Donald Trump has been a boon for angry women. He excites their troops, animates their causes no matter how diffuse, and in turn the ladies have turned him into a pinata, a uuuuge target for thwacking. With his coarse verbal machismo, he has become a greater-than-lifesize quarry for blaming “the man.”
This made it easy for feminists and certain other women to focus their fury on the president on International Women’s Day. But even Donald Trump being Donald Trump wasn’t a big enough a target for some of the angry ladies on the global stage. They want to use the energy of despising the Donald to organize a “new wave of feminist militant struggle.”
Some politically unsavory women attempted to influence the direction of “A Day Without a Woman” here and across the world, to expand the day to make war against the president’s “aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies,” as they explained to the London Guardian, and move it to a more inclusive agenda “at once anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist and anti-neoliberal.” (Have they left anybody out?)
They might have added “anti-Israel,” since one of the authors of this manifesto is Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian terrorist, convicted of terrorism in Israel in 1970 for participating in the killing of two Israeli students who were innocently shopping for groceries in a Jerusalem market. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but had spent only 10 years in an Israeli prison when she was part of a prisoner swap. She came to the United States and became an American citizen in 2004, which says a lot about the quality of vetting prospective immigrants. It’s part of “herstory,” we suppose.
Flourishing in the American democracy, Ms. Odeh was not discovered as having lied about her past for a decade. She was subsequently convicted of immigration fraud, and won a new trial, set for later this year, with the “explanation” that the trial court did not consider that she suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder is commonly invoked by combat veterans suffering memories of horrors on the battlefield. (No one can make this stuff up.)
Ms. Odeh joins others with notorious resumes to attempt to infuse new energy in the feminist movement. Her sister-signers of the International Women’s Day manifesto include Angela Davis, the Stalinist queen of the Black Panthers who was tried in 1972 for buying the guns used in a courtroom shootout that ended in the death of the judge. After she was acquitted she ran twice as the vice presidential candidate of the Communist Party. She was cheered at the women’s march against Donald Trump the day after his inauguration, along with Madonna and Gloria Steinem, calling for “resistance on the ground, in the classroom, and on the job.”
Perhaps the most radical recommendation for celebrating International Women’s Day was proposed by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, who dared suggest adding “the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are.” She got an avalanche of criticism on social media.
The American contingent calling for “A Day Without a Woman” demonstrations, urges women to play hooky from their jobs to draw attention to women in the workplace, but it actually reflects the class divisions that have always divided the women’s movement in the United States. Playing hooky from the job demonstrates the widening gap between college-educated women and women working at lower-paying jobs, between those who “lean in” with an assertive pose of authority and those who “lean in” with an aching back.
Staying home from the job naturally falls hardest on women dependent on a regular paycheck and who cannot risk opting out. Two school districts, one in Virginia and another in North Carolina, shut down on “A Day Without a Woman” because they didn’t have enough teachers and support staff to stay open, penalizing working mothers who depend on the schools to occupy their children part of the day. Their affluent “lean-in” sisters enjoyed a day off. A day care worker in Chapel Hill, N.C., where classes were canceled, tells The New York Times, “If I don’t work, [the working mothers] don’t work, and if they can’t work, they don’t get paid.”
The organizers of “A Day Without a Woman” urged women taking the day off to avoid shopping with kind, thoughtful exceptions for shopping at “small, women- and minority-owned business.” This sets apart — segregates, you might say — the owner of that little shop around the corner. So much for Martin Luther King’s dream of judging “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Organizers not only mock Martin Luther King’s dream, but the American dream. It was just this out-of-touch elitism that got Donald Trump elected, with millions of working women’s votes. He didn’t have to feel the pain of an Election Day without a woman.
• Suzanne Fields is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.
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