Monday, October 22, 2012

The White House Replied To My Letter

A while back, I sent a letter to the White House regarding women’s rights. I mentioned that I was the spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote and described our mission. I forgot I even did this until today.
I know that it’s probably a form letter and Obama probably didn’t write it himself but I was happy to read that he has received other letters from people about women’s rights and I think it’s cool to know someone actually read it and took the time to reply. Below is the message:


October 22, 2012

Dear Kimberley:

Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about issues affecting women, and I appreciate hearing from you.

My Administration is working hard every day to promote equality, enhance women’s health and economic security, and ensure women have the opportunities they need and deserve at every stage of their lives. From my perspective, these are not just “women’s issues.” When women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men earn, this not only harms women, but families have to get by with less and businesses have fewer customers with less to spend. When a job does not offer family leave to care for a new baby or an ailing parent, this burdens both women and men. When insurance plans deny women coverage because of pre-existing conditions, it strains emergency rooms and drives up the cost of care for everyone. And when any American cannot fulfill his or her potential because of factors that have nothing to do with talent, character, or work ethic, we are all impacted.
The success of American women is critical for the success of American families and our economy. That is why I created the White House Council on Women and Girls during my first year in office and directed them to ensure every agency, department, and office in our Federal Government—with the policies they draft, the programs they create, and the legislation they support—takes into account the needs and aspirations of American women and girls. That work started with the very first bill I signed as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women. In 2010, I created the National Equal Pay Task Force to facilitate inter-agency coordination in identifying and combatting equal pay violations. As a result of these efforts, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has obtained more than $62 million in monetary relief since January 2010.
We are also working to equip women with the education and training they need to compete in today’s economy. Because women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs earn an average of 30 percent more than women in other fields, we are working to promote women and girls in STEM degrees and careers. In addition to passing the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is helping over 9 million students attend college, we also increased the number of students receiving Pell Grants by 50 percent. As a result of these increases, we are helping millions of students—including 2.3 million women—afford their tuition and reach for their dreams.
Additionally, we are working to expand opportunities for women by creating new jobs, supporting women small business owners and entrepreneurs, and promoting efforts to help women and men balance the needs of their families with the demands of their careers. Over the past three years, we repeatedly cut taxes for small businesses and provided over 16,000 loans worth more than $4.5 billion to female entrepreneurs. To promote workplace flexibility, we are working to make the Federal Government a model employer by adopting new policies on practices such as teleworking.
Finally, we are making significant strides in expanding access to, and improving the quality of, health care for women. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now required to cover preventive care without cost-sharing, and in 2011, more than 20 million American women were eligible to receive services such as mammograms, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care without co-pays or deductibles. As of August 2012, the covered services also include contraception and domestic violence screenings. By 2014, it will finally be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to women because they have a pre-existing condition such as breast cancer or pregnancy, and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. For more information on health care reform, please visit or
I am also committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose while supporting policies and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, assist pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.
To learn more about how my Administration is working to support women at all stages of their lives and careers, please visit Thank you, again, for writing.


Barack Obama


Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Dreamed Of A Teapublican

Just before I woke up this morning, I dreamed of a Teapublican. I am aware of her via social media. I will call her Lisa.

I write for the political blog Addicting Info, and I utilize various websites and public Facebook pages for content. Lisa is one of the many Teapublicans I follow. She is also aware of me and has said some pretty nasty and scathing things about me, so my association with her feels more personal, even though we’ve never met.  While following her, I have learned a little bit about who she is. She has a pretty good sense of humor. She has sadness in her life, which she has made public. She loves to laugh. She loves her family. But because she is a Teapublican, she also picks on people – some celebrities, some political, and I will grant her they are fair game. But when she picks on them, she becomes quite nasty. She uses hatred to ‘entertain’ and it clearly works with her Teapublican following. They latch on to her negativity and when I see it, I feel anger. I get very upset with how divided we are as a nation.

I often use sarcasm in my articles and blogs when writing about politics. I don’t believe I have used hatred or been the ‘mean girl’ and I do make an effort to promote voting and making sure I am truthful, as well as backing up my work with valid sources. I have found that Lisa also uses sources but many of them are very much like FOX. She likes to source Breibart and Drudge often and they are not always – or even often – reporters of the truth. But I digress.

In my dream, Lisa and I attended some kind of conference. It’s a bit fuzzy, so please forgive the fact I am not super-detailed, but I think the conference was not political and it gave me a chance to view her as a woman, a mother and a person who might be a friend of mine if the parties weren’t so divided. In the last part of the dream, we were on a bench and she had a cute animal on her head (it made sense at the time) and I was cooing to the little critter. I looked at her and felt love (not romantic, just to be clear) but in that moment, I didn’t see her politics at all. I recognized that we have differing views but I genuinely felt love for her as a human being. I remember feeling so sad that we were unable to really connect because our political passions kept us on different sides and frankly, I cannot stomach the hate and lies she preaches to her loyal followers.

I wish to add that neither side—the left or the right—are completely innocent or perfect. If you are familiar with my opinion and writing, you know that I am often sarcastic and get in my zingers. I am not afraid to call out the trolls and I say it like I see it. Often the other side sees that as offensive. But I don’t lie and I don’t promote hate. Tea Party folks have called me an “ugly liberal,” “ slut,” and  “ baby killer.” I have been accused of being part of the left’s fringe and my personal favorite—on Twitter, a woman said I was a “disgrace to humanity.”  I have an agenda: I want people to vote. Of course, I want everyone to vote Democratic down the line on November 6, 2012 but more importantly, I want EVERYONE to wake-up and get their butts to the voting booths and let’s see what shakes out. It should be about what the majority wants.

Getting back to the dream: Before I woke up completely, I continued to dream about Lisa. I dreamed about writing this blog. A strong feeling overcame me and I felt like for some reason, even if only for me, I needed write about the fact I felt love for a person who in my waking hours offends me. It’s not that I think it will make any real difference or that all of a sudden, everyone will come together in love but maybe it’s just an exercise in compassion and an opportunity to not bitch about what ‘the other side’ is doing.

I’m sure as my lovey-dovey morning fog wears off and the caffeine kicks in, I’ll be back to reading her posts with my jaw on the floor and a complete sense of disgust. Before that happens, I just want to immerse in the idea that underneath it all, we all just want to be loved and happy. Maybe if Lisa were happier, she would see things differently. I don’t know. I DO care. And I hope the U.S. is able to overcome all that divides us. I believe with some real effort, we can —and with a second term for Obama and a Democratic majority in Congress, we will. (Ha ha – had to get that in there!!!)