‘Violence Against Women Act’ stalled over Inhuman Politics

August 29, 2012

Politics is all too human, as we know.  Can’t we hope for some genuine humanity from our politicians? 

Apparently not.  As we watch political parties appeal to demographic segments at circus-like conventions, Congress sits empty.  Important bills sit in piles.  Including some bills for laws that can mean life and death for real people, right now.

Such as the Violence Against Women Act, which requires periodic renewal since its inception in 1994.  Will it get renewed before this 112th Congress concludes business by the end of the year?  Or will the distractions of national elections, and the theater of pure politics, let this Act lapse and leave millions of women without its protection?

Infuriating enough, I know.  And worse, look at the apparent cause for this Congressional gridlock over what should be an automatic unanimous vote.  As reported by Annie-Rose Strasser over at Think Progress (here and here), the Senate has already passed a version specifically including protections and services for women in America who happen to be immigrants (legal and undocumented), members of American Indian tribes, and LGBT persons.  Nothing really new with these protections — previous reauthorizations have included such specifics.  But the House of Representatives won’t approve them anymore, not this year.  And it doesn’t look like the majority in the House will move an inch to compromise.

So the entire Violence Against Women Act lies in legislative limbo.  If you haven’t acquainted yourself with this urgent political issue, you might start with recent reporting from Meghan Rhoad at Huffington Post, Alissa Bohling at Truthout, and Susan Webb at People’s World.

The humanist ethos has always been able to recognize every person as equally worthy of basic rights and fundamental protections.  Why would the “greatest country on earth” still pretend to such greatness without fulfilling the responsibilities of this humanist ethos?  Where is our humanity?