tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 7, 2015 11:30am-1:31pm EDT
of $230 billion. that is equal to the net worth of 44% of our population. the subsidies you're talking about have reduced that outcome. they are not your thing that a producer but they have that outcome. if you want you can hypothesize that somehow the politics that those numbers and driver going to produce the kind of results right, that just in hopes for. ..
we are having this discussion because low wage workers in the fast food restaurant have paved been fired to raise the wages of themselves than their coworkers. that is the only way to get out of the drop that justin's analysis hypothesizes. i think to ask a question about public policy measures, be they minimum-wage kerr-mcgee rtc labor and unemployment, you have to ask the question, are they are promoting a high wage low-wage society? we don't like the low-wage society but we've consciously built one and we can make different choices if we wanted different. >> michael, did you want to come in? >> i will be brief. to think about it from the broad
30,000-foot level of society to recognize the different agents in society have been responsibilities. imagine workers firms in the government. in some sense, damon is arguing that we don't miss the low-wage system. if you talk about fast food industries, restaurants and low-wage workers, it is simply unrealistic to expect that a firm that is substantively trying to maximize profits although perhaps imperfectly will take someone who can bring in $5 or $7 an hour in revenue and pay them two to three times the money. they will be losing $5 or $10 an hour every hour they are working. it is unrealistic to expect the firm to do in a market economy. the questions becomes who is responsible for making sure that the employees of these organizations have adequate food, adequate shelter, adequate health care and can meet a baseline level of material standing, given that we live in a society where we have
billionaires as damon pointed out. to me the answer is government through all of society. i don't want those workers to be poor and i don't want the workers do not have enough food and have to do with the cognitive load that justin described. i want more than mcdonald's and more than wal-mart to be responsible for making sure the outcomes have been. i want a koch brothers to be responsible. i'm at the walton family to be responsible. even though i don't employ load which workers. the way to do that is to tax people who have a lot of money and redistribute to people who are working hard and playing by the rules but who aren't earning what we deem socially as an adequate standard of living. so you seem to want wal-mart and mcdonald's to bear the entire brunt of that and it is implicit in the argument that somehow the government is subsidizing wal-mart corporate donald. i fundamentally disagree with the framing. >> jacob and joseph beard >> if you take the big one the
health care issue, the fact the united states is unique among the industrialized world in having this direct employment link if you take other countries where you have essentially a single payer funded system, you could then say on the one hand that implies that the subsidy provided by the public sector to the entire corporate world is 100%, which is to take any direct cost. it is basically taking care of if you like. but of course from a corporate perspective that is i would argue certainly any person any corporate executives i've spoken to would be people that provide this service, but if you are a foreign direct investor, would
you rather invest in a country where you have to deal with this issue or it's basically taking care of by the government. i would certainly argue that it is the latter and therefore i think the international context is probably the wrong framing viewing that as a public subsidy. rather, you should take both a normative decision and say look, this is actually one of the social goals that society wants to promote which is true in all it other industrialized economies. you should take an efficiency perspective so it is hard to argue that there are any efficiency gains to be had in having a broad health care system the united states has two compare the cost with other industrialized countries. >> some of my discussions with michael strain and the rest of his long head liberals within suggesting we should always take
action or the state so anyone with individual responsibility is of course to recognize the possibility sometimes it is just the right and to do and corporate social responsibility is more than something we should take seriously. that suggests we should take more marginal productive worker at mcdonald's and more sometimes. i think one of the tools that i wished a man and his colleagues would use more that have been lost, which is the shame constraint. we have low-wage workers in precarious work working for billionaires, the billionaires who take helicopters from manhattan to the and as the and i will touch everyone along the way. yeah a little more and the constraints are no longer there and i think that if a large part of what we are now in the same
constraints to which we bring it back is actually a way to push ceos to take the high road. usually have to force them to do it, but sometimes we can entice them to do it instead. >> i'm not sure the end wants to suggest lackadaisical on the shame from your >> i am feeling like i have been shrinking. >> let me pick up on something just as bad. i know the gentleman is waiting in the back. let me just take a a slightly different direction. there is the issue is do issue is do we issue is do we do things is very coherent political economy to the argument michael is making. i want to make a practical argument, which i think will be at go to some degree by mark later. for many people in capitalist
societies work is an important part of their life. and how you are treated at work and in your workday isn't an organ part of your life. i don't take any of us will deny this. so the idea that we target ertc and the minimum wage. either way happy to support. those are achieving post-work and come outcomes. they are about making sure that there is therefore, both of which are virtuous. but there is something to be sad for making him work sad for making him work out come back for the vast majority and that is a distinct part of life as a goal worth pursuing and that may not be legislative goal. there may be collected business action inspired by the peterson institute for international economics or perhaps pressure for changes in the world. either way they are making room
to go the high road as justin says and it's not how much money you get home at the end of the day. it is how you were treated. that is the part that shouldn't get lost when we talk about this. thank you very much. >> my name is jonathan. i used to be a labor economist. my question is for justin jacob and michael a little bit how we got where we are. what we think about prevalence of low wages, low-wage society all of which are related to the very low share of labor income as a share of national income. you know damon lays out a case for why we have got where we are, which is some fundamental change in workers negotiating and he is talking about a lack of immunization in a substantial amount of marketing going on outside which we consider
padded nlrb marketing, kind of an important starting point on how to solve the problem where we are today. justin played out the two-week equilibriums that we are stuck in the sub optimal point. i am curious what he thinks why are we stuck in the sub optimal one and it really need to be? i'm also curious about what jacob and michael think of is essentially a long-running thing in the vapor literature of the declining opportunities of older men that started to take traction in the 80s and wasting national income tricks lower for several decades even with the type robust labor market in the night the 90s and what was also relatively low unemployment. that failed to arrest the two, which makes you wonder how evil we are as a society or market economies to do it now.
