Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar (D) can save his righteous indignation. He is shocked to be chastised by conservatives following his appalling commentary on why women should not be allowed to have concealed weapons on campus. Welcome to our world.
Let's back up: In a floor speech about a bill that would prohibit concealed carry permits on college campuses, this is exactly what Salazar said about women who might be carrying a concealed weapon: (Full Story)
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”No doubt about it. It's offensive. Shocking, even. To begin with: Call boxes? Whistles? Safe zones? What, pray tell, is a woman to do if she is attacked outside a "safe zone?" What if she blows her whistle and no one is around to hear it? What if there is no call box in the place where the marauder chooses to perpetrate the attack? What if she blows the whistle, someone hears is, but assumes the whistle blower is not really in trouble, just thinks she is?
And more egregious, as anyone who respects the ability of women to be thinking, rational creatures would agree, is the suggestion that women don't know when they are in trouble or about to be attacked.
Salazar probably has good reason to be shocked that he's taking heat. It is the typical position of Republicans to sit silently by, and even apologize for missteps of their Democrat colleagues. Yet when a Republican makes a misstep, their apologies are in vain. They are given no grace, even when it's clear they are being taken out of context. Salazar knows he will be defended, or at least given a pass, by Democrats and feminists. It's already begun.
On the website Jezebel, Katie J.M. Baker wrote forgivingly: “Democrats say dumb things about rape, too,” She closed, after the link, with a sympathetic “Oy.” (Full Story) A far cry from their attacks against Republicans. This is the same website that published the headline after the 2012 election: "Team Rape Lost Big Last Night."
Salazar says he's really sorry: “I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That was absolutely not my intention. We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don’t believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I’m not sensitive to the dangers women face, they’re wrong.
“I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I’ve spent the last decade defending women’s rights as a civil rights attorney. Again, I’m deeply sorry if I offended anyone with my comments.”No "if," sir. I'm offended. Just as I'm offended that the chair of the South Carolina Democrats, Dick Harpootlian, compared Governor Nikki Haley to Eva Braun. And as I'm offended that President Obama's White House made Christina Romer feel like "a piece of meat." And as I'm offended that Obama advisor Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life. Or that Stephanie Cutter said women don't care about what's happened over the past four years regarding the economy. Or that the Obama campaign urged, on his website, women to "vote like their lady parts depend on it." Yes, I'm offended.
I know it goes against some very noble instincts of Republicans not to just let this go. They have a deep belief that man is flawed, and deserving of grace. I agree. But, if we continue to let Democrats get away with it when they say wildly offensive things about women, women will never hear about it. And they will hear, again and again, about mistakes Republicans make. And they will hear a steady drumbeat of fictional offenses by Republicans--most regularly that Republicans want to drag women kicking and screaming back to the 1950's, and to deny women basic health care. Ridiculous. But if that's all they hear, that's what people believe. The past election is proof positive.
So yes, human beings make mistakes. But I'm not sure this was just a mistake. Salazar's comments were deeply troubling--both from a wisdom and common sense standpoint, but also about the ability of women to think rationally and the need for them to be able to protect themselves--genuinely, as in actually prevent it from happening--in the case of an attack. Salazar seems to think they can't handle that responsibility, and should be left vulnerable. Nothing about that is ok. And we shouldn't let him, or the Democrats, or women, forget it.