In the months since former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the long-standing ban on women in combat, a series of radio ads have played reminding young men of their obligation to register with the Selective Service, and the left has been surprisingly silent about the obvious double standard.
The quirky ads warn young men not to do stupid things such as sleeping in an alligator pit or forgetting their obligation to register. But, even as traditional gender roles are increasingly out of vogue, it is noteworthy that young women receive no such warning. Even in these days of total liberation, it is only young men who are required by law to register for the Selective Service.
Regardless of one’s position on having women in combat units or requiring them to register for the Selective Service, an obvious question comes to mind: Have liberal politicians missed a step here, or does their silence on the exclusion of young women from registration reveal a deeper reality behind the left’s egalitarian rhetoric?
It might seem reasonable that liberals would not push as hard to require young women to register for the Selective Service as they have to lift the ban on women in combat. Registering has been only a minor inconvenience for young men since the draft was discontinued, and including women in the requirement would be little more than a symbolic act as long as military service remains voluntary. Besides, in today’s all-volunteer military, women are already serving in support positions that expose them to danger, and so ending the exclusion of women from combat would seem to be a relatively obvious next step down the same road. On the surface, the two issues would not seem to merit the same urgency on the left’s political agenda.
But when has the American left ever encountered an ideological molehill too small to make into a political mountain? Leftists will wage political war over the use of personal pronouns or separate public restrooms, but they are sitting back meekly and allowing young American women to be treated by a different standard than young men when it comes to Selective Service registration. Even with reinstatement of the draft only a remote possibility, should not any instance of disparate treatment trigger howls of protest from the left?
The right’s silence about putting women in combat while excluding them from registration is more understandable. The left’s near-monopoly on America’s cultural institutions of education, news, and entertainment has dumbed down the nation’s political discourse to the point that even an idiotic accusation about a Republican “war on women” is taken seriously.
Today’s electorate knows their Sandra Fluke, but not their Edmund Burke. Any conservative who questioned the wisdom of governmental tampering with long-established cultural norms would meet blank stares from the electorate and a firestorm of ridicule from the media.
Furthermore, grassroots conservatives – many of whose boldest and most effective leaders are women – are necessarily focused on Obamacare, amnesty, and the administration’s abuse of power. The role of women in the military is just not a hot button issue for the right these days.
In this political climate, registration of young women would seem to be not only an ideological necessity for the left, but also an easy win. Yet the left listens passively to the deluge of tax-paid radio ads promoting what they would have to describe as a blatant, anachronistic, and sexist double standard.
What gives? Could it be that there is a self-serving agenda behind the left’s silence?
The left’s divide-and-conquer tactic has been remarkably effective in convincing some voters that they have been victimized by other voters. By pitting black against white, workers against job creators, and women against men, liberal politicians have positioned themselves as the saviors of victimized groups. For the left, the victim game works.
The exclusion of women from Selective Service registration, however, is hard to fit into the women-as-victim narrative. Liberals can rake in the votes by telling young women that having to buy their own contraceptives is prima facie evidence of victimhood, even if those women can afford to attend expensive law schools. But liberal politicians have nothing to gain by demanding that young women register for the Selective Service alongside their male classmates and co-workers.
The left advertises equality, but they sell victimhood. Expecting anything else is as about smart as sleeping in an alligator pit.
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