Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sexual Politics and The Republican Agenda for Your Reproductive Freedom

I've been avoiding writing this because it's painful. I'm old and my reproductive capacity is long past done. I have my public option. I have plain old Medicare. No Advantage Plan needed, thank you. But you have a shaky economy, a ruinous mortgage, a job that might be downsized, the fear of losing your crappy health insurance, rising interest rates on your credit cards and the knowledge that you are living beyond your means. What would an unplanned pregnancy do to your life, male or female? I don't think it's dawned on many of you that you're losing your rights day by day. And last Saturday, while many of you were given a glimmer of hope that you might someday be able to chose a public option like Medicare, your reproductive freedom was stripped from you in the Stupak Amendment. Why did it happen? Why are you silent?

I hear people claim that they are pro-life who see no cognitive dissonance in their passionate support for the death penalty. These people sound batshit crazy to me yet they claim to be Christians of one sort or another and always patriarchal and authoritarian. I'm an atheist and I care more about the poor and the homeless, the mentally ill, the hungry and often neglected children living in single parent households with incomes below the poverty line, and desperate mothers with two minimum wage jobs than most of these "Christian" people who want to force you or your sister or girlfriend or wife to carry to term an unplanned or medically disastrous pregnancy.

Republicans claim to be all about small government, yet they want to legislate and restrict your access to reproductive health care other than the birth of a child should you get pregnant. They don't want any health insurance plan to cover women's pelvic exams, or birth control, yet Viagra is all good and a birthright for all men. Oh yes, the penis is that important, but the uterus's only politically important function is housing and feeding a fetus that must be born no matter what. The Christian Right Wing of the Republican party's agenda is to control women's bodies. To think otherwise is naive and uninformed.

My mother was a pioneering second wave feminist. I paid attention to the lessons she was passing on to other women. And one of the most important lessons of that feminist generation was that you have control of your own body and that includes your uterus. Those women insisted that words are important and white men in positions of power, in the guise of religion and knowing better than you, "little lady," what's best for you, work very hard to keep you down. They use words to marginalize and ignore you. My mother's generation of feminists fought hard for the change in abortion laws that Row v Wade brought to all of us. One of the battles they fought was for equal rights in the work place. They fought for an end to sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. And all along the way white men like Rush Limbaugh called them names like Feminazis. And conservatives pushed back at every point until our progress stalled and then began to move backwards. We still only make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work.

And slowly over time I heard younger women say, "I'm all for equality for women, but I'm not a feminist." That's when you began to give away your power. You allowed feminism to become a dirty word. Well, your power's gone now. Good luck getting it back. But I have a clue for you when looking for your lost human rights. Look at the roster of old white men who make the laws that govern us all. Look at the frat house that calls itself a church. Look at the members of the Family, the C Street old boys club of powerful and rich men who think the rules don't apply to them, but only to you. That's where you'll find your lost freedom. Now do something about it. Organize, mobilize, become activists. Take your power back. Become your own community organizer, network, be proud to be called feminists.


Fran said...

It was a good pep talk, it really was. But I am tired of this bullshit. In what sector but the Government would this taking of the money on an issue to be voted upon be acceptable?
Votes are being bought & sold, right out there in the light of day.
Not even remotely ethical.... more like prostitution, and the biggest one to step up now is Lieberman.
He was not important in all this fiasco, but now, announcing he's all for the filibuster.... is he just posturing to see how much $ the wealthcare lobby will stuff in his pockets to buy his vote?
All this while Obama ponders sending a surge of troops to Afghanistan.... ill advised by Bush military advisors.
I am sick sick sick of all this crap.

Got any change, my friend?

I need change I can believe in.

PENolan said...

I'm feeling utterly defeated myself. I can see why the Weathermen thought it was a good idea to blow things up even though that didn't seem to work either.
Everywhere you look, this system is crushingly oppressive. I still have hope for the future, just not in my lifetime.

Suzan said...

Thank you, sweetheart. From an old SDS'er.

I've been screaming about this at the top of my lungs for the last 15 years since these rights were beginning to be given back en masse as demanded by the Gingrich-inspired thugs in Congress after the '94 election. And the Dims hardly thought them worth fighting for.

After that, there has been very little new news on this front.

Again, thanks from the depths of my gratitude.


Randal Graves said...

I just hope you're not one of those liberal feminists, those are the worst, like gay Muslim Nazi communists.

Good luck getting anything through an already-bought-and-paid-for Congress made up mostly of millionaire cracker dudes.

Utah Savage said...

Well gang, I think we need a revolution. But where are the young revolutionaries? I fought all this shit in the 60s. Now we need to start over but the only ones who realize it are the oldsters.

PENolan said...

Utah - that is exactly right. One of the best things about Velvet is that is smack dab in the middle of the demographic most likely to storm the mall in DC. They are bursting with energy and confidence.

I'm sure we'll be discussing it when he's here at Thanksgiving. The sociopolitical reality in America today may be enough to send me to bed for weeks, but I can get up long enough to cook and write checks.

Liberality said...

It's like the dark ages are rolling back in and it's thanks to religion and greed.

More feminist revolution please!

Dave Dubya said...


Younger folks are beginning to catch on to the "eternal vigilance" of defending our freedom. They'd better get on board and understand freedom is not a gift and needs to be fought for.

As the movie characters say, "I'm getting too old for this", before getting up and getting back to the mission.

Jillian, Inc said...

ha! Love ya - just found ya. I am a life-long Republican but would never call myself a "conservative"...not sure why or how those two things always seem to go hand-in-hand. I could care less if people are gay, straight or otherwise inclined. I had my fill of The Church about 5 years ago, though I do admit I shamelessly watch QVC, HSN and any religious church service on TV to sharpen my sales skills. All of the very worst things in the history of Earth have been done in the name of religion.