Congress, You Need To Get Your Act Together, Pun Intended

While we’re all really glad that Congress showed some signs of being able to do their jobs and passed some form of legislation in order to prevent the country from devolving into economic disaster (and also to prevent the dairy cliff), I for one am still BRUTALLY disappointed with the performance of our legislators.

Guess what never got reauthorized and therefore expired?  Oh, that’s right, the VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT.

Congress, what are you DOING?  I’m so sick of blogging about the Violence Against Women Act.  It’s not because VAWA isn’t important, it’s because it’s so important and so common sense that I can’t comprehend that we have lawmakers who claim to serve the people of the United States of America who could not reauthorize this legislation.  It’s literally a law that protects women from acts of violence, particularly when they cross state lines-~-for example, stalking across state lines.  Are we pro-stalking now?  I don’t understand.  This should have been reauthorized SIX MONTHS AGO.

But no, not our Congress.  They couldn’t get this done.  But let me explain, for those out there less familiar with the battle for VAWA, what exactly happened.

The Senate decided that illegal immigrants were still people with human rights, and that they should be protected under VAWA, and the Republicans in the House didn’t like that.  The Senate ALSO decided that lesbians were people too, and that they deserved protection, and the House Republicans didn’t like that either.  But the real sticking point has to do with Native Americans.

NATIVE AMERICANS!!  Have we in the United States not done enough bad things to the Native Americans?  Have you SEEN what reservations look like?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s the situation: right now, when a non-Native American commits a crime SUCH AS RAPE on a reservation, the US government cannot prosecute because it is on tribal land and the tribe cannot prosecute because said criminal is not a member of the tribe.  For this reason, violence towards Native American women is absurdly high-~-one in three will be the survivor of sexual violence in her lifetime.  So the Senate got to thinking and concluded that tribes should probably be able to prosecute rapists who rape women on the reservations.

And the House Republicans decided they didn’t like that either.

GUYS, THEY’RE RAPISTS.  You don’t need to defend them.  I mean, yes, they should have defense in court, they should have trials and be able to prove that they aren’t guilty, etc.  But you can’t just say that there are people who can’t be prosecuted in the United States.  The last thing we need is extra rapists running around.

But set all that aside for a second so that we can look at the more fundamental problem here: our politicians care more about their politics than our rights.  More about party platform than human dignity.  The Republicans are so scared to be seen caving to the ideas of the Democrats that they couldn’t bring themselves to approve VAWA, and let this law expire, so that women who need the protections it afforded no longer have access to it.

I, for one, do not think there is a viable defense for this kind of failure by our legislature.  Violence against women is obviously unacceptable, and the fact that we have a Congress that cares more about its own agenda than the well-being of our people has never been more evident than it is right now.

VAWA must be reauthorized.  The women of the United States deserve to be protected and to have our dignity upheld.  And to accept any less than that would be unconscionable.

It’s 2013.  Step it up, Congress.


~ by Randi Saunders on January 3, 2013.

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