>> for my colleagues respond and other plug for the briefing. the last essay just invade, i should have this up on powerpoint. it will be up on the website. you do see the downward trend jonathan just mentioned, but incredible acceleration. so there's both pieces to it. that is why things are tight enough and can only be a partially nation. would anyone care to respond? >> i can take a quick swing at it. descriptively, the supply of labor demand on the labor demand rent due primarily to technology and the rudeness nation of task, we have seen a decrease in demand for certain types of workers and firms approaching workers into the lower wage portion of their art facial
structure. i think globalization is also playing a big role and i think the economists are starting to recognize the role of globalization is actually greater than any previously thought. those are the two big ones they are. the labor supply front and the acquisition of skills and the college high school wage gap is affected by now. kind of running it back to where it justin said to the previous question is also important that firms don't invest in workers the way they used to invest in them. part of that is firms reacting to the fact workers are more mobile and they hold more jobs than they used to to and the implicit nonlegislative employment contract has frayed. part of it i think is let's focus on the universe that didn't used to be the case
decades ago and firms trying to cut costs by cutting worker training which in turn makes workers feel less appreciated and less likely to stay. i think the answer to your question is we need to ask more firms. i agree with justin that we tend to let firms off the hook, especially people in my camp and the firms need to have a better attitude of social responsibility and recognize they are part of a society. the policy can make some wedges in that area and a really promising avenue is where the government will arrange a marriage or not, perhaps a community college. not necessarily the labor department will arrange a marriage between someone pursuing an academic credential. you have to pay them less than 10 bucks an hour to make it work. trying to find ways to match
firms back into offering training opportunities and being better social citizen and they have been in this part of the solution to the problem we've been having. >> jacob, you have done work for us on the apprenticeship issue michael raised. >> i think i agree with a lot of what michael said there. i do want to highlight the perhaps unique issue but certainly more prevalent in the united states and many other economies, which is the role of educational expenditures, which while in the aggregate is quite high in the united states that masks the remarkable distributional effect where everyone knows the cost of going to a top college taught private school, et cetera. to that end, we see very eager funding for many community
colleges apprenticeship program michael mentioned. so there is a distributional issue involved there. i think it is a very port an issue and it becomes more important when you start talking about the effects of the minimum wage because i come from denmark where there is no minimum wage. but de facto there is enforced by a century of consensus norm that means the de facto minimum wage is about $20 an hour. you cannot, i would argue have a system like that it doesn't produce large-scale inactivity unless you have large expenditures on education and that is not just education at the college level. it is a lot more expenditure in
the 50 to two thirds of people who do not get a college degree or above. that is essentially the issue. it means flexibility, but also expenditure and certainly the lack thereof and significant cutbacks in the last couple of years in the united states is a very aggravating factor in the issue. >> the questionnaire asked -- >> know you can talk. but be a little short. >> i just observed three facts. we tell ourselves stories in order not to talk about the actual determine and of what makes wages low or high, in terms of bartering. although i agree with what jacob
said it is important to note three things here. first is actually local mobility is down. there's a labor economics agenda and it's down since the 1970s. it's not an explanation for why corporations aren't investing in training. michael's second point about financial station essentially is more of a response. the real responses the collapse of collective bargaining in the private sector. nine out of 10 maybe 19 out of 20 in this country are apprentices enjoyed labor movement and apprenticeship programs in the building trade. in denmark the social can rent this jacob is talking about is very real. it is not some vague thing in the air. 70% to 80% of the workforce is covered by collective bargaining. it is enforced and it is part of
a system designed to produce a high wage economy. that type of educational spending is critical to the system. by contrast and i'll put a sharper point with 250,000 less features than we should based upon ratios as they stood in 2007. that is what we are actually doing. we're putting a lower and lower wage economy. >> you have been very patient. this'll have to be the last question for this session. >> with the panel addressed the question of immigration and its impact on wages? my own sense in talking to employers across the country is not a ready pool of largely non-english-speaking unskilled laborer has put downward pressure on the construction, fast food from the services
industries. >> does somebody want to summarize the literature real fast? [inaudible] >> that's all i have to say. >> most of my work focuses on the high skilled immigration issue, where i think it is fair to say that by and large the wage effects are relatively subdued. i haven't done that much persuasive evidence. i'm lower skilled workers, i think that there is quite a bit of evidence that the fact you have, by the way in effect defined in a number of other countries, notably europe, that if you have -- they don't even need to be in the country. if you have a latent migratory workforce available at the
corporation then there are downward pressures on wages for these types -- for some low skill workers in the agricultural sector, construction. take a country like the u.k. for instance, we have not a large illegal immigration pool of workers, but you have under the e.u. freedom of movement, you have a large population of workers that typically from eastern europe could calm at very short notice better available quote unquote on demand. there are pretty compelling evidence from the u.k. and elsewhere in europe that this does have an effect and i think some of the same issues work when the low skill work force is actually present in the country. the issue here is availability for the firm.
>> can i just say when the afl-cio was a strong supporter when they pass the citizenship and we believe that is a moral issue, but we also have the position because we think taking into account what jacob is saying, the worst possible thing you can do in terms of wage levels in the united states is to pretend you have closed borders. but then essentially acceptor vanish, open borders when people get here we treat them as a second cast who have no legal rights. but from the dead of what you would think would be the worst possible way to do this in terms of downward wage pressure that would be it. that is what our members experience documented and undocumented in the workplace. >> we are coming to the end of this panel.
i would get to the logistics of how you get fed in a moment. i want to bring back one thing that was talked about, particularly in everybody's remarks, but it has gotten lost in the period of questions. the key word is productivity. it is the key word in three sentences. first is one way or talking about investing in workers, it is just as investing in capital to invest in infrastructure. it is in kenya best in workers to accumulate more hours. you investors to get more work out of them. misses the point of this sort of dynamic take of these things. it's not a comparative static thing. you have to think about that. which goes to the good and bad equilibrium question about justice. it is about transitioning from one to the other. as we saw in the u.s. in the
1990s, it is possible to move from one part of david equilibrium to another or now back. the second point which goes to something that jacob said with regard to immigration is we know that again with trade immigration, the issue is balancing the adjustment cost of moving markets to the longer run to growth benefits in having a more efficient market. that doesn't mean that more is always better, but it means preventing competition is always worse. you have to figure out how to get around this amount is the struggle where all of us in the day they're trying to figure out where figure out whether my point is on this issue. the final thing before we turn to lunch and that is mark bert
delaney's speech. we are in a world and i don't want to come down on politics because i don't know enough. we are in a world where the reality is unionization in the u.s. is very low across a large range of industries. my gut feeling is a lot of that has to do with political choices made by those who got elected to congress in the presidency and the things they did. so when that context, for those of us who care deeply about the distribution wages one thing you can talk about is getting more power. another thing you can talk about if that doesn't seem to be happening at the moment. do we have another avenue? here again is for the productivity comes in because that is where you private corporation in a sense that is doing the right thing. anyway thank you for joining us
someone to get your cane? because i am in the capital. i don't need a cane today. he walked without his cane for the entire day. i know they were super proud. >> texas state senator wendy davis spoke for more than 10 hours during a filibuster in 2013 opposing a texas law on abortion clinics. last flush of the democratic nominee for governor at the scene to craig added. last month at university of bert as she talked about difficulties faced by her another women as well as the state of gender equality issues. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you, all. thank you to defend and camille for putting this together today and all the work particularly that camille undertook to make sure that we were able to do this. thank you all for being here and giving me an opportunity to speak with you. i've been looking forward to this afternoon and i was delighted to land in southern california after being in a really cold winter in texas. i am here today to address gender specifically why gender equality is losing ground and how we can work to reverse that. i am going to ask you to challenge conventional thinking and how we define and talk about gender equality and i will hopefully hope you understand the lens for which i view these issues a bit better. more and more i am coming to understand and appreciate how much each of our individual filters formed through our life experiences matter in the way
that we approach conversations on the political framework and i would like to invite us to consider each other's personal perspectives, each others' lenses as they strive to move equality forward. first, let's take a moment to acknowledge some pass to the ariz. it can be easy today particularly with an onslaught of anti-reproductive rights legislation affect in some of the most personal of a woman's decision-making, to forget that on the long road to gender equality, women have caused more and gain some significant ground. it was less than 100 years ago when women earned the right to vote. 51 years ago when president kennedy signed the equal pay act. only 50 years ago when birth control became legalized. 42 years ago when abortion was legalized. less than 35 years ago when
president reagan appointed the first female sandra day o'connor to the supreme court and only six years ago when president obama signed the lily led that are pay into act. these are all grounds for celebration. when we look around we see so much more work to be done as we watch and celebrate lgbt dances with more and more states moving to marriage equality and as a witness to divisive common discriminatory policies like "don't ask, don't tell" being repealed, each after years of hard work be celebrated. gender politics seem to be taking a step backwards. women are facing an onslaught of legislation that threatens their reproductive freedoms and access to abortion. we occupy 56% of minimum wage jobs, even though we make up only about 49% of the workforce.
