I trashed my original column Tuesday after I read the responses to Rose Nolen's column.
This is not a defense of Rose, but a defense of fairness and common sense, something her detractors seem to have lost, along with a portion of their sanity.
The issue is the Paycheck Fairness Act and the red herring, false dichotomy, fear mongering and slippery-slope arguments being forced into the discussion. It should be a discussion concerning fairness and gender bias, not one of name calling and false accusations.
H.R.1519, now in the U.S. Senate, "amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages."
I am especially angered at the response from Missourian commenter Ray Shapiro. "I wonder if the person who titled the heading for this article of propaganda read past the first few paragraphs? Personally, I would have titled it, 'Why Rose wants women and blacks to keep Obama around.'"
For Ray and others of his ilk …, well, no, I will not lower myself to Mr. Shapiro's level of anger, inhumanity and use of argument devices to avoid the focus of the discussion — equal pay for equal work.
I doubt he and others read the proposed law, the summary or news reports, other than those from the ultra-conservative pundits who are known more for misstating, misquoting or redirecting the conversation, like Mr. Shapiro, to topics that have nothing to do with the original discussion.
The Paycheck Fairness Act has nothing to do with the president, though most extremists in the conservative movement claim such.
In fact, there is no reason to oppose this bill other than it was introduced and supported by Democrats, a tactic that has simply run its sickly course. Blaming everything on the president or the "angry radical feminists, the gay movement and black radicals" or the "liberal progressive communist(s)" no longer works.
The fact that men, with the same education and work experience, make about 25 percent more than their female counterparts is the problem, but it's not the only one.
Congress is righting its own wrong, stating in the Paycheck Fairness Act that "the Equal Pay Act of 1963 has not worked as Congress originally intended. Improvements and modifications … are necessary to ensure that the provisions provide effective protection to those subject to pay discrimination on the basis of their sex."
Missourian commenter John Schultz's claim that women will be given special preference over men is simply hogwash. Mr. Schultz seems to believe education, experience and training will no longer have weight in the wage decision. He is wrong. There is no provision in this proposal nor in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that even suggests that conspiracy theory.
A woman and a man, with the same education, the same experience, the same training, who are equal in every sense of the word, should be paid equally.
Why is that a problem? And what the heck is wrong with fairness? That seems to be the bottom line here. It is not an issue of politics. It is not an issue of employers going out of business because of equal treatment of all employees. It is not an issue of religion, unless one wants to cite the biblical passages that say man is superior to women in all ways. There is Genesis 2:18, Ephesians 5:22–23, 1 Corinthians 11:3 and others, but our societal morals and norms no longer accept those gender-bias values.
We would not need these laws if those in power and the money-makers understood the term "moral" and the concept of right versus wrong. Discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender or any other differences would not exist, for that matter.
There is plenty of proof that gender discrimination is alive and well. These proposed changes are either fair or not, and there is no proof of the latter.
There is no reason to accept the language of hate in our discussion of the morality of fair pay.
David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of Rosman’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.