Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I can hardly write at all lately on any of the topics that really must be written about, talked about and fought over.  The veritable tsunami of misogynist legislation which has been plowing its way through state legislatures all across the United States has left me feeling paralyzed, speechless and powerless.
There was a time not so long ago when it would have been unthinkable for anyone, let alone an elected official in a state legislature, to directly compare women to farm livestock and to say without fear of censure that women - adult female human beings - do not deserve as much, and certainly not more, consideration or health care protection than cows and pigs.

I'd like to think that the Georgia horror must surely be the lowest point possible in this nightmare,  but in this new world order,  I am no longer confident that there is any level of vindictive cruelty too low to which those who wish to strip women of their humanity will sink.

Too bad she's not a fetus
The reality is that women are quite literally under an all-out attack right now. This is not the work of just a few "fringe" people with a religious agenda.  This is the final stage in a long, deliberate strategy by the religious right and its political wing, the Republican party, to roll back the rights gained so painfully by women in the last century. The strategy was to evangelize and mobilize a voting force to bring these Christian extremists to power,  and it has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Not only did they create a "base" of determined and loyal religious fanatics, but they gained the unstinting support of self-described "moderates" who were - and remain - only too happy to clasp hands with the fanatical fringe as long as their own privileged position in society appears to be protected.

In his book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges gives a chilling and detailed account of just how that strategy was implemented. Read it. The author was able to interview many of the principals. Their strategy has been so successful that by the time Hedges wrote the book, their success was so great that they did not attempt to hide the agenda any longer.  In fact, they took great pleasure and pride in telling the story of how they have managed to bring the country to its knees and have forced the United States into a Christian theocracy in every important sense.

One of the most potent weapons they used to win voters' support was women's reproductive rights. Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter with Kansas? describes in chilling detail how the religious right and the Republican party reframed the issue of abortion to their mutual benefit, and started (in earnest) the war on women which we are seeing approaching a starkly hateful climax this year.  The lie of calling most abortions the "killing" of "unborn babies" instead of the removal of blastocysts, embryos or zygotes (which is what abortion is in nearly 90% of cases) was the beginning of a campaign of fear, violent imagery and emotional manipulation of potential voters which has reaped a devastating toll on women's rights everywhere.

Back in 1998, Hillary Rodham Clinton was roundly ridiculed for saying that there was a "vast right-wing conspiracy".  She was correct then and she continues to be correct today.  In her opinion piece for the New York Times today, Maureen Dowd talks about the former presidential candidate's renewed vigor in the fight for protection of the rights and dignity of women.  It gives me some comfort to read an article like this.  Allison Yarrow  also has an excellent piece today on the rash of bills tabled by women representatives (and one man - Ted Celeste of Ohio - if only I still lived in Ohio, he would have my vote!) to highlight the absurdity and dangers of these anti-woman pieces of legislation.

I am going to work on further posts on this. For today, though, this is about all I have in me.

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