and governor is in states like mine rv towing fair pay laws that they ever make it to the governor's desk at all. and all of this is happening without significant voter back lash that size the degree and the direction things are heading. we have to ask ourselves why. the answer to that is largely connected to an dictated by her own personal experiences and the lens through which we as voters view these issues. my lens was formed, my views were shaped early in life experiences than in my memoir forgetting to be of rate i explained the experiences that shaped me. not just those that gave me the strength to be a fighter, but to illustrate why it is certain issues hit me deep in the gut compel me to respond in a particular way. i am a living, breathing example of the promise that can be
created through gender equal less opportunity. informal as they were, they existed at a time when i needed them. i was 11 when my parents divorced and my ninth grade educated mother who had never been in the workforce before was support for children on her own while my father pursued history starting a nonprofit jeter. we went from a blue-collar lifestyle into poverty almost overnight. watching my mother struggled to put food on the table, working in low-wage fast food restaurant jobs made me want to assure that i would never be left without an education and the means to support myself. and yet i too fell in a well of poverty and despair for a time. pregnant at 18, married for a very brief time i was left to support myself and my daughter amber when i was only 19. with only one semester of college under my belt i could
not see a band in what looked like a long bleak road ahead. my greatest fear literally was coming true. i was going to live the same struggle i watched my mother lived in fear fortunately can be a powerful motivator. my fears were reinforced when i would come home to find my electricity had been turned off because i couldn't pay the bill or the embarrassment i suffered when i had to put pressure items back in line because i didn't have enough for that week's food. but i am here today because policies that support a woman's ability to move from poverty to stability actually do work and his policies, some formal, some less formal create ladders that helped me to move from where i was. one of those with access to affordable community college education with grants and low cost that made it possible for
even me to afford. that ultimately became a gateway to graduating from harvard law school and without my community college, there is simply no way i would be standing here talking before you today. another latter came in the form of access to give and while women health care that i received at a plant or a clinic close to my home. for several years as a manager moment the clinic is my only source of care. it was a place where it receive cancer screening, diabetes screening, while women expands the most important like a place that provided me with the ability to control my reproductive destiny so that once i placed my foot on the path to higher education, i was able to keep it there. another latter for me came in the form of affordable quality child care. a dear friend of mine provided. we see certainly many in
congress and the president talking about childcare is an important issue. for many women the inability to afford and find quality child care is keeping them sufficiently as a roadblock to where they are. finally, i was fortunate to work in an office where my employer supported a work schedule that allowed me to go to school in the mornings and to me sometimes earlier in the evening. flexibility. the workplace policies are so important in making possibilities available for women to improve their lives. those years were a tremendous struggle and they were filled with fear. but i read full for the motivation that here provided and so very grateful for the lands that struggle provided me and for which i now view the world. there's so many women today who cannot tell the story that i have the flexibility to stand before you and how because those
ladders those policies are not there for them. affordable college tuition reproductive health care affordable quality child health care, flexible work hours. these things are not there as they once were for me. policies to support these ladders. there's a great deal of talk and effort in moving them forward are still in largely virtually nonexistent. instead, we find ourselves fighting in many instances losing ground. why is this happening? because support for an agenda of them in with a policies has eroded and negative associations have been fostered between the idea of an incident and the threat of movement poses to traditional patriarchical notion of a woman's place. playing upon the negative
associations, women's reproductive rights and other issues important to women's equality had been hijacked by politicians using the issues as a wedge with blame to those who respond favorably to the perceived threat they have to engender. for these politicians positionipositioni ng against advancement of gender equality serves as a means to an end. that and be in their desire to hold onto an further their political positions, status and power. provoking favorable voting responses by using women's equality as their foil is much more important to them than any follow up that they leave behind. to explain my point, i will ask you to consider an argument made by law professor ian henny lopez and his book, dog of politics and he'll be giving a lecture at the law school tomorrow. i invite you to please attend because his work is very, very
important. professor lopez and his book invites us to consider how coded racial appeals have played a role in politics, often resulting in middle-class voting against its own economic interest in favor of reacting to perceived social threats which are far greater motivators. these reactions are strategically invited by politicians who employ techniques that play upon racial bias or an ms in order to give voters to react in a way that is favorable to their desire to attain or maintain political power. to demonstrate the point, professor lopez traces accounts of presidential candidate using racial dog whistling to elicit voter support. candidates like george wallace who was ridiculed as an unrepentant redneck when he was outspoken in verbalizing support for policies defending
segregation and expelling the proud anglo-saxon is. voters who have de facto racism to bow for a candidate with such relations, blake racial appeal would have been to admit their own racial biases and fears. but wallace learned that if you are more subtle with the message, you can mobilize race-based voting without ever mentioning race at all. he stopped talking about objections to the segregation and instead talks about states rights to turn away ere again federal authorities. does that sound familiar when we talk about the affordable care act, immigration, today we hear the same whistle. the language gave permission to those opposed racial integration the ability to exercise racially motivated elect or a responses without
having to admit to others or even to themselves their racial biases were fears. goldwater talked for states rights and freedom to have association. nixon employing the political southern strategy to motivate the south dog whistles by talking. reagan describing the young fox in the grocery store line by an sirloin steaks with this food stamps while you were buying hamburger meat with your hard-earned paycheck or his talk of welfare. professor lopez cautions progressives not to get too smug about the right use of this technique pointing out that president carter used arguments about forced integration and of course president clinton what does well for reform agenda when he sought reelection. each of these strategic use of dog whistles and appeal to white
voters whose racial biases conscious or unconscious are being played. importantly the professor points out the strategic use of race fans out in other forms of racism because the driving force behind strategic racism is not racial animus for its own fate, but rather a perhaps more pernicious strategic use of race in order to successfully pursue power, money or status. i thought this in my own gubernatorial race last september when my opponents played upon fear regarding an invasion of illegal immigrants into texas. openly calling for militarization of texas border communities through support of a national guard presence they are in spite of the fact that these communities are notably safe with el paso having been named for the fourth year in a row the largest city in the country.
married to a latina great app it would hardly fit the typical definition of someone with racial animus towards latinos. yet he understood how to dog whistle in a way that would appeal to voters perceived threats of the latino invasion in order to gain their vote. this use of dog whistling is not limited to provoking and playing upon perceived threats based on race. this type make install so successfully employed to provoke no-space-on gender biases in fear. so let's discuss the agenda in that regard. perhaps given the nature in which women candidates in women's issues are framed rather than dog whistling might be a more apt way to describe the tactics. some of that occurs in fairly blatant ways. for example, in my race my
opponent's supporters using photoshop images with my face or head ahmed in order to an item response from potential voters to view me as highly sexualized rather than intelligent and competent as a potential state leader. there also customs raised about my bona fide matter and suggestions that i abandoned children when i went to law school. in so doing attention was diverted from my achievement. i was no longer to be applauded for graduated moscow honors while also juggling responsibilities of caring for my young families. i was to be reviled for self-improvement at the expense of giving my full time to child rearing. there were the abortion and social media and abortion barbie posters around l.a. when i attended a fundraiser there showing my head on top of a barbie doll with my and a pair
besides me. these are images and critiques meant to indict voters to believe that i should be viewed not as a potential state leader, but as a highly sexualized woman and one who was a traitor to traditional roles of women at that. as for strategic and flagrant and i am not the first female candidate to experience this and i assert they will not be the last. the ploy works. but these flagrant messages are supported by much more subtle ones meant to provoke gender animus. consider the number of politicians who use abortion as a political bogeyman. certainly some of this is meant to elicit a response from voters who are motivated by religious or moral ideals about the sanctity of life in their
objection to pro-choice candidates on those terms. but there's something much less obvious, no less powerful as well, making abortion a center issue in the political arena also plays upon traditional patriarchal notions of a woman's role in society and invites voters to view abortion as an issue that threatens that role. it is arguably understandable to see how plain and patriarchal sympathies would provoke favorable vote in responses from some man. a abortion and other reproductive rights provide women with the autonomy to remain and rise in the workplace, creating competition for them and threatening views of what they believe is appropriate for a female male roles. this perspective is one that is deeply rooted, whether conscious they are unconsciously in the notion that women not to serve in traditional roles.
