Tag Archives: access

Ending Radio Silence

25 Jul

I know I have been largely absent (or, actually, entirely absent) since my last post on April 20th about Bill O’Reilly but I am back because honestly, this shit is fucked.

Back when Donald J. Trump (heretofore referred to as SCROTUS), was elected President of the United States of America there was one thing I simply couldn’t wrap my head around. It wasn’t, as you might have guessed, the Access Hollywood tapes. I have been a woman for far too long to ever think that a recording of white men degrading women would be the thing that brought SCROTUS down. Let us not forget that Bill Clinton was impeached and it wasn’t because of statutory rape or sexual harassment. It also wasn’t for that time SCROTUS told an audience at a campaign rally in Sioux Falls that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and (he) wouldn’t lose voters.” This country, it seems, doesn’t care too much about threats of violence when they come out of the mouth of a white man. No, it wasn’t either of those things. It was, instead, SCROTUS’ dismissive comments about John McCain’s status as a war hero. It was back in July, 2015 when, still on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said,

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Say what you want about John McCain. About his politics, about his run in 2008, about his temper, about his sense of humor that is oftentimes wildly inappropriate and not in the least bit funny. All of those things are up for conversation and debate. His status as a war hero, however, is not. And so when then-candidate Donald Trump, who by the way was granted 5 deferments during the Vietnam draft, essentially called McCain a loser I figured he was finished. This country is fucked up in a lot of ways but it respects its war heroes. Not enough to provide them physical and mental health care or job training, mind you, but when it comes to verbal respect, we’ve got that shit on lock. Especially the Republicans. It’s sort of a calling card for them. So when a man campaigning for the Republican nomination talked shit about a war hero, and one who had served in the senate for decades no less, I figured his days were numbered. But then he went on to get the nomination from the GOP and that’s when I knew this country was fucked. I still didn’t think he would win the goddamn election (fuck you #FailingElectoralCollege) but it was at this moment when I realized the divisions in this country run a lot deeper than I ever thought possible.

All of this is to say that despite my disagreement with John McCain on a lot of policies – for example that time he ran a successful filibuster to stop the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy or that time he voted in support of Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court – I always respected the guy. I, perhaps naively, thought that compared to other Republican politicians he was at least reasonable, at least willing to work with people on the other side of the aisle. He did, after all, say that the Citizens United decision was “arrogant, uninformed, naive.” But today whatever I thought about him perviously, about his desire to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of the United States, went forcefully out the window. This man who has served this country for the majority of his life today voted against its future. He voted against the future of every single American and so I have this to say:

Senator John McCain you can fuck right off. 

Seriously though, fuck off. You went in for surgery on your eye and came out with a diagnosis of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor. People rallied around you. Spoke about your reputation and everything you have done for this country. And then, to a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle, you returned to the senate floor and voted to open a debate to try and pass a bill that would strip millions of Americans of health care. And after that, after you basically said that the care that you have received should be a privilege for the rich and not the right of everyone, you delivered a speech. No, not even a speech. It was a condescending admonition of your colleagues. And honestly in that moment, I lost every bit of respect I ever had for you as a senator, as a war hero, as a human being.

You stood up there and you talked about how partisan the government has become, and you admitted to the role you played in that. And then you said that at times you had “let your passion rule your reason” and to that I have to say, no. In this case you certainly didn’t choose based off your passion because what human with a soul could ever be passionate about so unjust a bill. And so where’s the reason, John? What was your reason? Because I, for the life of me, outside of partisanship and greed cannot come up with a reason why you would support this. And why you would think that your chastisement would be appreciated. Because as far as I am concerned, you’re worse than the rest of them. You traveled to Washington from your sick bed to vote for something that would bar millions of people from getting the same level of care that you have received over the past week. And so again I say this:

Fuck right off.

I’m sorry but you don’t get my sympathy anymore. You talked today about the price of winning. That so much of the poor decisions and the governmental gridlock and the backroom moves and dishonesty are all with the goal of a short term win and that that attitude won’t help us and I agree on that. But today? Today we lost. We all lost. And you were incidental in that. So get the fuck off your high horse. This time your status as a war hero cannot save you. Not in my mind.

