Is 'egalitarian a dirty word?
Linda Downing | Highlands TodayEgalitarians think people should have equal political, social and economic rights. Commentator Patrick Buchanan labels that "egalitarian fanaticism." His tirade titled "Equality Or Freedom?" (9/26/10 The Tampa Tribune) has nothing to do with either. Specifically, Buchanan is angry at the recent passage by the U. S. House of the Paycheck Fairness Act. That women still earn 77 cents for every dollar made by male counterparts, Buchanan says, should not be a concern of the government. Really? By the time this column appears, we may know what the Senate thinks. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sponsored the bill. Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Kay Hutchinson, and Lisa Murkowski (all Republicans) support it. Unlike Buchanan, they know existing laws are not strong enough. The Paycheck Fairness Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which purported more effective remedies for victims of wage discrimination. That's "1938"! The Equal Pay Act of 1963 tried again, but 47 years later, the wage gap persists. This update makes litigation less likely and costly in situations like Cynthia Haddad versus Walmart. She won a $2 million suit after proving gender discrimination as a 10-year pharmacist paid less than male counterparts. Buchanan has the gall to lead off his anti-act argument as "why America has lost the dynamism she had in the 1950s and '60s." Women educated in that era were programmed by society, church and education first and foremost to be homemakers, and perhaps teachers or nurses if husbands permitted. Buchanan is still there, playing the "oldies and goldies," insisting: (1) We need more "empirical evidence" of sexism; (2) Women gravitate to lesser-pay jobs; (3) Men show more aptitude for higher-pay jobs. Katie Corrigan, director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, a public-policy initiative at Georgetown Law Center, says: "It's almost like we're working off the memory of a time that doesn't exist anymore rather than facing the facts on the ground."
Published: October 14, 2010
Published: October 14, 2010
Back in 1866 a New Jersey senator argued against giving women equal rights: "They have a higher and a holier mission...at home...." In 2010 more women than men fill the workplace, and their wages significantly impact the home atmosphere. "Egalitarianism" and "feminism" are not dirty words. They scream "liberation." It is the creative intent of Genesis 1: both sexes in God's image; both given the same job description (v. 27-28); and both offered the same pay, "There is neither...male nor female..." (Galatians 3:28), enlightened Christianity. We've lost creativity and fallen into competition. The biblical fall of man and woman preceded Law. For thousands of years we've fought bringing law into alignment with spiritual principles. Detractors say the Paycheck Fairness Act sets "women against men...and creates havoc in the precarious job market." Isn't it strange that freedom is labeled "havoc"? With that in mind one might consider "yes" to Amendment 4, "no" to Amendment 8, calling on senators to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. They're all related. Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com