wife, stay-at-home mother supporter of her hunting and gathering. they are not limited. women to respond to make them feel threatened as well. women who fear consciously or unconsciously whether their chosen roles as stay-at-home wives and mothers will be devalued vis-à-vis factually autonomous women who can exercise that choice to stall or abandoned reproductive roles to rise in the work place or in the political arena. this particular message is meant of course to invite people to think about what happens in women's roles in they are able to utilize reproductive autonomy. it was no accident that the
condoms ad would elicit a response. using images such as these, the conservative movement and by divers on invoking images that strong families and appropriate gender relations. serving as the back drop to gain the punishment as well. women who have sex in becoming pregnant should air the breadth of their sexuality. they should live the consequences. politicians who employ these tools propose to be guarding the appropriate and noble role of women as homemakers and caretakers by inviting a negative response. they play upon the notion that sex for women is supposed to be about procreation, about motherhood a narrative that says otherwise, that argues in favor of access to contraception and other reproductive care such as abortion allows women to enjoy sex nearly for the sake of pleasure and threaten concepts of traditional family values.
in this context, conversations about contraception and abortion become a strategic means to an end, provoking a broad-based response in voters who resigned the attempted destruction to their world order in the place they hold them in. consider rush limbaugh's betrayal of sand or fluke assay slut. this whistling provocatively and purposely provoked responses from listeners who perceived the position as one that would threaten their patriarchical ideas of a woman's appropriate role. guided by the moral framework that limbaugh and others seek to elicit when articulating positions such as this, will entice voters than listeners to act in a way that tells them that their implicit fears are at play and are much more important
than their other ideas. dr. christian liquor sociologists here at he has written extensively on this and abortion politics in particular. she argues the right to life movement recommends an attempt not to protect the fetus but to enjoy the family at the higher priority of career among women and that women choose to stay home who choose to stay home are not relegated to a place of our prestige relative to women who work outside of the home. taking her argument one step further, i believe it is the case that some politicians are using the right to the implicit message in a family versus career specifically to provoke voters who wish to guard against that perceived threat. keep in mind that with lawyers don't even necessarily have to believe their own message. many of them likely do not. but just as race-based dog whistling is often nothing more
than mr. t. chick means to an end, so too is the case of gender-based whistling. tragically, women's access to reproductive health care gets caught in the crossfire and indeed women's health and their very lives become collateral damage to a political scheme. so how do we respond? if my story is any kind of example, we made the argument often heard supporting women whose economic autonomy is good for the economy assuring that women have access to education, health care quality childcare, all of these create an opportunity for women to be more successful, have increased buying power in the economy and that is good for the economic well-being of all. this is when we all do better we all do better argument. it is the story that i told you at the beginning of my remarks.
but that message is that working to motivate gender biased voters. why? because it is missing the point. it isn't speaking to the motive behind this particular voting choices. it is a response to look through the lens from which these letters are making these decisions. just think about the state of affairs that exist to the 2014th congressional election. we now have a house and senate comprised of a majority of members who proudly articulate their desire to deregulate big business ,-com,-com ma return to a laissez-faire approach while major polluters that multibillion dollars corporations and an even greater opportunity to grow their wealth disproportional to those of most in the country's population, leaving the middle class to shoulder more and more of the tax burden. there was a time when it would have sent by possible that
americans would vote less taxes for the rich give corporations regulatory control over industry and markets and to aggressively curtail social services. american voters will pledge openly and proudly to all of these things and the answer as to why lies sadly enough i had an appeal has been made for something deeper inside of them. they have allowed here is the societal threat to be their primary motivator at the ballot box. look no further than the current conversation around immigration and we see this with gender. with legislation either passing are percolating in almost every state in this country ending congress to roll back the reproductive right and that employs the use of abortion in politics as a messaging means to a time.
legitimate arguments about the fact that the path to citizenship for undocumented workers would be good for the economy or empowering women of reproductive autonomy is likewise good for the economy are not getting us very far as experience has shown us. instead, we have to find a way to defuse the perceived fears that are being manipulated. and the jennifer reynaud we might start by asking ourselves why young women are assuming the term feminism today, buying into the message that tells them standing for the feminist agenda and reproductive rights will require them to check their femininity at the door. consider the kerfuffle that occurred a couple of months ago when in an interview with redbook magazine 29-year-old kayla cocoa, female lead in the popular show, the big name theory declined to answer in the
affirmative when she was asked whether she is the mms. is it bad if i say no? she asked. she said she enjoyed cooking or her husband and he makes her feel like a housewife, which she says she loves. and my sound old-fashioned she sat, but i like the idea of women taking care of their men. sadly messaging from the far right and so many other young women of feminism is about losing their femininity but we have to help her and so many other women understand that fighting for women's equality isn't about telling women how they have to live for that they can't enjoy doing things that are considered traditionally female. it is about having the freedom to choose freely what we want our rules to be. it is about being respected regardless of what the choices look like. it is about the working women
celebrating and respecting her sister who made a choice to stay home and care for her children. it is about the stay-at-home mom, cheering on the women who are putting those cracks in the grass ceiling. it is about each of us women and the men who love us caring enough about these others to silence the noise that it tends to keep us at odds. the relatives in the back that we feel we have to be at odds with each other in order to feel less threatened in the choice that we have traditionally and individually made. we have to create an inclusive and shared community that sent the message that we are all in this together. we have to work to minimize or do away with perceived stress than the idea of embracing gender equality. we have to fight for an america where all choices made by women are respected and valued. "the new york times" magazine
article during the gubernatorial race ran under the cover line can wendy davis have it all? would we ever see the question asked with regard to a male candidate? a better question was asked by anne-marie slaughter was a professor professor of merit politics that he affairs at princeton. she asked, can we all have it all? presented the idea that only one man can make choices about their role as breadwinner or stay-at-home husband and father's will we achieve true gender equality. and she invites us to consider the importance of creating a world in which we equally celebrate either choice that men and women make beard true gender equality will, we take care not to view each other's choices very pejorative lands. we have got to trade eyeglasses and looks to reach other spectacles, working our way to a place free of facility and fear
because we cannot be ourselves. we have to humanize experience in a way that makes them translatable and relatable. i firmly believe that no one whether they have and r or a d before their name wants to see the horrible flow from plan. a -- planned parenthood. in texas alone an estimated 180,000 women lost their access to contraceptive care. not abortion care. and they lost their access to training and diabetes screenings and for most of these women, the only health care they have ever had. this happened three strategic funding that was bludgeoning planned parenthood. the far right has done the political calculus.
they know that making planned parenthood the bogeyman gets them votes. we have to talk about the human casualties of this bike about the women who will fight literally to lose their lives because of maneuvering set of plays politics above people. we cannot refuse dog whistles by refusing to identify them for what they are. we have to call them out and challenge them. otherwise we would gender insinuation and challenge left to operate in the back room for both fear-based reactions and voters to respond to the messages. on the very tip top of the texas capitol stands a statue. it is not of a cowboy on horseback. it is of a woman and in her hand she holds a sword, lowered. in her black tea and cover she a lowe's store -- lone star. her eyes are large and reflect a
steely resolve. late at night, you can look up at the goddess of liberty and see her eliminated -- eliminated about the dome. and warm summer months you can see the nighthawk see the nighthawks guys wandering around her, taking advantage of the glowing white surrounding her to hunt in the night. through the wind and rain and brutal texas heat, the goddess of liberty continues to stand. she stands for freedom, with some and just as. she is a symbol of everything i was fighting for on that day in june of 2013 when i stood for 13 hours. freedom and justice for women and the way it's done of lawmakers to stop making women's bodies on than their political game. ..