Romney’s Logic, or lack thereof

15 Nov

I’m having a very hard time today.  Sometimes I feel like there is this thing called logic, and then all of a sudden something happens and I think that maybe my logic isn’t the right logic afterall because someone who is someone in the grand scheme of things, and not just in a little corner of the internet, says something that is so contrary to my logic that it’s like, wait, what?  Confused?  Let me explain.

I just read this article in the Times that has been going around in different forms about a conference call that Mitt Romney had with his donors and fund-raisers.  In this conference call he accused Obama of winning the election by giving “gifts” to different minority groups.  Okay, so when I see the word “gifts” I think Christmas, Channuka, birthdays!  Last year for my birthday I got this amazing new lamp shade* from Anthropologie (don’t mock me) and a great cherry red stock pot from Le Creuset.  So, did Obama run around giving people fancy new home accent pieces?  Perhaps some useful, and colorful!, kitchen items?  Maybe a sweet new pair of kicks?  No.  Here’s what Obama “gifted” the “minorities”** of this country:

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.”

And then there’s this.  Romney was very concerned that the president used his healthcare plan as a tool in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters:

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals,*** the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

So now I am going to think back to when Bush did that stimulus plan.  Remember that?  When all of a sudden we all got a check for some money that we were then supposed to spend out in the world to stimulate the economy?****  A lot of people thought that was  good idea.  A lot of people might have called that a gift.  Same goes, I think, for the money a family is “gifted” through access to healthcare.  All of a sudden here is this money not being spent on incredibly costly healthcare that can be repurposed.  It can go towards buying a car, saving to send a child to college, starting a business, or any other number of things.  Or! That family that now has been “gifted” healthcare has healthcare for the first time and is able to seek preemptive medical care rather than relying on emergency room visits or costly procedures to take care of something that could have been avoided.  Now people who previously had to suffer unnecessarily with treatable ailments can get the needed, and widely available, treatment.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

All sarcasm aside.  Here’s the thing about all of this.  I find Romney’s comments to be amazingly condescending and rude not only to the man that bested him in the election, but to all of us who voted for that man.  By using the word “gifts” Romney was intentionally playing into an understanding of the word within the political realm as equivalent to a bribe.  There were no bribes involved.  Romney lost the election because while he was yammering on about non-specifics concerning job creation, foreign policy and military strategy, Obama was listening to people and trying to figure out what would actually make this country a more reasonable place to live.  Lack of equal access to birth control and concerns about unwanted pregnancies?  Here, free contraception (not to mention a continuation of Roe v Wade).  Concerns about pre-existing conditions and sky-rocketing healthcare costs?  Here, the Affordable Care Act.  Children of undocumented immigrants not getting a fair shake at the American Dream?  Here, the Dream Act (co-written by Republican Orin Hatch, by the way).  What Obama did was present himself as a man capable of leading this country.  What he did was he listened to the people, and he came up with, or supported, feasible solutions.  That’s not called giving people gifts, Romney, it’s called governing.

So here’s maybe an idea, rather than trying to make up ludicrous, and inaccurate, excuses for why you lost the election, why don’t you look actually at why you lost.  You lost because you were non-specific about things that mattered.  You lost because you listened to the party establishment and aligned yourself with the uber-conservatives rather than the majority of the country.  You lost because you failed to realize that things have changed and you have to convince more than just the white men of your ability to lead.  You lost because you erroneously believed that the person who raised the most money would win the biggest prize.  You lost because you dismissed so many of us.  It sucks, Romney, because like John McCain pre-2008 I always thought you were one of the good guys.  One of the listening guys.  I don’t know, maybe my logic is all wrong.  To me, the logical thing to do would be to bow out gracefully and go back to the drawing board.  Rather than calling sound policy ideas gifts, why don’t you and your party think about how to answer the people’s needs using sound conservative principles.  The Republican party, as far as I know, isn’t about hanging people out to dry.  It’s about a much needed alternative to the Democratic approach to governing.  Although I am a lifelong liberal, I honestly believe that the only way to make this country work better is having a healthy debate.  It’s like an athlete.  An athlete uses the talent, drive and abilities of her biggest opponent in order to become better.  For the Democratic, or Republican, party to live up to expectations and possibilities, for this country to live up to expectations and possibilities, there needs to be drive.  The Democratic party can only be its best incarnation when it is striving to be a better alternative to the best incarnation of the Republican party.  The opposite is just as true.  Unless we have two (more would be better) healthy and functioning parties, we can not have the best governing strategy possible.  For this country to get on a better road, we need some good debate and some healthy competition, not a bunch of blamers and a party-wide abandonment of the needs of the majority of the country.  It’s called logic, Romney.  You should try using it.

