Skip to main content

tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  WHUT  January 24, 2013 9:00am-9:30am EST

9:00 am
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, children as human shields in the gun debate. then, who's leading the way for women in the workforce. behind the headlines: as we introduce you to some new female members of congress, this week it's arizona's kyrsten sinema.
9:01 am
>> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the gun debate rages on. children move to the forefront of the gun control debate as both sides use kids in their campaigns. first, the nra released a web ad accusing president obama of being a hypocrite. >> just another elitist hypocrite. >> that because he's skeptical of putting armed guards in schools while his daughters are protected by the secret service. then, flanked by children of all ages in the background, mr.
9:02 am
obama signed 23 executive orders on gun control. late next week the senate starts considering plans to limit gun ownership. congresswoman norton, are kids being used as props in the gun control debate? >> bonnie, this time the kids were targets not just props so on appropriate occasions they will insist on being heard. >> i think children have been used on many political issues by both sides, brings sympathy to any issue but we'll say it again >> the i think more than just props and they have like you said been used over time when it was issue of nuclear disarmament during reagan's time they were used repeatedly because again, sympathy that gets generated. >> of course both sides use them as props but that doesn't make it right. especially with the nra showing the president's daughter in the online commercial, i was totally
9:03 am
against that even though i'm for the nra that hits below the belt. it should be off limits. >> but as eleanor pointed out, kids in connecticut were targets so why in this instance is it inappropriate to some people to use. >> i don't think it is inappropriate frankly. look, children -- almost every president when they sign a piece of legislation or they have particular event have people in the background. with the health care legislation there were children standing in the background there, too. but in this particular episode basically he was going to probably have somebody who doesn't bring sympathy did the white house -- >> but kids were targets in columbine in chicago and washington, d.c. you have children being killed for decades now. so why now. this is nothing new -- >> this is why now because this is new. this is new. >> that kids are being killed? >> this is different. >> one at a time. >> this is different. nobody is seen anything like
9:04 am
this. with all of the murders we've had i come from a city where children have been routinely killed no one envisioned that anybody would mow down children. the kids are especially today, who used to expressing themselves are going to want to be heard on appropriate occasions should be heard. the nra gets a thumbs down, because it's not about kids it's about somebody's kids. and that somebody's kids happens to be the president of the united states and he doesn't even have -- the president didn't even have the discretion not to have his children protected and we would have been appalled had that not been the case. to put the president's kids in with kids who step up and say, i want everybody to know how kids feel about this is not apples and orange, it's a-z it shouldn't h get -- >> the nra ad has been condemned
9:05 am
across the board. >> although their membership has mushrooming -- >> not because of the ad. >> i want to get to the legislation. there's been a lot of talk late this week about the fact that maybe the business is being taken out of the newtown disaster and massacre and that members, that this time the nra will be able to get its way because politicians are already backing down from passing strict gun control measures. >> whenever you talk about the competition, whenever you tack about second amendment it's a passionate issue on both sides. something some be -- should be done, however my thing you lost more people in chicago than the war in afghanistan in 2012. >> there have been over a thousand gun deaths we should say since newtown. >> yes. bottom line we need to come to the table, criminals don't to go gun shows and get guns.
