, Tuesday evening Governor Scott Walker overcame efforts to recall him from office by eight points. You just wonder how stupid Americans are to go against their own interests.
Walker, thanks to billionaire money (two-thirds of it from out of state) outspent the Democrat seven to one, $30 million to $4 million. Is this a preview of November?
Nothing will get better until we drop the absurd notion that money equals speech and corporations are people too, “my friend.” I don't see that happening anytime soon with the Supreme Court and the Congress we have.
As if those two events weren't enough of a bummer, there was the sad news yesterday that Ray Bradbury had died on Tuesday at age 91. Just on Sunday, I read a fine autobiographical essay by him in the current New Yorker titled, Take Me Home.
I have never been an avid fan of science fiction, but Bradbury was different. I'm pretty sure you can't consider yourself well read in American literature if you have missed Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man or The Martian Chronicles among others.
There is a wonderful obituary of Mr. Bradbury at The New York Times and the comments are worth perusing too. Something, then, to celebrate – an extraordinary life.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Gas Emissions