they stood for something. for themselves and for each other and for women that they have never met nor will ever know, and for a least the moment they interested and they owned that power. that power is in each of us. the power to stand the power to unite each with each other towards the common cause of seeing and understanding each
other, bound by our shared human experience is of joy and triumphs failure and sorrow. i hope that we will own that power and that we will use it to collectively say we stand for a woman's right to choose freely the path that she will travel, and we will fight for the tools that provide her with that choice. when she does whether that is in making a decision about her own body or whether she will pursue a career at home or in the workplace, we will stand with her in defending her choice. i hope we will use our powers to stand arm in arm with our sisters regardless of who they are or the choices that they make. because we stand unabashedly and unashamedly for women's equality. and when we do unite and stand together for that cause, we truly will have the power to make it happen. thank you all so very, very
much. [applause] >> thank you for that inspiring speech, and we're so grateful to have you here. and i had the pleasure of immersing myself very deeply into your memoir over the past week or two, and i wanted one thing that struck is just to see senator davis today and how poised and self-confident and her strength comes through and get you described growing up as being painfully shy and naturally very modest which are actually its we say more often than not in women. so i'm wondering if you have advice for the audience as to how women who are struggling to find their voice can do so? >> i found mine as i said in my
remarks, through my own personal experiences, everything i fought for in the texas senate was really based on those. i was a champion for public education. i a much lesser known filibuster fighting to prevent $5.5 billion in cuts to our schools in texas. i fought against payday lenders because i understand how people can get caught in a loan that literally can't financially ruined them. and, of course i thought for women's reproductive autonomy because of my own experiences and the benefits i received from that kind of care. and as we as women are listening to our own voices and think about how we would use them to speak, i think naturally we will find our way and we defined our way in doing that based on the things that we've experienced in our own lives and that is motivated as to stand up and speak out on them. what i hope that women more and
more will do is to own our power to do that and to push against our natural tendencies to be shy or soft-spoken and use those very important voices that we have to move gender equality forward. spirit wonderful. it sounds like your voice is through the house -- the heart and courage to which the to be true, the passion rises and from there you speak, which is really a wonderful debate. let's talk about power. it's been said that laws are like sausages and it is better not to see them being made. your memoir nicely illustrates some of the dog eat dog nature of politics. i want to ask you don't about what he think this might be a gender with this particular view may be a gender view of power. i'm not sure if you're familiar with the book the athena doctrine that came out in 2012 this is about the reports on a survey done of 54000 people
across the globe. representing two-thirds of the world's gdp. what they found was two-thirds of the respondents agreed that the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. i wanted to get your views on this and whether you think that masculine power is different from feminine power, and how that plays out in the world of politics. >> i think we usually utilize our skills to use our power in the ways that we naturally are comfortable with. it's difficult i think to say that women tend to have a style that makes their ability to use their power unique, but we do have something very unique, and that is we bring a perspective what it's like to be a female in the world to the table. and when we believe in ourselves enough to bring those issues
forward and to make sure that they are heard in the conversation, it's terribly important. we do need to be a government, whether it's at the local state federal level that is reflective of our population. and unless and until we can elect more women into those roles we are not going to be. i found that i had to be particularly scrappy in the texas senate to get my voice heard. and that i couldn't rely on just having sort of a softer negotiating style female, stereotypical style. i had to be a real fighter in those back rooms and to push hard for the things that i was trying to advance. >> so it sounds like you to learn to embrace both your masculine and your feminine aspects of power and to fight the fight as it currently exists at the same time remain true to the values that you have been socialized tool because of by virtue of the fact of being a
woman. so let me see, what else. you have been on a wild political ride and it's quite a sight. seemingly equal measures of victory and defeat them and i wonder if you could reflect on what might've been and what lessons you've learned and whether you have any regrets or just in general what you've learned that will enable you to go forward and enact a vision they see for a better future. >> i certainly don't regret running for governor this past year. it was not only a very rewarding personal experience for me but i felt it gave me an opportunity to move the conversation and to make sure that at the very least i was highlighting things that were not being heard. in the texas capitol and then the governors mansion in particular. and i know that i spoke to a lot of people who feel like their voices have not been represented
in the halls of that capital. so i won't ever say that i would regret having done that. i've also learned that there are many things that we do that we fail at when we first try. whatever in her office the very first time for city council, in fort worth, i lost. but there's something to be gained in listening to it provides you a perspective to look back and ask yourself, what could i am sure i have done differently? i have certainly that a fair measure of that looking back at my gubernatorial race. one of the things that i would do differently is as i mentioned in my remarks i would call out some of the gender politics that were at play in a much more vocal way that i did. in fact, it was asked by reporters about some of these things i usually don't heard and tried to downplay the fact -- the mirrored -- that i was being treated different than a male candidate.
but i think when we do that we give permission for that to be the way we are treated in the political arena. and just as professor lopez talks about the fact when blatant racial appeals are used, voters stand up against those. when they see that that's what's at play, they react in a very unfavorable way too thin. i think helping voters see that they are being invited to view women and the way that isn't fairly reflective of who they truly are and the potential at state and local and national leaders, if we make that point no one and would bring people present and aware to the messaging as a receiving at that they may be unconsciously reacting to i think we can help to really push back against that. and as a woman candidate i learned that it is important to call it out when it is
happening, absolutely. >> in your book you describe a parallel between former texas governor ann richards and yourselves. in the sense you both have strong marriages with two partners. yet run for office placed a strain on your marriages that could not be sustained. you stated at its most basic point, referring to your former husband, our relationship had begun in been built upon a power differential, and you're struggling with a knee to 40 your own way for a while to get to know who you could be separate and apart from them. i'm wondering, referring back, do you think that women can have it all, ma it is not what needs to change within the home so that men are more comfortable with women's power? >> you know, if i could answer this question and solve this issue, i would be doing the world a great deal of good. it is difficult. of courtship to professors on your faculty here governor granholm and her husband dan and they confronted this issue
and they've been very open in talking about the. it can be very difficult as women are working to find a foothold in careers not only to dealtodo with the way that they are viewed by the outside world and some of the people that they may be working with but even in their own homes where their spouses may feel threatened by that. and i know that the tension the pace, the pressure of running for office and holding office certainly took its toll on my marriage. the same happened for ann richards, even though she and her husband had had a very respectful and vibrant partnership for many, many years in the political arena, as i did with my husband my former husband. and i wish it weren't the case that that pressure became too much. it tends to be a situation that when male candidates are running and when the old office, there's
a much more comfortable role that they have with their spouses that sometimes exists for women who are pursuing the same passions. >> well, thank you for being a trailblazer despite the personal costs that you've incurred as you've acknowledged. so i want to ask you so you describe in your book, we know that you for a football helmet to literally get tough in the face of opposition during your filibuster, you updated yourself with a catheter, a back brace and very fashionable pink running shoes that increase your endurance and stamina. could you comment more generally about how you took care of yourself psychologically spiritually in this fast-paced world? aryeh and huffington and her book talks about a third metrics of success which is more to do with well being in power and material wealth. how do you foster this aspect of yourself? >> is so important and they can
be so hard when our schedule demands we focus our attention on everything else, but everything else suffers if we don't get a third metric its due attention and care. for me comes in the form of running under the forms of exercise that i do try to eat well. sleep is a real challenge but i try. i try. and i think that's chair no matter what we're doing in our lives, that if we can create that kind of balance, then we have the outlet that exercise provides us in taking care of ourselves provides. we have the ability to keep our engines going so we can pursue the things we really care about. >> do you go so far as to put into your schedule firm that this is the hour i'm working out today and it is nonnegotiable? >> i had to do that in my campaign because it could literally be every moment of your day if you allowed it. i had to get really forceful ultimately with the person was
handling my schedule about making sure that she was getting in the time to be able to do that. >> good. i want to ask some questions that have been submitted from the audience and i think we would go until 5:15 just so everybody knows. the first question, what do you recommend statistic to address issues pertaining to women such as changing rape culture and making our immunity places where women can safely succeed oblong with their nl counterparts? >> well, first i want to applaud what is happening on college campuses around the country where women and men who care about this issue are really trying to move the conversation forward about sexual assault. and painting and putting a light on what's going on and shining that light and making sure that we are confronting the reality of what's happening. it's so very, very important. if that's something any of you here are involved in doing, my congratulations and appreciation to you for that work.
