an open letter to Rick Santorum

Dear Rick,

With all due respect, sir, shut up already. No, really. You are suffering, mightily, from foot-in-mouth disease, and really, all you’re doing is making yourself, and your party, look ridiculous.

It was bad when you backed the personhood amendment idea. Okay, I get that you’re Catholic, but other people aren’t. And okay, I get that you’re anti-abortion. Funnily enough, as a pro-choice woman, I am too. I think abortions should be rare as birds’ teeth.  But until your party is willing to support those women whom you would refuse abortions (with things like parental leave, welfare benefits that actually allow someone to get off them without still being in poverty, child care subsidies, etc), the fact is, we aren’t going to stop them by fiat. Even if abortion is illegal, desperate women will still have them, safe or no. And rich women will just fly off to countries where their autonomy is respected. And there are, sadly, girls in this world who are far too young to be mothers who are victimized by the very people who are supposed to protect them…or who are raped (and no, a baby is not God’s way of making up for being raped, as you seem to imply), and you want to force those girls to spend 9 months carrying that reminder, being traumatized and victimized every single day for nearly a year? Shame on you.

And never mind that study after study shows that when people have access to contraception, those abortions you are so incredibly worried about go down. WAY down. Oh no. You’d like states to be able to ban contraception, too. Are you kidding me? Are you really trying to argue that if people don’t have access to abortions, or contraception, they’ll somehow simply stop having sex? How many kids do you have? DId you only have sex once for each? I’m guessing not. Sex feels good…that’s nature’s way of making sure we procreate. But in a world that has too many people already, you pull out Nancy Reagan’s old canard of ‘just say no’. That someone who wants to be president of this country (which I adore as much as you, by the way, so no pulling out the ‘you’re unpatriotic if you don’t agree with me’ card) is so clueless about human nature defies belief.

But now you’re going after schools, and not only are your ideas just plain silly, but you’re flat out wrong, wrong, wrong. Schools did not start with the Industrial Revolution. In fact, children worked right alongside their parents in those factories, because they were smaller and could get inside machines, and they were cheaper. The first child labor laws were a joke, and continued to remain a joke well into the latter half of the 19th century. Oh, and by the way…the Industrial Revolution started at the end of the 18th century. You’re off by about 100 years, you know.  Schools in other parts of the world are better, I’ll grant you. And you know why? Because they teach, not to some fill-in-the-bubble test that studies have shown prove absolutely nothing about what someone has learned (beyond how to fill in bubbles), but actual things. You know, like how to think. But then again, you don’t really want people to think, do you?

And about that ‘colleges are indoctrination factories’ bit you’re throwing around now…Rick, dude, that’s just pathetic. As someone with 2 bachelors’ degrees, and a masters and PhD in History, I’ve been in a lot of college. Not once, ever, did I have anyone try to indoctrinate me into being liberal. That happened because I learned how to read critically and think even more critically. I learned how to look at the primary sources (letters and such) and figure out what actually was said.

Oh, wait. That’s exactly what you mean about indoctrination. People who can think critically will actually pick apart what you said, and realize you’re an idiot. I get it now.

Happy campaigning, and i hope you won’t hold it against me when I say that I am praying that you will either drop out, or lose to Obama. I’ve got my issues with him, too, but at least the man understands history. I feel sorry for your kids if you do indeed home-school them. It’s pretty clear they’ll have a hugely distorted view of our nation’s history.

Sincerely,

Melissa

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

what rough beast, its hour come at last?

Over the last year or so, there has been an assault on women I have not seen in all my 43 years of being on this planet, one that has intensified since 2012 rolled around. This is not to say that there haven’t been moments: I remember my mother crying in frustration when it was clear that the ERA was not going to pass in the 70s. I remember in the 80s when the Moral Majority railed about women being out of the home and into the workplace, and the horrible damage it did to the American family. I remember the 90s, where one White House intern’s affair with the president raised, for a brief moment, yet another conversation about whether women should ever be president.

But damn. Maybe it’s because I’m paying more attention, but I don’t think so. Personhood amendments which would not only outlaw abortion (and whatever you think about abortion, Roe v. Wade is still the law, and they are still legal), but possibly some forms of birth control, and require law enforcement to investigate every single loss of pregnancy — and by that, I mean miscarriages — to make sure the woman did nothing to cause the loss of her fetus.  Women could go to jail for, say, not wearing their seatbelts, or falling down stairs. The fetus would have more rights than the woman herself would.  Come on, even Mississippi turned it down…yet the Virginia legislature passed it.  And refused to consider an amendment to it that would make sure birth control was still available.

And even birth control is under fire from some corners of the political sphere. Rick Santorum, a contender for the presidency of the country, claiming that birth control is immoral, and that the states should have the right to ban it if they so choose.  Very wealthy white men joking on national cable networks that aspirin prevents pregnancy (and then completely not understanding at all why people don’t think it’s funny).  And then there’s those transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in Virginia…ultrasounds they cannot refuse, which amounts to state-sponsored rape (Virginia law says that insertion of an inanimate object without consent is rape) and when asked why it shouldn’t be considered rape, one legislator basically said that if a woman allowed a penis into her vagina, she doesn’t have a right to refuse entrance to anything else. Even my teenager could see through that one…she asked me ‘but what if the woman was raped?’. yes, indeed. What if the woman was raped…can she then refuse the ultrasound because she didn’t consent to something being in her vagina before the vaginal probe?  In Pennsylvania, a law is making its way thru the legislature that would require women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound, and to hear the fetal heartbeat. And then be given a copy of the ultrasound and wait 24 hours before going ahead with the procedure.

There have been calls to boycott the Girl Scouts because they don’t require a pledge of religious affiliation, and because some troops have opened their doors to transgirls.

I don’t think these attempts to regulate abortion, or birth control, or condemning the Girl Scouts are about those things at all. They are about controlling women. If we cannot control our fertility, it becomes okay to require us to go back home and just keep having more children. We don’t need to be educated (well, a little, but certainly not as much as men) to do that. If someone screams that Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts are godless, liberal, socialist…remember that they are not actually screaming about that. What they are screaming about, out of sheer fear, is that women are actually equal human beings. That they have a right, a fundamental right, to autonomy and body integrity, and all sorts of things that these people fear. Regulating the uterus, and screaming for defunding organizations that teach women that they matter, that they have rights, that they are equal, is a fear reaction.

And my question to them is: what are you so horribly afraid OF?

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 10:49 am  Comments (4)