Today President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter legislation into law. The Washington Post posted the president's remarks as he signed this legislation. President Obama observed that his signed the legislation for his daughters as well as all of the women who asked for or expected equal pay for equal work.
I wonder how many of us are surprised that it is still a battle for women to get equal pay. I suppose many of thought that battle had been won some time ago though many of us in the work place know the inequity continued to exist, perhaps for far too many.
Gail Collins of The New York Times reminds us of some of the particulars of the case: the woman who learned at the end of a 19-year career that she'd been paid less than the men who'd been doing the same job. She sued and was awarded $300,000 plus two years of back pay. The Supreme Court, however, overturned that decision and determined she should have filed her suit within 180 days of the first instance she learned she was paid less than her peers. As many of commented, that constraint is fraught with difficulties. Quick! How many of you know how much your peers, male and/or female, make each year? I don't.
[An aside: I'm already weary of the occasions that journalists insist of dragging Bush appointees or Bush through the mud. . . again. There's an organization that's promoting the idea of change. It's called MoveOn. And so, to journalists everywhere, to Speaker of the House Pelosi, to everyone who has to kick George W. a few more times or feels compelled to malign a few more times, get over it and MOVE ON! You're starting to sound petty.]
It's been a long road to the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and, as a woman and as an employee, I'm delighted to see it enacted.
Also in today's news, the Illinois Gubenatorial Clown Prince is once again in action. He's taken his show on the road, decrying the impeachment process as unfair. Rather than show up for the process and try to plead his case, rather than show up and answer questions that might help acquit him, he chose to show up on an amazing variety of talk shows to explain why he was not getting a fair trial and why this whole process is essentially a kangaroo court. He noted in his interview with Larry King that "[i]f they can remove a governor elected twice by the people, and a legislative branch can do it without being required to prove any wrongdoing, and, conversely, not allowing the governor to prove he didn't do anything wrong, if they can do it to me, they can do it to you and any other citizen and they can do it to other governors in other states." And still he ignores his single-digit approval rating.
Blagojevich has continued to insist that he has done nothing wrong. Hmmm. This has a familiar ring to it. Blagojevich has compared himself, both directly and indirectly, to FDR, Gandhi, Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He should really be comparing himself to Richard Nixon when Nixon was still insisting that he had done nothing wrong.
There is nothing that links the two stories except a refleciton on the character of the individuals behind them. Lily Ledbetter who realized there was a wrongdoing and sought to find justice, the individuals who agreed with her and wrote the legislation, the individuals who agreed with the legislation and voted for it, and the man today who signed it into law. These are people, I think, I hope, who really are trying to do the will of the people. Blagojevich, however, seems to be delusional and seemingly has no idea what might really be the will of the people. The approach to addressing a perceived wrong is light years apart which suggests to me that the moral authority, the ethical foundations, of these people are equally far apart.
At the end of the day, we are a better country for fair pay (at least for those who still have jobs, but those who don't have something to look forwward to). At the end of the day, we are reminded by Lily Ledbetter that is worth fighting for what you believe in especially when you are willing to be transparent and seek the truth. At the end of the day, Rod Blagojevich no longer has a job. At the end of the day, we are reminded by Rod Blagojevich that a PR blitz doesn't change the facts (or some minds); that bizarre behavior and playing the victim role isn't the way to win your case in court. Rod could take some important lessons from Lily. Perhaps we all can.