when we shed light on issues and we, as i said in my remarks, when we humanize them for each other, it really helps to change the conversation. and i found in my political life that when we meet our opponents in an honest way and we talk about things in yemen terms and we can charge the language a bit and try to relate to each other as one human to another we really can't appeal to people in a way that it might initially have their defenses up about. and this issue is no different than that. making sure that women's experiences are being looked at as a very human real expenses in shedding some understand all that i virtue of telling our personal stories. this is why i felt it was important even in the context of
my campaign with a lot of people saying that they didn't understand why i did it this is why in my book i told my story about my experience, my personal experience with abortion. we have to destigmatize these things and we have to be able to talk about them so that we can all relate better to what those human expenses are and why is that good reproductive policies are important, just a sexual assault protections are important. >> sure, absolutely. we need to allow the issue to see the light of day. so what are the main obstacles that women running for office face today? how big a role does sexism still play in 2015? and there's a hybrid question, how do you combat sexism when it comes to your family, if it does? >> interesting. so i showed those slots. literally that is the tip of the iceberg.
-- those slides. i know women are treated in ways that invite voters to look at them as women, not necessary as the leaders that we are and have the potential to be. my race was particularly flagrant. i think that when we see hillary clinton talked about as a candidate and when we saw her experience even in her prior presidential race, she has a particular target on her that a lot of men come after. it can be really difficult but i feel a responsibility to all the other women or considering running for office to show that we can rise above that as women candidates picked as i said earlier i do think we need to call it out when it's there and bring attention to it and shame those who are doing it. but at the same time we have to show that we can rise above it and move through it.
and continue to fight for the things that really matter to us. otherwise the folks who are sending those messages when. >> absolutely. so do you think mandatory paid maternity leave will become a reality in our lifetime? >> i certainly hope so, given that we're the only industrialized country that doesn't currently have that. i certainly hope so. and they tend to be very, very optimistic about things and believe that if we continue to fight hard enough for that we will make it a reality. at the very least it is finally moving forward in the conversation in a way that is getting a lot more attention than it has been in the past. it so terrible important not just on the maternal side but the paternal side to make sure we're providing people in a gender equal weight in the workforce the ability to have the family and to have a great economic compromise either of those by virtue of wanting to have both. >> great.
so you describe several instances in your memoir of which you learn that swimming against the tide and being outspoken rarely goes unpunished. in the academic world we call this backlash. and women more often than men are subjected to. yet your willingness to play the political game despite these hardships my co states the concept of leaning in, which women are being encouraged to do today but as important as leaning and is does it put too much onus on women to advance the individual agency? and what can we do to foster a greater sense of collective agency? >> leaning in obviously it's important that i think we can all feel and relate to the experience of having done that at some point in our lives. but it's also important that we don't put that responsibility solely on women to achieve for themselves, because that forgives the environment which is forcing women to live in an
unequal allies world. we also have -- unequal allies world. we have to confront workplace policy of legislative policy that you don't exist or do exist in ways that are harmful to women. we have to work to make sure that governmental policies workplace policies are creating the kind of environment that truly is gender equal. and i were a little bit at if this is also clearly belongs only to them we create a sense that women may have, some of their doing something wrong. when the road is a much broader issue at play and i was all to work on those bar things and making sure that we reform things at the polls level in order to create true gender equal opportunities. >> dgc patricia arquette at the
academy awards and her outspoken is about equal pay? to you think we'll get there, to? >> i was very pleased obviously as i said in my remarks president obama has the lilly ledbetter fair pay act and the federal level but a lot of people thought that was job done like it that way back when president kennedy passed the equal pay whacked way back when that was job done. state by state by state these protections have to be created as well. in my own state i worked very hard in my last legislative session to get in equal pay bill through the texas and. no easy feat. it's a republican majority in both the texas senate and the texas house, but we did get it through. we were so excited to place this bill on governor perry's desk. governor perry received pressure from companies like kroger and macy's who wanted him to veto that bill and he vetoed that
bill in favor of the pressure that he received. this is happening not just in taxes but elsewhere where these bills are not even making it come as i said earlier to the governor's desk. we've got to make our elected leaders feel that they own the same responsibility to us that they feel they on to people who are potentially mega- donors to the campaigns or to the future campaign. this is why voter apathy is so upsetting to me. because when we don't vote we do show people like governor perry that acting in ways like that will go unaccounted. they are not held to account for it. and i think that we all ought to own our responsible to make sure we're using our voices in a way to show that we are as powerful as some of these folks that can write a big check.
>> ultimately politics is powerful but we also need to change culture and we need to change the way we see these issues from a moral lens, not a social justice lens. maybe that's the direction we need to go. how would you determine your political platform and agenda to educate you on the issues? >> it really comes from in here. and as an elected official i tried very hard to keep an open door for people to come in and talk about things that matter to them. my work on testing the backlog of rape kits in texas came from someone bringing the issue to me and helping to educate me on it. just a person come in the door of my senate office thing did you know about this? so never underestimate the power that we each have whether we decide to run for office and do these things, push this policy forward ourselves or whether we are in our elected official officers helping to try to move
them. we can't know or have been in his shoes of everyone, but if we are thoughtful as elected leaders, when someone helps us to stand in the shoes we will respond in a way that gives voice to that. >> wonderful. and who are your role models and heroes and heroines in mentors? >> well certainly and richards, the last female governor and the last democratic governor in texas, experienced certainly her own brand of what it was like to run as a woman in the state of texas. her daughter cecile richards who is the head of planned parenthood, is very much a role model of mine. she started an entity in texas the texas freedom of association, or texas your network, which stands for civil rights and freedom of expression expression, and that legacy continues after she left. so see certainly made her mark
on the world. and its early shows she is unstoppable in the face of criticism and unflappable in the face of an attempt to undo all of the work of course of that fine organization is doing. she is for me a great role model of how we conduct ourselves as women even in the face of what can be a little bit of a backslide from time to time. >> nice to have people we can see who embody strength and thick skin and certainly you in your book about how much, how far you've come in this regard and really not letting the turkeys get you down. so your personal story makes the case for public policy that supports women. how do we get men to the allies in the fight to fight the fight to for these policies when they don't experience these things personally? how do we make men care about feminism? >> we share our stories.
again, not to be a broken record, but humanizing these issues. just as i for example of a state lawmaker might not understand how issues that are happening in the present system in my state when people are coming and humanizing those experiences, it motivates me to want to be helpful. we have to make sure that we make men our allies in this fight because we won't achieve true gender equality without a. and again as anne-marie slaughter invites us to consider true gender equality comes to making sure that we are thinking about men as well and the choices that they have in front of them and making sure that they are free to choose as we currently are. men who have daughters tend to
really be much more open to these issues of gender equality because they see us as a lens of their own daughters of the want to be happy and successful. ansa making sure that we are sharing those stories about each other's expenses with our male counterparts at work or in the political arena or in our families is very, very important. >> sharing stories, what i'm hearing is it's about empathy and helping people, men and women alike, to understand our perspectives come and we do that through storytelling and sharing. you embody that very well. what is your political future? >> i have no idea. i am working right now on creating an advocacy organization for women. i'm very passionate about this issue, and certainly isn't the
case that not being in political office doesn't mean that you have to go radio silent on things you care about. we can have an impact outside of a medical office as we can insider. in fact, not being officeholders anymore or a candidate right now has been really freeing. i can say whatever the hell i want to say. [laughter] know when his message managing the. and i can really listen again to my heart and the things that matter deeply to me and to spend my energy, efforts fighting for those, and that's what i'm going to do. and if that ultimately takes the back into the political candidates or officeholders i mean, great. if it doesn't, i will still be fighting in the way that hope will be effective and will make an impact. >> wonderful. i look forward to seeing your continued impact grow, thank you so much for being here and sharing your story with us.