9:06 am
criminals don't register their guns. i see both sides of the argument here. >> criminals do to go gun shows to get guns, in fact be crazy not to because you can go in to a gun show and nobody -- just a moment. nobody will ask any questions. >> when you -- >> you cannot only get one gun you can get ten or 15 guns. we are going to have this back and forth. what we need to do is say look, what things do we agree upon? then come out from that and see what we can -- what we can do. >> why should assault weapons be available to ordinary citizens, why should we have these massive magazines of firearms and -- what are they bullets or whatever. >> i can't see going to a gun show as a person who is a victim of a violent crime and if i was packing that day when i was mugged, probably i would be in a better place than i am right now dealing with post traumatic stress. i can't see gang bangers going
9:07 am
to a gun show, having a background check with a criminal record getting a gun. >> i think, bonnie to your point are we maybe taking a step back because longer people say, look, before we just jump, everybody wants to do something. everybody wants to address this issue. but i think people are trying to be thoughtful about it which is a good thing that if we want to make sure we're addressing the problem just quickly passing legislation or sending out executive order -- >> to your question we have an assault ban that banned very things you talked about for ten years. >> it didn't stop columbine, they no evidence many cases it would have stopped what happened in newtown, before we just go pass it -- i understand the question. but we got to look at the evidence, the longer people are looking -- >> i want to -- okay, enough. i want to get to the nra and the president. who is strategically in a better place right now because if you
9:08 am
look at gabby giffords has super pac, michael bloomberg, mayor bloomberg has a super pac spending a lot of money. nra was not very effective they had a lot of losses of people they back in a big way. didn't win in congress. >> the president's approval ratings are higher than at any time since he was first elected. >> and the polls are with the president. but you make the most important point. nra has had this game all to themselves. they have been able to play it with no money in the game, on the side of people who wanted some sense of gun safety. now with people like gabby giffords, people who can attract funds and target them strategically i think the game is -- >> the president has the national -- we have more power than nra but i believe you were right from the standpoint and being a person who makes laws
9:09 am
people should come to this table find out what they do agree on instead of politicizing it. it is a political issue. i think leaders should come together and stop the bipartisan -- with enyou have the nra saying we're against an assault weapons ban, against everything. to me the nra has become nothing more than a shield for the gun manufacturers. if you find out where their finances are coming it's true. they get their membership dues for sure but they get huge monies from gun manufacturers. they're in the business of telling more guns. >> they are in the business of selling more guns, but do you have democrats that have been endorsed by the nra that might have a tough race next go around if they go against. >> last word. >> but i think that time is of the essence, whatever needs to happen needs to happen now. the president needs to take action now because otherwise they are going to be back to the same debate which is going to stay unresolved to bring more
9:10 am
people to the table and wait another few months, nothing will happen. >> all right. let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. or from kids and guns to working women. in 1990 the u.s. ranked 6th for women's participation in the workforce among developed countries. since then, however, the percentage of women employed has stagnated. according to a new study by the national bureau of economic research, the u.s. ranked 17th in 2010. meanwhile the number of women working in europe and japan has been steadily increasing. researchers say the reason for this is those country's family-friendly policies, flexibility to work part-time, generous maternity leave among others. so is the u.s falling behind? perhaps not. the researchers say some family friendly benefits have
9:11 am
unintended consequences that drive more women into part-time and low paying jobs. >> so, would the oecd model work here in the u.s.? >> bell, i don't think so. the fact is, this country compared to a lot of countries in europe that were looking at and comparing, in this country women an men have staple amount likelihood of being manager, for example. only half that chance if you're in many parts of western europe. great to have family friendly policies, but does that encourage businesses to have -- then fewer women are going to end up in the opportunity to be managers. >> that's a poor reason for -- woman that she should go in to the workforce and let -- the reason that women who here are managers in greater numbers is because they can afford to pay
9:12 am
for somebody to take care of their children. let's talk about the average woman. she's had to flood these -- they are flooded in to the workforce, why? because standard of living for the american family has been kept -- has risen, kept from completely eroding only because women have gone in to the workforce. and they have had to go come what may. i think women would say, i think you're absolutely right. some would take part-time work and the rest. so be it. we want women to do what is their choice but we don't want that choice to be preordained for the average woman because she's got to go in there without any way to have child care, without -- there are -- low income women don't have sick leave. we cannot be for -- cannot be against what will help women to
9:13 am
