Kiss Me, I’m Sexist

No better gender equality battle cry exists than “Women’s rights are human rights.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose paternal family roots run deep in Scranton and who should be president, spoke those mighty words. Now Hillary’s hubby Bill is headed to Scranton as featured speaker at Saturday’s annual all-male Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Lackawanna County dinner.

Unless the fat cats who run this paternalistic organization have officially changed their set-in-Stone-Age rules — and I have no reason to believe they have — no women need apply for a seat in the packed Scranton Cultural Center audience of white men who call the business, political and other societal shots in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Just in case the Friendly Sons did end their century-plus oppression, I left detailed questions in a telephone message for Friendly Sons’ president Daniel P. Haggerty, Esq., owner and president of PMJ Mergers in Clarks Summit. As has been the case in past years when I submitted questions to a smug Friendly Sons’ president, Haggerty failed to return my call. Looks like the local clan still believes a woman’s place is where they tell her it is.

Former President Bill Clinton’s appearance will further validate their cruel prejudice.

To achieve any real progress in Scranton, women must enjoy the same opportunity to buy a ticket and attend the dinner as men who network, hobnob and make cultural connections among privileged powerbroker colleagues who make life harder for women to succeed here in hard coal country and around the world.

Unlike women political candidates blackballed from the dinner who seek votes and campaign contributions, frequent dinner guests U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright will be free to work the room as established public servants up for re-election. They will also tout their role as good soldiers in the American war machine, defense contractor fixers complicit in the continuing slaughter of Gazan women who die in the firestorm of publicly-funded and donated American-produced Israeli bombs. Many of those shells are made at the General Dynamics ammunition plant right here in Scranton.

Palestinian women deserve human rights, too. But neither Clinton, Casey, Cartwright nor President Joe Biden is calling for a permanent ceasefire and an end to Israeli occupation that has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians since October 7 — 70 percent of whom were women and girls. These men’s support for genocide helped exterminate those women’s and girls’ future.

As one of the architects of Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace agreement (Hillary, too, shares in that historic accomplishment) Bill Clinton understands as well as anyone the importance of fighting for civil and human rights.

Yet, he, the Friendly Sons and their confidently-Caucasian Democratic Party allies work diligently to deceive women voters of all races into believing they’re all staunch equal rights defenders. Biden has addressed the annual dinner three times in the past and is counting on his bigoted brothers to help re-elect him in November. Democrats dismiss the value of women voters, rejecting the idea they might not cast a ballot for Biden if they can’t buy a ticket to the hooley just because they’re women. Women who vote and women who don’t vote will decide Biden’s political fate.

With Biden publicly disrespecting women and sanctioning their exclusion in his hallowed birthplace, Democratic mourners can blame him for digging his own political grave. Biden’s fawning women supporters help him dig the hole. Women who give their tacit approval to this time-dishonored tradition of ostracism are doing Biden far more harm than good. Glass ceiling breakers among them aren’t doing themselves any favors either.

In 2021 the ruling lads invited Scranton’s first woman mayor, Paige Gebhardt Cognetti, to be the first woman to address the dinner — but only via the internet in a virtual celebration hastily arranged in the aftermath of COVID. Cognetti again offered remarks at the 2022 dinner where she failed to ask for parity for her sisters in the city she’s paid to serve — and I don’t mean ham, cabbage and potatoes.

A donnybrook erupted last year when Cognetti and a county woman judge complained they got high-hatted, cavalierly brushed off the 2023 guest list. In return, the boys whined that Cognetti turned them down after publicly accusing them of rejecting her, receiving a grudging and insincere last-minute invite and then embarrassing the high-and-mighty green gang in the press. The woman judge didn’t show up at the stag party either.

Last week I emailed Mayor Cognetti about the upcoming shenanigan:

“Have you been invited to the cocktail party and/or dinner?”

“If you have been or are invited, do you plan to attend the cocktail party and/or dinner?”

“Will women across the board be afforded an equal opportunity to buy tickets and attend the traditionally all-male dinner the same way men are given the chance to buy tickets and attend the event?”

“Will you attend the cocktail party and/or dinner if the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Lackawanna County hierarchy excludes other women as guests at the cocktail party and/or dinner?”

“If you speak at the dinner will you address the matter of gender segregation the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Lackawanna County has perpetuated for well over a century?”

The Mayor’s response?

“I have been invited to this year’s dinner and will be giving welcome remarks as the Mayor of Scranton traditionally has done,” she wrote in an email that danced a jig around a cogent explanation.

Knowing Harvard Business School graduate Cognetti can do better than that, I sent another email.

“Will other women be allowed to attend the dinner? If not, should women across the board be given the same opportunity as you to attend the dinner?”

The Mayor’s answer?

“I am invited as and attend the dinner as the Mayor of Scranton, representing the city and my position,” she said in another fuzzy email.

In Scranton it’s every woman for herself.

Cognetti understands how crucial this drunken macho black tie bash is to garnering support for Biden’s re-election campaign. Nobody is more on board than Cognetti who accepted Biden’s April invitation to travel with him to Ireland (joined by mercenary partisan female fundraiser and Democratic National Committee Treasurer Virginia Doherty McGregor and her husband who live in Biden’s old lace curtain Scranton neighborhood).

If America’s women voters believe Democratic Party chieftains respect and fight for women’s rights, they haven’t paid attention to the shameless continuing segregation in Scranton where women remain second-class citizens.

Man up, fellas.

Time to do big boy things.

Speaking of children, the Friendly Sons are the same guys who will welcome to the head table Saturday a Michigan Roman Catholic bishop and Scranton native who will faithfully bless the men in this sad and sordid city where the current bishop should have been defrocked decades ago for covering up child sex crimes by pervert priests in his diocese.

Sure and begorrah, ’tis a great day for testosterone.