In a move that surprised absolutely no one and still managed to be disappointing, America's deadbeat dad the GOP once again voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act—the bill that aims to protect women from gender-based wage discrimination. And yet, all around the country, we are voting to give disgraced lawmakers their jobs back. Is it me or is there something very wrong with this picture?
When the GOP blocked the PFA yesterday, they maintained their excuse: encouraging the systematically underpaid to demand a fair wage will lead to a lot of unnecessary lawsuits. You see, folks, if a woman agreed to a certain wage and put in the work and then suddenly decided that she regretted it (that is, how little she was being paid), she can can just cry "UNFAIR" and ruin a good corporation's reputation on a whim, when really she was asking for it to begin with. Thank god we have men and women in congress standing up for what is right in this just country.
Oddly enough, this time around, (since it's the fourth time the GOP has shut down the Paycheck Fairness Act) 19 Senate Republicans voted to extend debate on the bill as opposed to simply filibustering it to death. Of course, they did not do so because they actually supported the bill, but rather because they needed to kill time. It's just too close to election time to be making more unpopular decisions on very important matters that might lose votes.
It's interesting that we are experiencing such intense difficulty passing a bill that only seeks equality right when we're going through a Golden Era (of sorts) of political "Bad Boys." These bad boys aren't exactly your Fonzes or Uncle Jesses. Over at Politico, Alex Isenstadt writes of the massive second wind of various disgraced state congressmen.
He highlights Tennessee's Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R—pro-lifer who pressured his patient/mistress into having an abortion), South Carolina's Rep. Mark Sanford (R—Facebook drama queen who used state money to fund his Argentinian affair), Louisiana's Rep. Vance McAllister (R—endearingly nicknamed "the kissing congressman"), New York's Rep. Michael Grimm's (R—facing a 20-count federal indictment over his sketchy restaurant, sketchily named "Healthalicious") and Florida's Rep. Joe Garcia (D—accused of helping fund a false Tea Party candidate to "siphon" votes from a Republican opponent).
All of these men have faced public disgrace. And all of them are making steady comebacks for various reasons. Of course some of their opponents are also steeped in some controversy (politics, shrug), but Isenstadt also chalks these resurgences up to voters no longer expecting their lawmakers to be so picture perfect.
While their circumstances differ, Foley said each of the compromised congressmen benefits from a similar dynamic. With the rise of Twitter and a media seemingly obsessed by scandal, he argued, voters no longer knew what to believe about lawmakers — and no longer expected them to be pristine.
"If voters only elected people with perfect values," he said, "there'd be no one left to serve."
Well isn't that cute. We finally figured out that nobody's perfect, but why do we insist on putting the most fundamentally flawed of human beings back in the ring? (Really? DesJarlais?!) Maybe because their mediocrity is familiar, like getting back together with your habitually cheating partner? Or maybe their opponents were really that bad. Or maybe we really do believe in the American Dream—not the idea that you can make it if you try, but the other American Dream that dictates if you're a white dude, you're fucking gravy no matter how much you lie, cheat, or just mess up in general.
Not to mention that the idea of redemption, that fuels these dudes' comebacks is total and utter bullshit. There would be no forgiveness (thx Jesus), there would be no humility, there would be no redemption if they did not get caught. These aren't bad boys. They're fucking idiots who couldn't keep their shit on lock. And while we give them their jobs back, we cannot even guarantee equal pay protection for every day women in this country.
At this time, I would like to ask a handful of other nations of the world to stage an intervention for America. We have a problem, and we need help.
Image via Getty.