enter the workforce with some grace and some comfort because some of them will decide that they would rather have part-time work. >> i want to -- you are new to the panel, welcome. you were born in pakistan, you lived all over the world, do you see america, the u.s. as falling behind i terms of a leadership position it may have had in the world in terms of the most advanced country for women say 20 years ago? >> i think as pakistani-american this country has opportunities for everybody. but -- and i also see women here are getting education much more than -- sometimes more than boys. the fact that women are falling behind in the workplace that has to mean that their life circumstances are such that they cannot do -- go beyond part-time
9:14 am
work so i totally agree with the congresswoman, i think that you have to -- the government, the state has to prepare the ground for these women to achieve the maximum that they can. >> but i think another take on that is that the woman that worked in corporate america for very long time i found women in managerial positions won't hire other women. i find sometimes we're biased on each other in hiring qualified women. >> i don't agree with that. i am running a nonprofit organization -- >> i understand. >> with 500 women in it. i have also worked in america for the past 30 years, i don't think women are women's worst enemies, i think that is -- >> there's some of them. but they're not in the majority. >> i don't think they're the majority, i'm giving a different take on it to add to it the reason why we're not -- i've seen some women with sharp elbows they don't want the competition. >> i was most surprised i must say about this study that it did
9:15 am
show that family friendly policies -- yes, they get more women in to the workforce but they get them in to the workforce in part-time jobs and less powerful jobs. to me is that -- that's not a bad thing as you mentioned low income women but if we're trying to get women to the tops of american corporation and in top jobs is it a bad thing. >> wait a minute, that was in europe. that was the affect in europe. we don't know whether if that can be here. we have the luxury of having child care system, for example. and i would say let's try it. women here by necessity, we went in to the workforce by necessity. we finally come to the point where having nobody taking care of your children, understanding what these early years of brain development mean, women are making sacrifices. people are taking part-time jobs are not just low income women. they are many women who went to the best law schools and
9:16 am
management schools in the country. all that have is robbing the country of talent. all right. behind the headlines: kyrsten sinema is a study in the atypical politician. the new u.s. house member from arizona is a young, openly bisexual woman who doesn't align herself with a faith community. and that, she says, is what makes her great to represent arizona. >> i could go on for a long time about how wonderful arizona is but arizonan's are very practical and common sense people and we're very interested in solving problems and getting things done and we're just not that interested in focusing on people's private lives or personal choices or decisions. >> a lifelong resident of arizona, sinema comes from humble beginnings. >> my family was actually divorced, my family lived in an abandoned gas station. we lived without running water, we lived without electricity.
9:17 am
you know, sometimes we didn't have enough food to eat. and it was thanks to family and friends and my parents church and sometimes even the state and local government that we were able to make it through. it was kind of a combination of hard work and determination and help and support by those around you. that's how i was successful. >> sinema got her start in politics in 2004, when she ran for a seat in the arizona legislature. >> i had been a social worker in a low income community for many years. and i started going down to the capitol to lobby to try and help change state policies so we could create more opportunity, so people could actually move from poverty to self-sufficiency, find a job, get off their feet, not need help from the government any longer. and when i got to the state capitol i felt frustrated because i didn't think that many folks were looking at kind of innovation or change. so i thought, well i'll give it a shot. >> after serving in both
9:18 am
chambers of state legislature, sinema decided she wanted to change the face of congress. >> they seemed more interested in bickering than solving problems. and i thought, congress needs some more people who know how to get stuff done. and as a social worker that's been my job and as a member of the arizona state legislature, that was always my goal. so i thought maybe i could bring a little common sense and practicality. >> sinema was catapulted to the national spotlight during her campaign. as a member of the lgbt community, she is the first openly bisexual member of congress. but despite the attention, she says her sexual orientation doesn't matter. >> i've been out for many, many years. just nobody cares. i've served in arizona state legislature for about seven years and this is just not really an issue. i think people are most concerned about whether or not i'm serving their interests in my community as a public servant and so they want to know that i'm voting in their best economic interest and i'm taking action to help protect them and
9:19 am
their families and taking action for the future and they're just not interested in any of the social stuff. >> and her personal diversity represents the vast diversity of this new arizona district. >> it's an incredibly diverse district home to arizona state university, the largest university in the country which i'm honored and privileged to teach at as well. but also home to sunnyslope which is a community that i worked at when i was a social worker for nearly a decade. one of the most low-income communities in our community. we're also home to the biltmore, which is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the state. and so it's an incredibly diverse and rich district with seniors and anglos and latinos all of us together. and what i'm excited to do is learn about the deepest fabric of that district and try and represent all the corners of the district. >> sinema says she wants people to be self-sufficient, but she will work in congress to ensure her constituents get the support they need.