>> thank you. and thank you all so much. [applause] >> each night this week at 9 p.m. eastern, conversation with a few new members of congress. >> when you raised your hand and took the oath of office, what were your mom and dad thanking? >> you know i knew my mom would be crying, and my dad was proud. it was when my dad was 82 and he showed up. he usually walks with a cane and he showed up and he didn't have his cane. i said dad 22 run someone to your hotel and get your cane. he straightened up and said on in the capital. i don't need a cane today. ..
the club is the world's leading professional organization for junenallists. we're committed to the profession's future through programs just like this. we fight for a free press worldwide. for more information about the club visit our website, press.org. to donate to programs offered through our journalism institute, visit the website press.org/institute. on behalf of our members worldwide i want to welcome you to today's luncheon. i would also like to welcome our
c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action on twitter. use the hashtag npc lunch. that is npc lunch. remember the public attends our luncheons. applause you hear is not evidence of a lack of journalistic objectivity. after our guest's speech, we'll have a question and answer period. and i will ask as many questions as time permits. our head table guests include guests of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. let me introduce them to you right now. i'd ask each person to stand briefly as names are announced. from the audience's right joseph morton, washington bureau chief for the omaha world herald and national press club membership secretary. john rosenberg strategic
advisor on africa, sanoran policy christopher demutth fellow at the hudson institute and a guest of our speaker. angela keane, "bloomberg news" white house correspondent and former president of the national press club. maggie jaffe assistant to our speaker and her guest today. donna lejay reporter for "usa today," vice-chair of the national press club speaker's committee and a former president of the national press club. skipping over our speaker for a moment doris margolis, president of editorial associates health and science communications and the npc member who arranged today's program. thank you, doris. michelle carter, vice president for worldwide speakers group and a guest of our speaker.
paul shenkman national security reporter for "u.s. news & world report" and a third generation member of the national press club. joel whitaker, editor and publisher of keane's beverage news daily and the former secretary of the national press club. [applause] ayaan hirsi ali, author, woman right as activist and former muslim and outspoken critic of the religion she renounced. her latest book, "her rhett tick why islam need as reformation now." posits that ordinary muslims are ready for a change. in a recent essay she points to rising immigration from countries where many hold views that americans would see as extreme. she wrote people with views such as these pose a threat to us all not because those who
hold them will all turn to terrorism. most will not. but such attitudes imply a readiness to turn a blind eye to the use of violence and intimidation. her sy ali was raised in a strict muslim family in somalia she survived female genital mutilation and a civil war. her family emigrated to saudi arabia ethiopia and settled in kenya. after her father arranged for her to marry a distant cousin in 1992, she fled to the netherlands. she was granted asylum and later citizenship n 2003 she was elected to dutch parliament. one year later, she and theo van gogh collaborated on a film critical of islam's treatment of women. van gogh was assassinated and
hirsi ali received death threats. she moved to america in 2007, obtainedded citizenship in 2013 and co-founded the aha foundation. she is a fellow at harvard's bell four center for science and international affairs and visiting fellow at the american enterprise institute. the topic of her talk today is class of civilizations. isis islam, and the west. ladies and gentlemen please join me in a warm national press club welcome for ayaan , hirsi ali. [applause] >> thank you, john, for having me back again at the national press club. i want to start by acknowledging
chris demuth, who was the former president of the american enterprise institute and among so many things that he has done, he brought me to america. thank you. [applause] when i was last here about four 1/2 years ago and chris was here, i was invited to come and speak to you on the proposition, islam is a religion of tolerance. i don't know how far back your memory extend. but you will forgive me for enjoying this moment, that i back then took the position that
islam was not a religion of tolerance, it was not a religion of peace. of course, in october 25, of 2010 that is the day was here, i acknowledged that there are millions and millions of muslims who are peace-loving and who are tolerant. but i was confident that islam not reformed as a creed was not peaceful or tolerant. in 2010, i publish ad book nomad, and this one chapter in there where i acknowledge that, okay, i was born into islam.
and, through an evolution an intellectual journey, i was able to shed religion, not just islam and, in my youthful enthusiasm i thought that, oh, if you get liberateed from hell fire, you will join me in my atheism. in 2010 i was disappointed that ex-muslims the ex-muslims that i interacted with and i encountered were not willing to join me in my atheism. and i thought well, what the heck. if you want another religion, might be possible, i was kind of thinking the way americans think, there is a problem, there must be a solution.
and if the problem was, i want to believe in a god in 2010, i thought, well, there are so many gods. there is a benign god, the christian god. back then i was promoting the idea, if you're a peace loving, tolerant muslim and you want to be religious why not convert to christianity? and i had a very naive letter to the pope saying, why don't you capture the hearts and minds of all of these millions of people who are spiritual in search of redemption? unfortunately today, i have to admit to you that the pope did not follow my there is no program catholic program, that wants to capture the hearts and minds of muslims. if it is there, i don't know
about it. he has not involved me in it. it's five years ago, nearly five years ago and i have come to the conclusion as we all grow and as we all evolve, that you don't shed a religion that easily. it is not like taking off a in a wedding, people are attached to their traditions, people are attached to their religions. i'm here to say that i have matured and i have learned and i have come across more and more muslims who instead of he converting to something else, instead of deserting their religion would actually like to reform it. and that brings me back to the
statement, is islam a religion of peace and tolerance? in 2010, it was a matter of debate. it was still open for debate. and i got questions from this audience and we went back and forth. and i remember saying, well, okay, dear journalists why don't you go ahead and research it? but today i feel that there is a change. there is a shift in opinion toward my side. and i don't want to claim that triumph. it is not if you have changed your mind if you have come to accept the position that islam is not a religion of peace or tolerance, it is not because i have persuaded you. it is because events may have
pervade persuaded you. i just want to run through a list of those events, just to highlight them. the arab spring. some people want to think of it as the arab winter. i honestly think that is open for debate because i think of it as a spring. something happened there. that is not what many of you expected. it wasn't a sort of a triumphant we want liberal democracy along the lines of the american constitution. it wasn't american revolution. it was not a french revolution. it wasn't a prague revolution. what happened is what happened to me in 2002, you simply start asking questions. this person, this entity, this institution that claims absolute
authority. who the heck is this, who the heck are they? and as they go through despots some south carolina seeded doing that, some countries did not but the central question, the big question mark that sticks out in heads of those people who are demonstrating, i'm not going to allow myself to submit to something i don't want to submit to. and if you're an egyptian, you say, mr. mubarak who are you, why do you want absolute authority over me? you will have simply the same question to a wife or husband, why should i obey you unconley? if you're a teacher and a student that relationship, why is, why do you have the last word? may i ask some questions. and this takes you to the next level.
