Former U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, D-Colorado, spoke in the Plenary session V: "Beyond the War on Women: A Feminist Vision for a Just Society" at the 2011 National NOW Conference.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I have this terrible problem, in that I made a mistake when I moved from Colorado to Florida two years ago and then I discovered what kind of a government we have down here. [LAUGHTER] You may notice I do have my pink uterus button on. For those of you who don't know, I was totally flattened when the speaker of the house told an assemblyman, Scott Randolph from Orlando, where I live. What Scott did is he sat on the floor of the legislature and he said, "I have told my wife that if she really wants to be safe in this state on reproductive health, she should incorporate her uterus, because Republicans never go after corporations." So the speaker of the house decided he should be disciplined for using the word "uterus" on the floor. So people in Florida are wearing uterus buttons.
But it only furthers what this wonderful woman, Maya, said about the war on women – that is going on in the House of Representatives, that is going on in legislatures all around this country – and they are trying to push us back as far as they can. And if they can get us economically dependent, they can control us, ladies. That's what this is all about. They really want to pull us back in and get us back in there. That whole group that believes that the male has to be the godhead.
You know, that whole thing, it just scares me. But they are all over the place and they are on the Hill. They are part of that family group, remember? And so it is a real concerning thing that this is happening. And I also want to underline what she's saying, because I think many of the Democrats that we know and love are suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome. [APPLAUSE] This is America, dammit. We send them up there to fight, and then next thing we know, they're tap-dancing, trying to explain, "Well…."
And today – I don't know if you noticed it – but they did it again. Today they announced a $20 million funded campaign, already launched against all these Democrats, including the President. They've got money to throw at this stuff till it goes, you know, forever, until they get it all. And they are getting close to getting it all. But the good thing is, they may have the money, but we have the people. And that is what we've really got to talk about tonight. [APPLAUSE]
There's so many thing I want to say. We know have this Pink Slip Rick. And I can go on and on. And I want to thank all of you who have worked for the Equal Rights Amendment, worked to open doors for women, have rocks thrown at us and have been called everything you can think of, had crap thrown at us, and then we got to stand there and watch running through those open door, a moose-humming, pro-life, pit-bull hockey mom and wonder what in the world we were doing, right?
Now, I got into great trouble with the press because someone said, "What do you think of Sarah Palin? [LAUGHTER] And I said, "Well, about the same as I thought of Phyllis Schlafly and others like her." [APPLAUSE] But I said the one thing we know is when you work to push open the doors, you don't get to control who runs through. We were opening for everyone. And they've really shown their ill manners. They never stopped and said thank you, nor have they tried to open the door for one more person. So we kind of know who they are and we have the right to point it out.
And there is some good news that came out of that. Think about this: As we go forward, if we can get more women running and we ever hear any of those cultural warriors out there attacking working moms, you can put gauze in their mouth, because they were out defending little Sarah. They were out defending her as a working mom. So that's some good news. The cultural warriors can't go out there again. They'll look pretty stupid. They also kept talking about how she was being harmed by sexism, which I thought was hysterical. I loved watching those conservative commentators talking about sexism and poor little Sarah. Really? That is quite interesting. And the other thing that I really thought was quite interesting is they were talking about the daughter's pregnancy as a "challenge." Really? They did have to do a little twisting on their petards as they tried to get through that.
But I must say, the rest of it is total badness. We have about women out there, that – well, I don't know what they are, but you're absolutely right, we have to look at the leaders that are standing for the right values and there are many people…. I used to always say that my wonderful friend, God love her, she's gone this year – Gerry Ferraro. She lost because of rednecks and red lips. I can't tell you how many women I would hear say, "Well, I'm not going to vote for her because she's a women." I don't know what they thought there were going to get out of that – if the guys were going to let them in the club or what was going on, because the guys were not going to let them – but invariably a guy would go over and say, "We'll I'm really happy to hear you say that because if I had said that they would have said I was a sexist. And I would think, "Oh my gosh, well aren't we proud of ourselves how we stand together here?" And I do think that is one of the problems. We have to learn to stand together so much more than we have in the past. [APPLAUSE].
Now, here is the amazing this. We women are the sleeping giant in this country, we really are. If you look at the Obama election in 2008, he carried the men 49 to 48 percent – one sliver. Among women it was 56. He got 56 percent of the women and lost 43 percent. Now what happened in 2010? We stayed home. We heard about healthcare. We heard about Bart Stupak – remember him, that wonderful family member – and we heard a lot of our Democratic friends one more time say to women, "You've got to take one for the team."
Now, it's a team they never let us play on until it is time to take one and then it's, "OK, you can come off the bench now. You're going to take one for the team. Wait a minute. I wanted to play on the team before I had to take one for the team. [APPLAUSE] And I think women were just so doggone angry about it that they just didn't bother, and it was hard to go out. But look what happened. And I am telling you, we cannot let that happen again. And we cannot let the perfect by the enemy of just getting by.
Now, what I think we really have to do is leave here and all commit to have everybody give you give. Go outside and find women that you can really work on and that you can make sure get to the polls.
I want to tell you something about this state that made me sit down on the curb and cry. I literally was out registering people in the state, and the third time this happened I was just devastated. The first time, I thought I just got somebody who was a little nuts. The second time, I thought, Hmm. And the third time – that did it. What happened was I would knock and say you really should register, it's very important, start talking about it, and this lady would say, "Honey, you're not from here, are you?" And I'd say, "No, you can tell from my accent I'm not from Florida but I live here now and blah blah blah." She said, "Well, honey, if you were from here you would know it makes no difference because they don't count our votes in Florida. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE]
You know, there's a lot of people thinking that. So we've got to get out. And they are doing everything they can to take the votes away from us. They really are. I could go on and on. I know you're looking at wine outside and so…. But my answer to Stupak and these people talking about "Don't fund Planned Parenthood" or "Don't fund contraception," "Women have to get their reproductive stuff through a special little rider" or "They can buy their own rider for that – we won't have it in healthcare." Okay then – let's put men's Viagra, their vasectomies, the macho men who won't wear helmets when they ride on a motorcycle, male infertility – let's get them a little rider for that, too, huh? Show them equal rights. [APPLAUSE]
I am going to quit because I could go on for four hours and I've got so many things. But just remember: if your dreams aren't big enough and scare you, then they are not big enough. The dreams have got to scare you, and we gotta really dream about when we're really on the team. And when we're really on the team, we may take one for the team occasionally – only when it's our turn. But if they're not letting us on the team, we can't take it anymore. And the fact that this is really serious – this whole thing about Social Security, about healthcare, all of this could come unraveled, and these darned courts with their Wal-Mart decision and all that – these are all impacting women and children, and all of the cuts are women and children. That's not the America that I am part of. And so, women, people are going to tell you ten reasons they're mad and they don't want to vote. Just tell them, "Don't get mad and go vote." That's the real reason to go vote, or you will not believe how mad you're going to be next time.
Thank you so much for everything you've been doing. Thank you, thank you. [APPLAUSE]
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