*My lamp shade looks sort of like this only significantly more awesome.

**Sometimes use of the word minorities annoys me because it’s not accurate.  Rather than an explanation of numerical fact, it’s more like a forced state of being.  I, as a female, am not actually a member of a group that makes up a minority of the population but am still considered a minority.  Why don’t we call a spade a spade.  We “minorities” are not necessarily the “minority.”  We are the oppressed.  The overlooked.  The intentionally ignored.  The annoyance.

***I despise, I mean despise, the term “illegals.”

****This girl totally took that check and put it straight in her savings account.  Totally against the rules.

Friedman’s Not-So-Novel Idea

29 Oct

Yesterday in the middle of my work day I received a text from one of my really good friends. It read as follows:

The Friedman column is fucking pissing me off. Why would I expect him not to fucking pretend that what he is writing is nothing feminism has been saying for YEARS!

I could feel the anger pulsing through my cell phone. Obviously, I had to read it immediately if not sooner.  I checked up and down the bar to see the status of all my customers drinks and got to reading.  The premise of the article is basically that Friedman is “pro-life” but not in the way we all talk about being pro-life, as in the opposite of pro-choice.  He is pro “respect for the sanctity of life.”  Friedman has seen the light.  This paragraph basically says it all:

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

Friedman makes a good point.  Read the article.  But the thing is, just like what my friend said to me in her enraged text, he is making the point feminism, the point women have been making for years.  Being in support of a woman’s right to choose is not only an end, but it is a means to other ends.  Allowing women to choose is part of a bigger conversation about quality of life, about freedoms, about capabilities, about possibilities, about empowerment. In the mainstream acceptance of the terms “pro-life” (or “anti-choice” as many of my ilk refer to it) and “pro-choice” I think of the former as an exclusionary opinion and the latter as inclusionary.  Pro-choice people are not requiring women to terminate a pregnancy.  Some of us might not even be comfortable with the idea  of abortion for ourselves.  I think all of us would love it if there didn’t have to be any abortions at all.  There is room in the pro-choice movement for everyone to do exactly with their bodies as they think is appropriate for themselves and their lives, be that terminate a pregnancy or carry a pregnancy through to term.  Pro-life takes that choice away, that legal and safe choice, and makes the decision for someone.  Either carry the fetus to term or endure a possibly life-threatening, illegal, unregulated procedure.  There is not room in that school of thought for everyone.  There is not room for me.

I guess this is a topic that I have been having a hard time with.  While I want to include men in the conversation about women’s rights and bodies, while I want more male allies, I don’t want men dictating the parameters of a conversation that women have been having for decades.  Let us spearhead this one, guys.  Listen to us.  Talk to us.  Take us seriously.  This is an important issue all the time and not only when you decide to give it a minute of your time.  This has been mattering to us for-fucking-ever, and not just every four years.  We’ve been talking about it.  We’ve been educating one another.  Where have you been, Friedman?

But I’ve gotten off topic.  Friedman’s point is an important one for sure.  But as a woman, it is incredibly, incredibly frustrating and angering to see that a point that feminists have been making for years and years does not get mainstream space until it is said by a right-leaning white man acting like he came up with it all on his own.  I’ve seen my friends sharing the link to the article on Facebook and, though I’m glad the point is making its rounds in the interwebs, I am frustrated that as women we have become so accustomed to our opinions being ignored and then, years later, being co-opted and taken seriously only through the medium of a male voice that we don’t even notice it any more.  It’s part of life.  It’s like, “wow!  Friedman!  What a great and original idea!” without the follow through of “wait, didn’t I talk to my mom about this very same idea when I first started learning about abortion clinic bombings and assassinations of abortion providers?  Hasn’t this term ‘pro-life’ always seemed somewhat misleading?”   It’s like that old saying, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Only I’m gonna change it.  “If an opinion is voiced by a woman and no one talks about it, did that opinion ever actually get shared?”

And to my friend who sent me the text in the first place, I am thankful for you.  You help keep me sane.