Last night the House of Representatives passed comprehensive health care reform, and this morning the liberal interwebz are all a-twitter with happy, giddy, messages. We finally passed something! Yay for Obama! Yay for progressives! I get that response, and I really, really, REALLY wish it were my own. Because I am so glad that this legislation gives coverage to so many more people, and puts in place truly important reforms on the insurance industry, and safeguards the health of millions of children. I really am glad about that.
But I just can’t quite get to my happy place, because this important, historic legislation was made possible only by throwing reproductive choice under the proverbial bus. While the Stupak amendment didn’t make it into the bill, the Nelson compromise did, and that is bad, bad news for anyone who cares about reproductive rights. So while I would love to be doing happy dances of joy about passing health care reform, I find that what I really am is angry. I’m angry that Democratic legislators and presidents are so willing to cave on this issue, that it so easily becomes a bargaining chip. I’m angry at being made to feel a spoilsport for not being able to “look past” the choice issue to see the bigger picture. I’m angry that the choice issue isn’t a part of the bigger picture. I’m pissed that reproductive rights were compromised for something that falls far short of universal coverage. I’m really goddamn angry that Senators Nelson and Stupak think it’s any of their fucking business what I decide to do with my body. I’m unbelievably angry that this new legislation enshrines wealthy privilege by making it nearly impossible for any but the moneyed classes to get abortion coverage. But most of all, I’m angry that I don’t get to be joyful about this moment in history. I have great capacity for joy, y’all. I do. And I’m not trying to be sanctimonious about this – I know that many of you reading this share my discomfort with the restrictions on reproductive health, and are managing to be happy about this legislation anyway. And maybe as the days go by, I’ll get there, too. But this morning I’m just angry … and wishing I could look forward to a time when women’s bodies weren’t casualties in the battle for “greater” progressive gains.
Posted onSeptember 22, 2009|Comments Off on Preventing sexual assault: Tips guaranteed to work!
Please distribute this list. Put it up in your place of work, in your university’s library or wherever you think they might be read:
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
My friend J.B., father and longtime Democratic operative, is sending his kids to school tomorrow with the following permission slip:
“Despite the warnings of right-wing radio hosts, and fully cognizant that my daughter risks learning a lesson in civics, I, nonetheless, grant her permission to watch a televised address by the duly-elected leader of these United States, President Barack Obama, on the controversial subject of the importance of school.”
I so wish my kids were old enough that I could steal this for them.
Posted onJanuary 21, 2009|Comments Off on This is the kind of thing that can make a squab come over all patriotic
If you haven’t seen this video of Bruce Springsteen, 89-year-old Pete Seeger and Seeger’s grandson leading hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall in “This Land is Your Land,” you really need to watch it right now. It’s my favorite inaugural moment – first, because Pete Seeger is one of my personal heroes, second because I grew up singing this song at school, in church, at home and at political rallies, and third because they sing ALL the verses, and if you aren’t familiar with the lyrics, let me tell you, it is one pinko commie leftist subversive song, and you know I mean that as the highest praise. Really, watch: it will make you feel all warm inside.
4. Itcannot be easy to play a stringed instrument in that kind of cold weather.
5. It is hard to concentrate on Obama’s speech when you have a toddler in the background repeating “watch Sesame Street? Elmo dinosaur?” over and over and OVER. Christ, kid. Appreciate the historic moment.
So, not to rain on anyone’s parade, but how ’bout those shitty election outcomes all over the country? Yeah, I know – Obama’s election is huge, and it really did make me very extremely happy, and I’m hopeful about the presidency for the first time in a long time. BUT. WTF, California? Why you gotta hate on the lesbians and gays? What have they ever done to you, other than inject absolute SCADS of money into your state’s economy? And locally, I admit being completely unable to comprehend the reelection of Michele Bachmann, Erik Paulsen, and (possibly, but please Maude no) Norm Coleman. What the hell kind of blue state sends people like that to the nation’s capital?
Honestly, I don’t want to harsh anyone’s buzz – it’s important to celebrate Obama’s ascendancy. I get that. But I just hope that we don’t forget that, for all that Obama might make it possible to not be embarrassed to be an American again, there’s still a whole lotta fucked up shit around this country. A lot of racism, and homophobia, and sexism, and general ignorance and hatefulness and criminal ineptitude. Which is just to say … yeah, let’s enjoy the moment, but hoo, there’s still a whole lotta work to be done.