CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A vagina costume lay abandoned in a sad, pink heap 20 yards from the stage at a Planned Parenthood rally in Charlotte Tuesday. The pink-clad crowd of women didn’t come close to filling its unlikely venue in the plaza of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The numbers stayed stubbornly low throughout a relatively star-studded event emceed by comedian and voiceover star of “Archer,” Aisha Tyler, who introduced Newark Mayor Cory Booker, “House M.D.” actress Lisa Edelstein, and the most famous woman ever to be incapable of a trip to the CVS— Sandra Fluke. Downtown Charlotte (Uptown to the locals) was papered aggressively with flyers blaring, “YES WE PLAN!” and “2012” in which the zero is a birth-control dispenser. Activists handed out anti-Romney/Ryan themed condoms.
Speakers hammered Republicans predictably.
“Put your money where your mouth is,” Tyler said, declaring that declaring one’s love for women, as Ann Romney did in her RNC speech, or highlighting one’s personal and professional relationships with women, as Mitt Romney did in his speech, doesn’t reach women like a subsidy does.
Booker went further down that road. Republicans saying they love women, he said, “is like saying I’m not a bigot because I have a black friend…I love Latinos because I go to Taco Bell every week.”
Speakers repeatedly equated the end of subsidies for Planned Parenthood with an attempt to ban the organization, its services, and contraception, as Tim Carney noted:
Tyler said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan “want to make sure birth control isn’t covered by health insurance.” …Congresswoman Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., said Republicans are “trying to take away Planned Parenthood.” Moore added that one issue this election is “whether or not you can have contraception.”
This fabricated “extremism” forms a contrast with the Democratic Party’s actions. The DNC dais will boast a liberal mayor of a major American city who tried to ban a fried chicken joint because of its owner’s political and religious beliefs. The Democratic Party platform endorses taxpayer-funded abortions, which more than 70 percent of Americans oppose.
Fluke, who is not a naturally energetic stump speaker, apologized for forgoing the Pepto uniform and wearing green to the event before delving into a speech that ended with her “issuing a rule, that you can follow or you can ignore, but I’m issuing a rule— No sleep ’til November!”
That would seem to pose a bigger threat to women’s health than a Romney presidency.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed the paltry attendance at an event that was supposed to embody the passion behind one of the Democratic Party’s most reliable pitches. Exiting the rally, I came across an attendee in conversation with a visibly frustrated Planned Parenthood organizer. The organizer said she thought a security snafu had left part of the crowd stranded outside the event space, answering concerned inquiries from attendees about the numbers with “I have absolutely no info!” There were rumors of a small, impromptu rally being held elsewhere to accommodate those who didn’t make it to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“As an organizer, that’s a lesson learned,” said San Diego-area delegate Maureen Sweeney, trying to cheer up the young Planned Parenthood volunteer.
Next time, they’ll surely leave no vagina behind.