I don’t often talk about politics. I try not to wear my beliefs or anything else like that on my sleeve or publish it on my blog. This post will be the rare exception to the rule. I hope those of you who are regular readers, especially those who re more than a little sick of all the political din will at least hear me out. It’s important, no matter who you vote for, which I personally believe should be according to one’s conscience.
Recently, in this present election cycle, there have been certain politicians who have said things about women and women’s issues that have me more than a little concerned. First we had the candidate for the Senate, Todd Akin (R-MO) make some sort of claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” What exactly is a “legitmate rape” vs. an “illegitimate” one? No one has been able to answer that one for me yet.
Then within the last couple of weeks, some other dim bulb by the name of Mourdock quips, “….I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”
Seriously. What is wrong with these people? Have the last fifty years in women’s rights not taught us anything? Did our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and colleagues that bravely went before us fight for nothing? Is it really inevitable that women will never truly attain equality? Was all the progress we made in the sixties and seventies and even into the eighties with regard to civil rights for everyone in vain? Why are there still small pockets of people, mostly corporate plutocrats, who honestly believe that women, minorities and those of different sexual orientation are somehow inferior? Thank the Gods for a generation who mostly know that all the rhetoric and cited scripture or legal precedent used to discriminate against others is just flat out wrong.
I do not and cannot share the belief that any Creator of any credibility whatsoever would ever approve of the heinous crime of rape. You can couch it and rephrase it any way that you like in order to soften it, but it really boils down to an act of violence against a woman is committed. And according to these men’s’ personal religious beliefs, she should be required to give birth if she is unfortunate enough to become pregnant as a result. This of course goes to an even deeper issue that women are somehow not people, or they are of less value or violence against them can be ultimately excused or hushed up or even discounted. If a man raped another man and could potentially become pregnant, do you think the reaction to the situation would be any different?
Not on your life!
Many politicians within the GOP keep abdicating responsibility for acceptable social behaviour and passing it off onto their religious beliefs. There is a holier-than-thou false morality that seems to want to turn back the clock to the 1950’s. They acre continually trying to push for it as if somehow, if we can just manage to get the genie on women’s issues back into the bottle, then everything will be so much better socially and economically!
To that I say, “Bullshit!”
These people don’t (or won’t) ever say it out loud, but it is really quite clear that they would rather that women would mostly be back home, in front of the stove, taking care of the kids and accepting whatever hand that the men in various positions within her sphere want to deal her. Really when you look at the rhetoric that is being espoused on the campaign trail, some of it may as well have been a statement made by the Taliban. To my mind, there is really very little difference between the Talibn and what I not-so-lovingly refer to as the ‘Christoban’.
In past elections, I always made my voting decisions along the lines of the things that politicians did with regard to First Nations / Indigenous issues. It is something that I grew up with my whole life. I cut my teeth on the Mohawk Nation’s paper, Akwasasne Notes and also the Cherokee Advocate. I was reading those sorts of “radical rags” from age 9 onward. I watched what was happening then, and I remember the riots and the siege at Wounded Knee II. Seeing the perspective outside of mainstream media was deeply ingrained in me long ago. Civil rights for everyone is an issue that cuts deep within me. I am always shocked when people from my generation or in the rare instance, of those who are younger, act as if these things should somehow be up for debate. I was raised within a culture that is largely matrifocal and matrilineal. No man or woman can be Chief within the Nation without the approval of the Clan Mothers and the Grandmothers, and they can remove him or her if they feel that he or she has betrayed the People. To my mind, that is the way it should be. If we had that sort of checks and balances in place, we might not have half the issues that we do right now in the realm of politics. No doubt certain people would never hold public office!
As a woman, and a divorced, single mother, things are tough enough without some men in public office, many of whom make many times over what I have made in the last ten years, deciding whether or not I am “worthy” to be able to choose for myself what I can do with my own body, whether or not I can see to my healthcare through an organization like Planned Parenthood, who not only provide birth control, but also preventative care for women of all ages, including mammograms, pap smears, and other preventative care. As a woman I am also deeply concerned that my child, now an adult, will get to stay on my healthcare plan, and that he can finish his education and I can finish mine. I cannot fathom how in the 21st Century we are even entertaining the possibility that these same men could potentially take away many of the choices that we women have taken for granted for at least the last 30 years.
This year, when I cast my ballot. I will have made certain to take a look at the voting record on how every politician voted and introduced legislation not only for Indigenous First Nations issues, but also with regard to women’s, LGBT, student, the poor and all other forms of civil rights. I would encourage everyone, if they have a bit of time, to do at least a little research in that area and make sure the candidate of your choice really does have your best interests at heart, or if they are just conveying a message that they hope will be just enough to get them elected.