Recently, a slew of media outlets have reported on the apparent political machinations of Democrats within Congress to manipulate discussion around the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in order to make Republicans look (even more) at odds with over half of the U.S. population.  The response by Republicans to this Democratic “scheming” has been swift and overwrought, their indignation palpable.  “At a moment of economic crisis, the No. 3 Democrat in Senate (Chuck Schumer)… is sitting up at night trying to figure out a way to create an issue where there isn’t one — not to help solve our nation’s problems, but to help Democrats get reelected,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused. (Huffington Post)
A quick note on VAWA and why we should even care that one more piece of legislation has become a straw person floating in the bottomless cesspool of political vitriol between Democrats and Republicans:
The most recent iteration of VAWA, renewed in 2005, allocated $3.935 billion of funding to enforcing legislation addressing crimes against women, training responding officers and prosecutors, and supporting community organizations engaged in the on-the-ground work in the field.  Think of all of the domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, sexual assault hotlines in your area (among many other services).  Chances are they receive some form of government funding via VAWA.
It’s kind of an important piece of legislation to renew.
So the recent political bargaining around VAWA, and legislation like it, makes my skin crawl. Is VAWA perfect? Hell no. In this woman’s humble opinion, it doesn’t do nearly enough to effectively support the crucial intervention of organizations working to address the systemic culture of violence against those without power/privilege in this country (frequently women, children, LGBTQ folks, POC, differently-abled people, lower-income populations, and undocumented immigrants).
That said, hearing legislators talk about VAWA as if it is clearly first and foremost a political maneuver (as opposed to, I don’t know, an actual attempt to allocate resources to address a disturbingly prevalent problem in our society) is beyond infuriating.
To Sitting Members of Congress:
Get. Your. Ever-loving. Lives. Together. I should not be reading articles where you even think to presume to hypothesize that movement around this type of legislation could be exclusively politically motivated. Not only does it make you all look bad, Democrats and Republicans alike, it’s cynical to the point of “I Don’t Care About Your Whining Anymore”.
If you really do think that your opponents are pushing social reform legislation for primarily political reasons, and therefore you have decided to sink to their level and make the discussion about who’s trying to politically out-maneuver who, do me a favor: keep it to your g’darn self.
Pretend, ok? Pretend, for me, that you actually give a damn that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, that teen dating violence is increasing at  a disturbing rate, that 10-20% of our kids are at risk of exposure to domestic violence in the home.
Do that, and I might be able to believe that you are, in fact, a human being with any sense of moral accountability.
P.S. This pony I’m sitting on is hardly a high horse, but he does like to get out of the stable every so often to stretch his legs. You’d really like him! I call him “Soapbox”.