1. One of the presenters claimed that, in general, the problems of the past four years have largely improved. Most of the facts that she used to support this claim focused on the way in which Philadelphia’s protection of civil rights have translated to protection of civil rights on a nationwide scale. For example, she cited the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the fact that the State Department allows transgender people to receive passports as evidence of the federal government improving their stance on LGBT issues.
2. Another presenter claimed that the biggest issue in the 2012 presidential race is what the gender gap is going to look like. She mentioned how far women’s rights have come since 1964, but she also stated that there was a lot of room for improvement. She brought up the issue of paycheck fairness and the problems with getting the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized as evidence of a large gender gap. She also stated that abortion was a huge gender problem in this race, with the Catholic Church becoming increasingly successful in restricting women’s access to abortion.
3. One of the presenters stated that, with its increasing incarceration rates and its brutal treatment of Occupy protestors, the United States was becoming a “fascist police state.” I agree with him that both of those things are problems, and I do not think that the United States is in any way perfect. However, labeling the United States as fascist is stretching the truth quite a bit. Ultimately, this puts America on the same level as countries such as Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and modern day North Korea. First of all, protests like Occupy would never be allowed to happen at all in those countries. (I understand that he was arrested, but Occupy also went on in other cities on other days, so it did happen.) Secondly, he mostly likely would not have been released from prison at all if he had been in a truly fascist country. I do not mean this to downplay any of the trauma he went through; he was treated poorly, and this poor treatment stands even if it wasn’t the worst that he could have been treated. Its increasing incarceration rates do need to be resolved, but in and of themselves, they do not point to fascism. His statement seemed more provocative than truthful.
4. How can we combat the idea that women lie about rape and sexual assault/abuse?