"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose," was the rallying cry for the fictional high school football teams of Dillon, Texas in the critically acclaimed drama Friday Night Lights. But when GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney co-opted the slogan for his campaign, FNL star Connie Britton and executive producer Sarah Aubrey couldn't stay silent. In a scathing editorial published in USA Today, the women argue that a Romney presidency would, effectively, screw over precisely the kind of people FNL portrayed in such compelling detail.
The op-ed posits a question, wondering what the women of Dillon might think of the Romney campaign's anti-choice platform — since pregnancy from rape doesn't happen that often anyway, right? — and his opposition to women getting equal pay for equal work.
"Dillon is a classic American town filled with hard-working, middle class Americans, who just want to lead productive, healthy lives," write Britton and Aubrey. "And the women we represented on the show — the women we are in real life — are like the millions of women across the national. Women who want to make our own health care decisions. Women who want to earn equal pay for the work we do. Women who want affordable health care."
"In fact, it is President Obama who has shown his values to be more closely aligned with those represented by the phrase," they women write, citing the president's signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which enabled Britton's character Tami Taylor to fight for equal wages no matter where she lived. Britton and Aubrey also mention the Affordable Care Act, highlighting that Romney wants to gut the health care reform that offered coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, many of whom were women.
"Romney actually wants to throw the entire law — and every benefit — out, and while he's at it, get rid of Planned Parenthood — the health care provider that nearly three million Americans rely on for their life-saving cancer screenings, well-woman visits and affordable birth control," Britton and Aubrey write. "Planned Parenthood was well represented on the show, too — Brian 'Smash' Williams' mom worked there, Tami got a pregnancy test there, and after being abandoned by her parents, Becky Sproles was able to get a safe and legal abortion there."
The op-ed comes just after FNL creator Peter Berg's charge that the Romney campaign committed plagiarism by using the slogan for a campaign that is "clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in [the] series."
In closing, Britton and Aubrey ask women to take back the phrase "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts," using it "as it was always intended — as a motivator for progress, power, and greatness. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to vote early. Let's use our clear eyes and full hearts to tell every friend, family member and neighbor about what's at stake for women in this election. What's at stake for all of us."