Conservatives all over the nation are experiencing a dreadful deja
vu. The fear spreads that women may once again carry the day for a
Democrat. After all, it was women who elected Bill Clinton twice, the
first time because they did not know who he was, and the second time
because they did.

Democrat Al Gore has shown an improvement in the polls, and the
consensus among the experts is that his gain results from a significant
increase in support from women. In the parlance of the professional
pundits, there is a “gender gap” that works in his favor.

Polls will, of course, fluctuate all over the place before they
solidify a few weeks before the election. However, the stampede of women
to Gore, bringing him from far behind to even with Bush, evokes a
significant question. It is this: What is it with women?

In their secret moments, men are reflecting that maybe the founders
knew what they were doing when they denied women the right to vote. They
worry that dedicated radical feminists are taking control of the country
and messing up public policy by imbuing it with paranoid ideology and
feminist fantasies.

The view that a large number of women are teetering on the verge of
self-destructive irrationality is not just a male perspective. There are
many secure and well-adjusted women who also, in secret moments, are
embarrassed by the behavior of their left-wing sisters. It is not unlike
the expressed embarrassment of the brilliant black columnist, Thomas
Sowell, who routinely rues the chronic sense of victimhood that limits
and afflicts so many blacks.

Before proceeding, it is important to note that essentially all women
support the feminist agenda of equal pay for equal work, equal access to
job opportunities, and freedom from sexual abuse and physical
intimidation. But the true agenda of radical feminism is not that
benign. Phyllis Schlafly, writing in the Spring 1998 issue of the “Texas
Review of Law and Politics,” cut directly to the core: “Feminism falsely
teaches young women that marriage is a cage, that casual sex means
freedom, that divorce leads to liberation, that child care is an unfair
burden, that abortion is a woman’s right, and that devoting themselves
to careers in their 20s and 30s will surely bring fulfillment.”

Legal scholar Robert H. Bork, author of “Slouching Towards Gomorrah,”
delves even deeper into the heart of radical feminism. He writes that
radical feminists are “anti-family, anti-religion and

Bork explains that these attitudes generate out of a deep anger
against male oppression, real and imaginary. Feminists believe that it
is in families that the most cruel persecution of women takes place.
They view religion as a man-made vehicle for keeping women in
submission. They are anti-intellectual, sensing that the use of logic
and intellect would reveal the foolish foundation on which their agenda

And they are for big and powerful government based on their
understanding that it requires heavy-handed power to correct all the
wrongs against them and even greater power to force-fit society into
feminist molds. Bork puts it this way: “Culture is a stubborn opponent.
To defeat it requires the coercion of humans.”

Roe vs. Wade is the sine qua non of radical feminism. The
substitution of birth control pills and condoms for moral restraint and
self-management had not worked. Abortion became a necessary means for
enabling women to escape responsibility for their behavior and to
“liberate” themselves from sexual bondage and male domination.

It is easy to understand why women with these mindsets and values are
drawn to Al Gore and the Democrat Party.

But all is not well in feminist ranks. The movement lost credibility
for its failure to defend the vulnerable women Bill Clinton used and
trashed. There is anguish about that barbaric form of infanticide known
as partial-birth abortion. There are doubts that grinding away in
unglamorous jobs leads to self-fulfillment. There are growing suspicions
that the denial of obvious differences between the sexes doesn’t make a
lot of sense. And there are lingering suspicions that the government
bureaucracy is a poor substitute for a husband who cherishes you and
children who call you “mama.”

And then, perhaps as an omen, Gloria Steinem, a feminist icon who
spent an entire lifetime demeaning men and marriage, delivered a
stunning message to her sisters. She got married for the first time, at
age 66. The message she delivered is this: It’s never too late to grow

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