because in in islamic context everybody is going to say, that is what god wants you to do. that is what the prophet muhammad instructed and only a matter of time you say well,. maybe i don't agree with god. maybe i don't agree with the prophet mohammed. the arab spring is dismissed as winter, but we had false expectations but if you had that expectation you will still see it as a spring. it is a remarkable development. the second point of the arab spring is the elections in tunisia and egypt. seems there is enough evidence in tunisia that there is a substantial body of the population who when they were presented with an agenda for
political change based on sharia law, as one based on secular law, however imperfect we've seen this struggle and we're going to continue to see it, in tunisia a majority of tunisiaians, at least meaningful majority of tune niche shuns made a choice to go with the secular government. it is fragile but it is something we need to note. in my view, i think if we can do anything we need to help tunisia survive. we also saw the election in egypt. and in the first instance, people supported and subscribeed to subscribed to a government
based on sharia law. it was one-year-old, again when many egyptians inspired to make that change. they still had that energy. made a choice between two very bad options. sharia law that came about through the ballot box versus back to secular military law. and a meaningful number of egyptians went with secular law. then we saw the civil wars. iraq syria yemen libya. or if you want to be more accurate sectarian wars. a proxy war between sunnis,
saudi arabia and shiite iraq. in 2010 it was a completely different context. we had not seen boko haram. do you remember the hashtag bring back our girls? the capture of malley, it was unthinkable in 2010, that the likes of al qaeda would take over a country as large as mali. and yes together with the government of france and the u.s., but with france in the lead al qaeda was kicked out. something, some measure of order is restored. but islamic extremism made the point. and of course, this is what keeps us all awake the proclamation of a caliphate by a man named abu bakr al-baghdadi.
that was not there in 2010. if you wanted to say islam a religion of peace, it's a religion of tolerance, you could be on this side or could be on that side but there was no caliphate. the and in response to the caliphate, is the obama administration's pledge to degrade, destroy and chase to the gates of hell that particular caliphate. and even more shocking and disturbing a stream of volunteers individual volunteers from 80 something countries, to the call of al-baghdadi, including many women. and even more disturbing, including to citizens from the liberal west, from the u.s., from france, from britain. so in 2010, when we were
discussing and debating if islam was a religion of peace and tolerance, i could say, you know, go ahead you dear journalists, do your research. but today, with all of these events unfolding before your very eyes i don't think a day goes by without a headline about what is done in the name of islam that is even more shocking. the latest good friday was in garissa, kenya. i grew up in kenya. the man who masterminded that atrocity was a refugee in kenya. he went to the university, or hulu university. he grew up in relative comfort. at least if you lived in kenya you would be envious of his position. he went to saudi arabia and got
radicalized. and today that is what he does for a living. masterminding terrorist actions in kenya. the country that welcomed him. you will only appreciate this if you're a somali because if you're a somali living in a country of context of perpetual civil war, the first place you go to in hope of a better future is not really the usa or the west, it is kenya. so there are thousands if not millions of somalis who are enjoying something relatively better than what they would have had at home and it is to me personally not only a deep shock of what happened but a source of shame and embarassment that our neighbor, that has given us refuge, that we repaid them in this way. i would like so malis wherever they are and stand up and denounce this in a specific
manner. but i don't want to hold you up. you understand that i still hold the position that islam is not a religion of peace, not yet. not yet. and that is the evolution in my own thinking. of course we all know that millions of muslims are desperate for peace and tolerance. i thought that in 2010. i still think that. my encouragement for muslims to join christianity, i don't think that is going to work. so the question is then, what needs to happen? and i know that if you operate in the world of policy, either as a policymaker, policy advisor, or policy observer, you have a list of measures that you weigh in on. this will be military options.
of course we have to destroy and degrade and chase to the gates of hell isis. i get that. we all get that. just do it efficiently and do it fast. of course we understand that there is an economic equation. we understand that there might be something to be gained through diplomacy. ultimately ultimately this is creed and ideology, that 1/5 of humanity believes in we can not get away from the reality that there is something within islam within islam, that inspires, incites and mobilizes millions of people to engage in what our
president euphemistically calls non-violent , no, he calls it violent extremism. so they were what is the answer? if you come to my position four 1/2 years later, if we accept the position, islam is not a religion peace what happens? what do you do? i struggled with this question for a long time. and i thought instead of accepting there is one islam there are many sets of muslims. you can accept there are as many as muslims you like because it is 1/5 of humanity. i describe one the mecca islams. prophet muhammad going door-to-door telling arab tribes, please give up all of
your gods and unite under one god. and in those days he was preaching charity. he was preaching humanity. he was preaching peace. maybe that is where the islamic peace comes from. the mecca muslims. and there are muslims and that is the majority of muslims who when they slept on their religion, want to follow the prophet muhammad and the koran in the mecca period. there is a second set of muslims. muhammad makes emigration of from mecca to medina. in medina his status changes. he become as warlord. he become as politician. he is a legislator. he is a leader. there is a lot to admire him about during that period but in 2015, if you want to apply
muhammad's moral guidance, then you are going to end up with something called the islamic state, or al qaeda or boko haram, or all the anomalies we think are anomalies to islam but are actually inherent. then we have a small group of people individuals within islam today, i didn't see them in 2010. i see them now who are saying, there is something wrong within our own scripture. our scripture example of the prophet muhammad, that provides too much inspiration to too many bad people, the medina set of muslims. and what can we do about it? they're struggling to bring about a change. and here's the interesting thing. if we move the debate to okay islam needs something. maybe not an exodus of muslims
out of islam but something else. a reformation. christianity a great religion went through a reformation. judaism went through reformation. islam needs to go through a reformation. to the muslim reformers what is it that needs to change? when you turn on the television and you feel yourselves inspired and heartened by the words of the current president of egypt and you know how he came to power? and he says, in, the thousand something-year-old university, the teachers and looks at clerics, he tells them we need a revolution, a revolution in religion. what does he mean? what does he want? i don't know. i just know that the very fact that he is doing that is new and
incredibly brave. and i have five amendments that i think allah's the leadership can make. i don't expect them to. i don't think any change is going to come from them. but, hey, let's give them the benefit of the doubt. but i think i know what mr. el-sisi is looking for. it is five amendments. muslims, those of us who were born into islam we need to change our attitude toward the koran and the hadif. the document must be read in its context, accept that it is the work of human hands. maybe divinely inspired but the work of human hands. and muhammad as a moral guide after mecca is really problematic. and i'm being pc. number two a second amendment i
would like to make in islam growing up as a young muslim girl woman, child we invest far more in life after death than in life before death. and there we need a change in priority. number three sharia law do i need to describe that? when it is applied, it manifests itself under the kingdom of saudi arabia iran, islamic republic of iran and its worst manifestation, the islamic state founded by abu bakr al-baghdadi. there is a less known concept command and forbidden koran. if you want to understand, the worst manifestation of what that looks like i would like you to revisit the images of the afghani woman who is accused of
burning the koran. she did not burn the koran. she was accused of burning the koran. and some random man calls and says, this woman burns koran and a mob of men come out and lynch. that is command and forbidden koran. then of course jihad holy war. that should be replaced with holy peace. if these five amendments are made, and given the time that we have i can't delve into everyone of them but i do get into depth within the book, i think that we will have a separation of religion from politics in islam. i think that we in the west, because that is obviously the last question, what can we in the west do to help this process of reformation if anything? i would say we have to side with those individuals and those groups who are trying to bring
about that kind of change. this is my five cent commitment to it. and now i welcome your questions. [applause] >> thank you so much. so reforming major world religion in such a fundamental way, as you describe, seems to be a huge undertaking. do you view yourself as someone who's planting the seed for change that will happen maybe decades down the road, centuries down the road? or do you think that there is some reformation some, that can take hold and happen much more quickly? >> well, first of all, i want to say of course it is going to take decades. this is a process that could take very long. i won't