9:20 am
>> the number one priority i have is to help people feel that sense of economic security by creating jobs and creating a climate where jobs can flourish. so ensuring that high wage, high tech jobs come to our district, that they stay in our district and that we have an educated work force that is ready to take advantage of those jobs that we have tomorrow. >> is she the fay of tomorrow in american politic, is that not fitting the mold at all? >> someone who is diverse consultant to fortune 500 countries we'd call her triple minority, being openly gay, a women, she is face of tomorrow and yes congress does need her now. she's a little more progressive than i am since i am conservative. without that's what makes the world go around, diversity of voices. this lady she has a j.d., she has a phd and she was a social worker and she's first for
9:21 am
same-sex marriages she has the look of tomorrow. >> she's from a district, interesting to see her hold that seat i hope she does. but she barely got it. >> one of the last races called. >> and she from a university town, she's from a town and state which is becoming america and then some. i suspect that she is right that she did not get elected because of what makes her so distinctive in this white male preserve which i serve. it is still that even with the increasing diversity at least of the democratic caucus. with a really competitive seat, somebody who is very strategic about how she's climbed the ladder, this is one smart woman. >> your thoughts. you're not a fan --
9:22 am
>> no, no. has nothing to do with that. i could care less what her personal life, i find it interesting so much of that interview was about the fact she's bisexual even though she said nobody wants to talk about that. what matters what she does when she's in congress, how does she represent the people of her district. how does she stand for issues. my guess she's going to take a different position on many issues than i would want a member of congress to take, but nothing to do with her background. >> when she was in the state house she did a bill that passed for veterans to have in-state tuition. she's been from both sides. >> even eleanor does good things every once in awhile, okay? >> what i'm saying in general i don't think she's going to be -- >> for though come out and it's important for her to say this she's going to take care of the constituency that really needs taking care of. because i think we need to protect the rights of everybody whatever minority they belong to, whether it's a sexual minority or whether it's any other kind of minority. i think she's absolutely right
9:23 am
in pushing that line. >> another thing we haven't talked about, we mentioned it in the piece she is not a member -- the huffington post called her incorrectly she told me an atheist. she's not a member of a faith community. is that -- >> that is important to -- >> that would have been unheard of for somebody to get elected to congress. >> i feel -- i would hope she would feel about discussion of her views on religion the way she feels about discussion and views on her sexual preference. i don't know why anybody has -- if anybody asked me what my religion is. one of the problems is people wearing religion on their sleeve in poll particulars, i was shocked to even know that. i don't know anybody's religion in congress. >> going back to the constitution we have freedom of religion and freedom of choice.
9:24 am
i think it's great that she has -- >> i agree with you. >> thank you. she has that voice so we won't have people wearing the bible on their arm because as true christians you're not supposed to judge anyway. >> what about this, though, how can you campaign at church which a lot of politicians like to campaign which you don't belong to one. >> i think a lot of politicians a lot of different dab -- she's not been outside that community. if i'm not -- i think she went to bring ham young. >> she did. for her under grad. >> the university, right. i don't think she -- she mentioned in the interview her family church community helped them. doesn't sound like she's anti-because she has -- >> you can send out message of inclusion of humanity instead of giving out a message of religion because i think religion sometimes becomes exclusionary to my -- where as this way she can actually present a much
9:25 am
wider -- >> in same way that jew can go to christian church to give a message. >> or christian go to synagogue. >> she won't have any trouble. they know who she s. she got ejected what matters what she stands for and what she doesn't. >> wonderful. that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." please follow me on twitter #bonnieerbe and @tothecontrary and check our website,, where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time.
9:26 am
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a copy of "to the contrary" please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.
9:27 am
9:28 am
9:29 am