Jon Stewart would concur), and also because I've been dealing with a health crisis that is particular to women, and which is, sadly, becoming more common in the U.S. every year. The side effect of the crisis is that I'm much more sensitive to my status as a woman, as well as to the drastic failings inherent in the U.S. healthcare system. As if this were not rough enough, Rush Limbaugh and his posse of social conservatives have now awakened me to the fact that, really, I'm not a person at all: I'm just a receptacle for Rush' desire to watch porn online, and for the Tea Party's desire to poke me with foreign instruments for my perceived moral failings.
I'm referring, of course, to Limbaugh's recent rant about Sandra Fluke's appearance before Congress in support of private insurance-funded birth control, and to the recent attempt to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortion in my native state - er, Commonwealth - of Virginia.
Limbaugh is not alone, BTW. He was followed quickly by fellow bully Bill O'Reilly, who repeated the fallacy that Fluke's request for support from private healthcare was the equivalent of stealing O'Reilly's 1-percenter money. And Virginia, of course, is not the lone state (although it may be the lone Commonwealth) to try to stick things in women's private parts as punishment for wanting an abortion.
Both situations have blown the covers off the motivations of the social conservative movement, which pretends to want government out of our lives. Turns out that the pesky government is only a problem when it comes to money. Government intervention is fine when it comes to things like religion and sex. And, of course, when it comes to things like religion and sex, women are not fellow travelers on the path of life. They are the enemy.
There is a part of me that's cheering this reset in political discourse, because it's having the effect I want: it's pissing off women, who make up more than half of the electorate. Those of us who are under 50 don't understand why issues like contraception are even part of the dialog: in our minds, our rights to these things were settled long ago. However, older and wiser women are nodding their heads - they remember what it was like to fight, and they know that, in all likelihood, we are going to have to fight again. As the mother of a teenage daughter, I am taking heed.
I think we should all take heed of what happens to civilizations that hate their women: they may succeed for a while, but they ultimately break, because by nature, they have eliminated half their potential. Nature abhors a vacuum. Social conservatives who label women "sluts" for wanting access to birth control are, in actuality, operating from the same assumptions as groups like the Taliban. Rick Santorum called Limbaugh an "entertainer." Perhaps unfortunate, given that public beheadings, hangings and maulings have all been called "entertainment" at one time or another. Sometimes the line between religious doctrine and bloodlust can seem rather permeable. Some will claim that I'm dramatically stretching the point. They are conveniently forgetting the pogroms in our history.
So, I'm encouraging my sisters and brothers, but especially my sisters, to stand up and push back. Bullies like Limbaugh and O'Reilly need their comeuppance, and since we control the domestic pursestrings, let's give it to them. Here are a couple of places you can go to get started. On the political front, let's direct those social conservatives to the real issues -- the economy, employment, rebuilding our country -- and find out if they actually have any solutions. If not, let's find some folks who do. Here are a few more places where you might go.
I'll tackle the healthcare system -- where you are clearly not a person unless you are employed -- in another post, perhaps one about the true meaning of "death panels" in the U.S. And don't even get me started on "Citizens United."
Please note that I am registered as an independent, and do not belong to a major political party. Maybe you'll take what I say a little more seriously.