We already know what the centerpiece of President Obama's State of the Union address will be tonight: tax hikes on wealthy couples making over $500,000 a year. That's great. Tax 'dem couples. Tax 'em until they have to shave off a week from their kid's summer-long stay at an equestrian camp in the Adirondacks so the rest of us can get some free community college classes.
We already know something else, sadly: women and our various issues will not get much play tonight.
Even though we are on the brink of another battle year to keep our abortion rights just at the status quo—heaven forbid we actually ADVANCE what we already have; 2016 will instead be marked by personhood campaigns, heartbeat initiatives, and the positively morbid "pain capable" bill—our Democratic ally in the White House will likely come up short on helping bolster reproductive rights, as well as a number of other causes that could help advance our lot.
But if I had dozen monkey paws, here's what our President would announce.
12-Week Paid Maternity Leave
We are the only major industrialized country that does not have paid maternity leave for women. I grew up in a country (this one) where the notion of "family values" has cleaved the cultural political system in two. With the right occupying the space of being staunchly committed to the preservation of family—through anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-speech legislation. No matter how many diaper-clad, vow-busting, hooker scandals that rock the GOP, they have maintained their "brand" of being the family oriented party.
Take it from them, Obama. Say that mothers deserve financial security when they create life. Say that the greatest commitment to family values is an economic one. Force these assholes to take a position against MOTHERHOOD and watch 'em twist and burn.
Universal Child Care
Why stop at 12 weeks? Babies can't drive themselves to market or to the library to hear a story. They also need to be fed and monitored pretty much all day so they don't, um, eat spikes? Actually, allow me to be so radical as to say: babies deserve to THRIVE in settings with stability where their caretakers are well-paid and stable. Guess who many of these professional child-care people would be? Women!
Raising the Damn Minimum Wage
Hello, do you work in the service industry, otherwise known as the predominant work sector of our economy because we don't make things anymore? Then you are likely a woman! You know what would really help women Lean In to their various professions—such as teaching, nursing, retail, waitressing, hotel, entertainment? The establishment of a federal living wage! That way we would not need to rely on the benevolent karma of our bosses to pay us fairly.
Functional Elder Care Policy
Somethings to know about life:
- It's absurd.
- Men die before women
- We have a totally expensive and crazy way of taking care of the aged in this country.
Nursing and homecare workers, which are over 92 percent women, make bottom-of-the-barrel wages to start, so the incentive to provide care from your home or from a facility is extremely low. Further, getting old in this country means spending down your assets (a.k.a. going broke) so you can qualify for state and federal programs. It's gross and inhumane to women, human beings, et al.
A Rational Way To End College Sexual Assaut
Rather than ask educational institutions to better handle *felony sexual assault*, it would behoove the president and the rest of us sisters if colleges, police departments, and district attorneys worked better in tandem to make sure victims come forward and their assailants prosecuted IN COURT. Universities have zero business in adjudicating felonies and have proven in the last year that when they do, they fail.
A Federal Abortion Law
Take this issue out of the courts' and the states' hands. Abortion is a civil right and should be protected by the federal government. End. Full Stop.
We'll be live blogging the speech on Jezebel at 9 p.m. Join us.
Image via Getty