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Robin Adams Cheeley: Excuse me if I don’t buy your faux concern
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Robin Adams Cheeley: Excuse me if I don’t buy your faux concern

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The last U.S. soldier has left Afghanistan. Twenty years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, George W. Bush vowed to unearth any who had provided aid or comfort to the 9/11 terrorists. The invasion of Afghanistan soon followed.

Operation Enduring Freedom lasted 20 years before President Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban a May 2021 withdrawal, and President Joe Biden, although extending the exit date, decided to follow through. After routing out the Taliban, or at least running them to Pakistan, the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan became a mission to rebuild the country into a democratic nation. One priority was to free the women and girls from conservative religious rules that barred them from going to school, working outside of the home, driving a car or even going outside without a male relative as an escort.

The U.S. spent an estimated $780 million to encourage and support women’s rights.

Biden’s follow-through to withdraw all troops resulted in lots of criticism, including, get this, the two-faced attacks lodged by conservative Republicans feigning concern about Afghan women and their freedoms. “Would they have to go back to following Taliban law and lose newly gained privileges?” they had the audacity to ask.

Oh yes, Democrats posed the same questions, but at least they have a track record at home, so to speak, that suggests they are fighting for women’s rights and freedoms.

But the likes of House Minority Leader Kevin “I Believe the Big Lie” McCarthy and other male Republicans spewing such babble is exasperating.

“The regime that is taking power is one that routinely violates human rights, particularly the rights of women,” McCarthy said, calling the situation another Vietnam.

Excuse me? They are concerned that the Taliban might act like the G-O-P in the U-S-A?

These are the same conservative elected officials who will punish a woman and force her to carry the child of her rapist or her own sibling if she’s raped by her father.

This is the law in Texas, where no abortion can be performed after six weeks, about the same time most women realize they are pregnant. Since 85-90% of all abortions happen after six weeks, this law prohibits almost all procedures. And unlike other efforts to sidestep the Constitution, the Texas law deputizes average citizens to ensure compliance. Anybody can sue doctors, clinics or even the Uber driver who shuttles a pregnant woman to the doctor’s office. Winning the case could net $10,000. This brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a citizen’s arrest.

This is the law in Arkansas, where abortion is barred unless the mother’s life is in peril.

This is the law in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Hampshire and Arizona. Nineteen states have enacted some form of abortion restrictions. While most laws are being challenged, more are in the pipeline. And with a conservative Supreme Court at the ready, a woman’s right to choose, just like the right to vote, is being snatched away.

Who will protect these women’s reproductive health freedoms? Who will protect their constitutional right to decide, with their doctor, how to proceed?

I can have the right to decide if I want to wear a mask or get a vaccination, but not if I want an abortion?

These are the same men who continue to support existing labor laws in a country in which all women make less than men even when doing the same work. Every time a white man makes $1, a white woman makes 78 cents, a Black woman 64 cents and a Latinx woman 54 cents. As a Black woman with a 40-year career, that’s almost $1 million I lost because of my race and sex.

Yea, we are free to work outside the house, but we are making far less money. What are you doing about this pay inequality?

And consider:

While women make up 51% of the U.S. population, we only hold 27% of the seats in Congress.

Women only account for 7.4% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and research shows they have shorter tenures.

Women entrepreneurs have a harder time getting start-up funding.

Women are more likely to be the victims of human trafficking.

More than 65% of women service members report experiencing sexual harassment or assault.

Women and girls face more chronic hunger. Approximately 35.6% of the families with a single mother live below the poverty line, more than twice the 17.3% rate for households headed by single men with children.

I’m not saying we should close ranks and only concern ourselves with women in this country, nor am I endorsing Trump’s America First policy. No, what I’m saying is don’t be hypocritical. If you are crying crocodile tears for Afghan women, then muster a sniffle for American women.

“These acts shatter steel,” Bush II said the night of Sept. 11, 2001, “but cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

As American women, we may be a little dented now, but this too will pass.

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