Friday, March 4, 2011

A Brief Venting and Serious Thoughts

This was going to be a venting statement piece about the “war on women” the radical reactionary right has been waging on women in state legislatures across the land and in the U.S. House of Representatives. I held off publishing out of concern that it was too over the top and the point would be lost.  Then the heart of my anger, frustration and distress crystallized as I watched hearing replays on C-SPAN.  The hearings were held in the House Committee on Appropriations with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen and in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Secretary Clinton. ((  To get a view of statesmanship go to the last 15 minutes of Clinton hearing-bravo Lugar Corker and Clinton, and for a view of vacuous political posturing, watch segments of questioning by Rubio and DeMint.))

What hit more clearly than my brain has allowed to this point, is how messed up the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the complexity of decisions on who, what, when and how with respect to U.S. action in relation to the revolutions in the Mideast and North Africa. I have grasped the seriousness of the threat to middle class regular American people of the assaults on workers rights and budget cuts that will affect millions of us in favor of concentrating yet more wealth and power in the few hands that already have far too much. I have grasped the seriousness of the proposed pieces of legislation focused on oppressing women and the incredibly frightening proposals in South Dakota and Iowa to make it legal to use deadly force (i.e. killing) against doctors and healthcare workers to protect a fetus. I for sure get the seriousness of GOP efforts to re-define rape. PLEASE! 

I do need to include just one paragraph here to call for as much focus on penises and testicles as has been put on uteri and vaginas and suggest proposals that are well within the logic followed by the radical right. Let’s pass a testosterone tax to make up for the $300 billion (yes billion according to Mike Huckabee) we pay to support the children that roving inseminators sire but do not support, the $177 billion cost of healthcare to adult rape and domestic assault victims and the $75 billion it costs for state and federal inmates every year. Note that the FY11 estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $170.7 billion. While tongue-in-cheek proposals to ban males under 50 from the streets after dark, and to make high pitched tenors out of roving inseminators are good rants for my feminist soul—we really do have way bigger matters that we must attend to and it will take every bit of knowledge and energy every good citizen can muster.

The heart of the matter is that the most of the GOP are, like Nero, fiddling while Rome burns, and  the heart of my frustration, in addition to being damn tired of 30+ years of having to defend basic human rights is that women and human rights activists must yet again focus energy, money and effort on beating back these vicious and ill-conceived pieces of legislation that do nothing to solve our real problems, but do re-ignite divisive cultural wars, stoke fear and drive us apart when we so desperately need to come together, inform ourselves and resolve to act.

We must find agreement on measures that; have tangible impact on employment growth, keep people from starving or freezing to death in this land of plenty, decrease the national debt that threatens our strength now and our children’s future, measures that intervene in climate change which is bringing more severe weather-no matter the causes, and measures that get us out of the interminable conflicts in the Mideast.

Believe me when I say that I did not think I would find any Republican this dyed in wool Democrat would thank, but I did find them and I did thank Lugar and Corker via email. A small gesture, but if we can all do this (including Republicans who will thank Democrats) it will be as the final lines of Marge Piercy’s poem The low Road. “It goes on one at a time, it starts when you care to act, it starts when you do it again after they said no, it starts when you say We and you know who you mean, and each day you mean one more.

So come on people now, get engaged, get informed and for the love of your family, friends and country call your elected representatives and tell them to focus on the problems that need solving, not on things that scapegoat, that rile us up, that trade on our fear, and that drive the wedge that is already too deep in the fabric of our Republic only deeper.