Journal / Another one…

any woman who thinks she might give george w. bush the benefit of the doubt and vote for his so-called compassionate conservatism, should consider how much compassion he showed betty lou beets. most people have never heard of beets. she was a hearing-impaired, learning disabled, brain-damaged great-grandmother who spent her childhood being sexually abused by her father. she lived in poverty and violence, moving from one abusive home, one abusive man, to another. after years of physical and sexual abuse, and no help from law enforcement, she killed her husband.

beets was convicted in a trial that was handled so badly by an attorney who sold media rights to her story for his fee that a federal district court judge ordered a new trial. the state of texas, however, convinced the appeals court to reinstate both the conviction and the death sentence. which brings us to governor bush. texas law permits clemency on the basis of certain circumstances, among them a history of the defendant being battered by the victim. but clemency is not in bush vocabulary. so he ordered the state of texas to finish the job that betty lou betts father started years before.

if that doesn’t give you pause, maybe you should consider his promise to do for the united states what he has done for texas. dead last in state government spending per capita; 49th in state appropriations for the arts; 46th in maximum monthly welfare payments for needy families, regardless of size; 45th in percent of population graduating from high school; 9th in percent of children living in poverty; 5th in toxic chemicals released into the air; 2nd in prisoner incarceration rate. thanks to bush’s compassion, texas gives many underdeveloped nations a run for their money.

texas has among the highest rates of aids, tuberculosis and teenage pregnancy in the nation, and is scraping the bottom on immunizations. a huge percentage of texas families have no health insurance and the state has failed to reach out to thousands of children who could be enrolled in medicaid. women in texas are also slipping behind economically. texas women make 75.2% of what the lone star men make. only 17.4% of women have four or more years of college. nearly one in four texas women lives in poverty. and the state ranks 50th in economic autonomy for women. but this election isn’t just about numbers, it’s about issues and attitudes.

on issues: george bush opposes most pro-women policies from childcare to pay equity to abortion rights. and he would implement policies and appoint judges and cabinet officers who would work to move women back to the bad old days of no choices, no chances. perhaps most pernicious, though,is bush attitude towards women. as a self-confessed party boy and libertine, bush saw women in two roles madonna (laura and barbara bush, for example) or whore (feminists, for example). and although he claims to have had an epiphany at the age of 40 when he stopped drinking, found god and reformed himself, there is clear evidence that he continues in this worldview. at the 1988 republican convention (two years after bush supposed conversion), george w. was talking to david fink of the hartford courant. “”when you’re not talking politics,”” fink asked the then vice president’s son, “”what do you and [your father] talk about?”” “”pussy,”” replied the man who now wants women to trust them with their lives and futures and make him the next president of the united states.

finally, there are two words that should guarantee that no woman (other than a masochist) would vote for george w. bush. clarence thomas. that’s who w. named as his most admired supreme court justice. and if shrub makes it to the white house, he could wind up appointing four more just like thomas to the supreme court.

by: jim brody