When you discover that Rand Paul on a Stick is for sale in Paul's official campaign store, you pretty much have to buy a 12-pack, whether you feel comfortable financially supporting his campaign or not (hopefully my $40 doesn't sway the vote too much). Once Paul arrived in the mail, I decided to give him the grand tour of New York, including the city's monuments dedicated to influential and heroic women (of which there are far too few). Paul has spoken out about his feelings on gender equality and reproductive rights many times, so I knew he'd have a lot to say while taking in the feminist sites.
Paul, being from Kentucky, was a little overwhelmed by the big city. After grabbing a hot dog in Central Park and perusing the modern art section of the Met (Paul on a Stick said art created before America was a country isn't worth his time), our "women of New York tour" began. Paul wanted his picture taken with each monument, revealing how pro-woman he is, and since he hasn't yet mastered the selfie, I stood in as the photographer for the day.
Here's what Paul had to say while seeing New York's female-centric monuments.
Sara D. Roosevelt Park
This park is dedicated to the philanthropist and mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Rand said: "This whole sort of war on women thing? I’m scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won."
Josephine Shaw Lowell Fountain
The first New York City monument honoring a woman, this fountain is dedicated to the social worker and reformer.
Rand said: "You know, I don't see so much that women are downtrodden; I see women rising up and doing great things. And, in fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women really are outcompeting the men in our world."
The statue of Gertrude Stein
This pays tribute to the influential author and arts patron.
Rand said: "And, you know, like I say, I have a lot of successful women in my family and I don't hear them saying, 'Oh, woe is me. This terrible, you know, misogynist world.' They look out and they're conquering the world."
The Joan of Arc Memorial
It's dedicated to the French heroine and martyr who helped liberate the French from English rule in the 15th century.
Rand said: "I think I've been universally short-tempered with both male and female reporters. I'll own up to that. I'll have to get better at holding my tongue and holding my temper. But I think it's pretty equal-opportunity."
The Eleanor Roosevelt Monument
This honors the legendary First Lady and humanitarian. Since Hillary Clinton was present for the dedication of the statue as First Lady, Rand and I began chatting about his opponent.
Rand said: "I would treat her with the same respect I would a man, but I wouldn’t lay down and say, ‘I’m not going to respond.’ That would be a sexist response, to say: ‘Oh, my goodness, she deserves to be treated less aggressively because she’s only a woman.’ I would never say that about anybody."
The Carnegie Playground
This is dedicated to Margaret Carnegie, a leading advocate for public housing in New York.
Rand said: "We need to be telling kids 'don't have kids until you're married.' It's your best chance to get in the middle class is not to have kids. There's all kinds of ways, and we can debate...but there are all kinds of ways to stop having kids."
The Brown Building
The Brown Building was home to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed more than 100 female garment workers in 1911. Standing in front of the iconic building, we discussed the wage gap between men and women.
Rand said: "Everybody gets to vote, and it's voluntary. Everybody votes, and the marketplace decides what wages are. No one person does. The minute you set up a fairness czar to determine what wages are, you give away freedom. When you give that power to someone to make decisions, they may well discriminate in favor of whoever they want to discriminate in favor of. The market just makes decisions on your ability to do your job."
Images: Lauren Holter (8)