Tampa Bay strip clubs are gearing up for the Republican National Convention in August. It’s an exciting opportunity for club owners because as Angelina Spencer of the Association of Club Executives told the New York Times, Republicans drop a lot of money on strippers–three times as much per person as Democrats do. One of Tampa’s clubs, Three Doll House, is even bringing in a Sarah Palin lookalike to give lap-dances to conventioneers. Now how exciting is that? The delegates can’t have Sarah Palin in person at the convention, but they can discharge their fantasies, so to speak, on a freshly imported stripper who, by all accounts, is younger and prettier than Palin anyway.
I suppose it is nice to know that there are women whom Republicans care about and whom they will attempt to keep employed, but how many GOPers are going to look past the bare flesh in front of their eyes to see the real woman? How many will wonder what her life is like, and why she took the job as stripper? For instance, there’s 19 year-old Jazmin at the 2001 Odyssey, where a private V.I.P. room called The Spaceship sits atop the club (made out of a 1971 Futuro Modular Home). Jazmin lost her job in the Medicaid billing industry, so she went to work as a grocery store cashier. Unfortunately, her paycheck barely covered her car payment so, in order to pay her bills and save for an education as a nurse, she became a stripper.
What if the GOP cared enough about Jazmin to offer her and other American workers with a living wage for the honest work they do? Or to guarantee them adequate financial assistance for an education? The minimum wage in this country has only been raised three times in the last 30 years. In some states, like Arizona and Florida, Republicans have recently sponsored legislation to actually lower the minimum wage. On Thursday, over 100 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill to increase the wage nationally from $7.25 to $9.80. This would be the first increase in three years–but we all know how far that will get in the Republican-controlled House. It doesn’t matter a bit that public opinion is overwhelmingly supportive of the change.
As for financial aid for college students, the GOP embraced a budget proposal earlier this year that would cut Pell Grants by 15% and make nearly 2,000,000 students ineligible for the grants. They’ve done everything they can to gut funding for public education while supporting for-profit institutions that have abysmal graduation rates–money-making mills that have little-to-nothing to do with an actual education.
So, enjoy your lap-dances, GOP conventioneers. If you’re lucky, it won’t occur to any financially strapped dancers that the least they could do is spit in your drinks–but I wouldn’t count on it.