05.22.2014 0

A Tribute to Women — Or to Liberalism?

NWHMBy David Bozeman

Congress recently approved — by an overwhelming margin — a commission to study the creation of  a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.  Supporters say it’s about time.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann doesn’t think so, stating that numerous museums and galleries of the Smithsonian can showcase the role of women in history.  Furthermore, she states, the museum, as proposed, will “enshrine the radical feminist movement.”  Predictably, the museum’s board comprises a who’s who of liberalism:  Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Clift, Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD).  For ideological balance, supporters mention ‘conservative’ members Jenna Bush, Senator Susan Collins (ME) and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, all Republicans.  So, they’re giving us a Jenna Bush for their Gloria Steinmen and Barbara Mikulski?  Only in Washington would that be considered balance!  Granted, Blackburn, sponsor of the bill, is a well-regarded conservative, but her co-sponsor is ultra liberal Carolyn Maloney of New York.  Nice try!

Bachmann and other critics assert that with a $17 trillion national debt, our federal government should tackle more pressing needs, but, alas, the trendsetters have decided.  The proposed museum has not dominated national discourse, but they have already collected about $14 million (out of, roughly, $500 million needed).  Supporters claim the museum will be self-supporting, with no dependence on tax dollars.  However, backers plan to affiliate with the Smithsonian, which receives more than 50% of its funding from — you guessed it — the federal government!  Really, why should it even be discussed in Congress?

Your tax dollars could ultimately fund a museum that honors Margaret Sanger, a noted eugenicist who favored weeding out the ‘undesirables’ (i.e., poor and non-white Americans) from the garden of life, and radical leftist Betty Friedan.  Perusing their website, one can detect far greater affection for the Progressive Movement of the early 20th Century than for actual women who made a difference.  Florence Harding, for instance, arguably the most underrated first lady, was a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage, women in business (she ran a successful newspaper), women in sports, among numerous other causes. According to some scholars, she, before Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton, set the standard of a modern, independent-minded first lady.  The museum’s online exhibit mentions her only in passing.

Numerous other omissions merit discussion that time and space will not allow.  Notably, however, the site’s search engine yields (as of this writing) 0 results when the name Sarah Palin is typed in.  Palin, of course, was the 2008 vice-presidential nominee. An amazingly popular governor, one of only two women to appear on a national ticket (and the first Republican), as well as a reformer, wife and mother, her example for future generations is not worthy of even one mention.  But the official sponsors say they’re not biased, and I believe them because government entities don’t lie.

In fairness, other conservative women, such as Bachmann and Phyllis Schlafly have found a place of mention, but one need not name the individual trees to see the liberal forest.  The even greater question is why this is necessary.  In 2014, through technology and diversity, we are making great strides in appreciating the contributions of ALL Americans (except for 80% of conservative women?).  Still, have we not reached the saturation point with group identity?  History was not meant to be broken apart and shared with competing groups.  A free, united people share a common history — warts and all.  Once Balkanized, we stand vulnerable to threats from without and charismatic, divide-and-conquer demagogues from within.

But the fracturing of our heritage continues.  The New York Times offered the museum its support in March, stating that “with so many museums and causes dotting the Capitol scene, many subsidized with taxes, an institution dedicated to women in history is long overdue.”  So, let’s not stop the free-for-all fight for dollars and recognition, let’s join in!

You want to see tributes to women in history?  Look no further than your local library or bookstore.  But the radical left does not see their contributions as a seamless, integral pattern of America’s greatness and history, because, ultimately, highlighting American greatness is not a priority.

What group will next be demanding federal recognition?  Don’t hazard a guess, even facetiously. Someone will surely take you seriously.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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