Last week, while organizing my bookmark file for Catalan singer/songwriter Judit Neddermann, my mouse hand got ahead of my mind and deleted the entire file. Sunday morning seemed a good time to rectify the situation.

          During my listening, I lit upon a concert from several years ago. Among the comments, from just earlier last week, was a fan, writing in Spanish, admiring the “simplicity of her beauty” and wishing that she would collaborate with other favorites. (I keep Google translate handy for five languages.)

          As is often the case with YouTube, two people had replied to the initial comment. First, I discovered someone with an Anglicized name, writing in English, proudly reporting how he had just hacked his girlfriend’s Instagram account. He had announced this stalking only a few hours before I arrived at the site. The second reply was from another English writer with an Anglicized name, thanking him and announcing his own success in doing the same.

          Why the first commenter decided that a reply to a Spanish post on an old, foreign, music video was the ideal spot to reveal his predatory tendencies is a puzzlement. That a like-minded stalker found it within a couple hours is just as disturbing.

          I think this says something about the conditions women face in the world today, where even men they should be able to trust have less than honorable intentions.

          Last week the U.S. House reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. The vote was 224-172, with 14 reps not voting. 215 Democrats voted “yea.” Four did not vote. Twenty-nine Republicans supported the act, ten did not vote and 172 GOPQ members, some of them women, voted against protecting the women in this country.

          President Biden was one of the original sponsors of VAWA back in his senatorial days. But, it needed to be reauthorized this year because its 2013 reauthorization lapsed in 2018 and GOPQ senate leadership refused to consider the House-passed measure in 2019.

          Any attempted count of sexual harassment claims and outright assaults of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, can only be temporary. More seem to pop up daily.

          Last week U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, also from New York, but a Republican, was accused of groping and fondling a young lobbyist before her texts for help resulted in him being escorted from the room.

          On Wednesday 172 Republicans voted against reauthorizing  VAWA.

          The House vote came the day after a Georgia man gunned down seven women and a male bystander, claiming that he was a victim of sex addiction and was trying to eliminate his temptations. Blaming the victims at its most extreme.

          This was not domestic violence, but gun-enabled violence against women. Perhaps mental checks prior to gun purchases could have prevented this.

          According to Susan Davis of National Public radio, “The most contentious issue in the House-passed bill is a provision that expands the criminal threshold to bar an individual from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking. It would also close the so-called boyfriend loophole to expand the definition of who is affected by existing gun prohibitions to include dating partners. ‘This legislation makes it clear that Democrats consider gun ownership a second-class right,’ said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

          Evidently, Rep. Good values gun ownership above a woman’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, “unalienable rights” that predate the U.S. Constitution, much less the 2nd Amendment.

          Then, again, Rep. Good, being a Republican, might be one of those strict(ly to our convenience) constructionists who reads “all MEN are created equal” as exclusionary of women. Many on his side of the aisle feel women are incapable of governing their own bodies.

          Davis makes clear it is the effort to keep guns out of the hands of demonstrably dangerous men that fuels GOPQ opposition:

          “In 2019, the National Rifle Association opposed the legislation for the first time, which put GOP lawmakers in a tough political position of voting against a popular law to support victims of domestic and sexual violence, or voting against the gun lobby. The NRA continues to oppose the legislation because of the gun provisions.”

          I guess even a bankrupt NRA still wields clout despite a Republican Justice Department reporting last October more than 500 domestic violence-related firearm cases in Fiscal Year 2020.

          Also in October, Myrna Buiser Schur at the Lippincott Nursing Center Blog reported, “Intimate partner violence coupled with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a perfect public health storm, further impacting the lives of victims around the world.”

          And 172 family-value-touting Republicans voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The five Oklahoma Republican representatives – hands still bloodstained from the Jan. 6 failed coup – actually voted 3-2 in favor of reauthorization. Rep. Frank Lucas and Rep. Kevin Hern opposed it. Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Rep. Stephanie Bice voted “yea.”  

          Rep. Cole condemned “many misguided provisions” in the bill that he hopes to see eliminated once it gets to the Senate. But, he voted to pass it because, “I am very supportive of the areas concerning Native American tribes and their ability to combat and end violence against women and children in their own communities.”

            A noble goal in every other community as well. But not for 172 Republican House members during Women’s History Month.

            Since I came in on a musical note, I’ll exit the same way. The Women’s Movement lost one of its icons last September with the death of Helen Reddy, whose 1972 “I Am Woman (hear me roar)” became the feminist anthem.

            As the fight for equal personhood continues, that battle song deserves a companion. I suggest “Woman of the World,” by Glasgow’s Amy Macdonald. The rocking refrain is “I’m not just someone else’s girl / I am a woman of the world / I’m soaring, flying, riding high and free / And nothing’s gonna get to me.”

            The rest of her catalog is aces, too.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: or

GOPQ prefers guns to women

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