Here’s to Strong Women. Here’s to Sandra.

6 Sep

Sometimes, while I make my rounds of news sites, both mainstream and not, I feel hopeless.  I read about statements made by members of our government, legislation passed, Planned Parenthood centers closed, mainstream “cancer research foundations” whose actions tell me that maybe they don’t care as much about women and women’s health as they claim.  I learn about the victimization and revictimization of young girls, the blame placed unduly on the mother rather than on the perpetrators of the crime and the society that spews its truth of “boys will be boys.”  I get sick thinking about how money and power go hand-in-hand and how so often they land in the hands of white men, born to privilege into a world where they live by rules different than the rest of us.  I shake with anger when I think of the women who are dehumanized and tossed aside at the hands of these men and then how they, and not the victimizers, are forced to defend themselves, are accused of lying.  Because how dare we place those who have achieved the ultimate dream — success, wealth, power — anywhere other than on a pedestal.  But then sometimes, I remember that it’s not just me that feels this way.  There are a lot of us.  And at the Democratic National Convention we were handed the microphone and able to speak.   Our voices were heard through Sandra Fluke.

So, here is her speech from the DNC.  I was going to write a little about the speech given by Cecile Richards, who’s President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, but I was just so taken by Fluke’s entire speech that I couldn’t choose pieces.  Everytime I listen to it I have the same reaction:  a little bit emotional, a little bit goose-bumpy, incredibly proud.  She said what I have read in different articles by different strong women online, what I have heard representatives say on the floor when forced to face-off against the horribly bigoted statements made by male co-workers, and what friends have said to me in endless conversations about the realities of being female.  She put it all together and she spoke to that room and she got them on their feet.  So here’s her speech.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think it beats the hell out of an empty chair.

“Some of you…some of you may remember that earlier this year Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception.  In fact, on that panel, they didn’t hear from a single woman even though they were debating an issue that affects nearly every woman.  Because it happened in congress, people noticed.  But it happens all the time.  Too many women are shut out and silenced.  So while I am honored to be standing at this podium it easily could have been any one of you.  I’m here because I spoke out.  And this November, each of us must speak out.

“During this campaign, we’ve heard about two profoundly different futures that could await women in this country.  And how one of those futures looks like an offensive obsolete relic of our past.  Warnings of that future are not distractions, they are not imagined. That future could become real. In that America, your new President could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs.  A man who won’t stand up to those slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.  It would be an America in which you have a new Vice President who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds that we don’t want and our doctors say that we don’t need.  An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.  An America in which politicians redefine rape and victims are victimized all over again.  In which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve access to services and which don’t…. We know what this America would look like.  And in a few short months that’s the America we could be but that’s not the America that we should be and it’s not who we are.

“We’ve also seen another America that we could choose.  In that America we’d have the right to choose.  It’s an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance.  In which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives.  In which we decide when to start our families.  An America in which our President, when he hears that a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or his donors.  And in which our President stands with all women, and strangers come together and reach out and lift her up.  And then instead of trying to silence her you invite me here.  And you give me this microphone to amplify our voice.  That’s the difference.

“Over the last 6 months I’ve seen what these two futures look like.  And 6 months from now we’re all going to be living in one future or the other.  But only one.  A country where our President either has our back or turns his back.  A country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward or one that forces our generation to refight battles that they already won.  A country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies or our voices.  We talk often about choice.  Well ladies, and gentlemen, it’s now time to choose.”

And…standing ovation.  How Sandra Fluke managed to get through that without breaking down I will never know.  I can’t even read it aloud for type-o’s without getting a little misty-eyed.  To hear her voice say all the things I have thought, that my friends and I have talked about, and in such a well thought out way was really amazing, a breath of fresh air.  Sometimes it is easy to feel frustrated and alone sitting here behind my computer, preaching to the choir.  But then there are people out there who are doing the leg work, who are making a difference, and then I get shivers and realize that some day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, it will be okay.  We just have to keep speaking out in whatever ways we can.

4 Responses to “Here’s to Strong Women. Here’s to Sandra.”

  1. Bobby September 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, not one to watch politics, cause I can’t vote (Canadian, yes you know me), so I don’t tend to watch / read articles unless ones that lean my way and that I catch at recommendations of people I know or via Google News. So again thanks for making me aware of this great speech and a great opinion by obviously a great woman.

    • FranklyRebekah September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks, Bobby! Hope you are doing well in your new city!

  2. creatingcarrie September 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    totally started crying reading that. it’s that moment when the fight seems endless and hard and it would be so much easier to just stop. and then you turn your head and realize that you are there with friends fighting with you. and it’s still endless and hard, but it’s no longer too hard to keep going.

    yep, still crying. ((hugs))

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jezebel: Stick with Women, Stay Away from GMOs | franklyrebekah - June 5, 2013

    […] all the happenings surrounding that Susan G. Komen debacle, gave me a link to an amazing speech by Sandra Fluke, and strengthened my extreme dislike for Donald Trump (I previously hadn’t thought that […]

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