Emmie Mears
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In Which Emmie Uses Cute to Feel Better About Politics

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In Which Emmie Uses Cute to Feel Better About Politics

My discontent started with this video:

For the party who claims to be the strongest supporters of our military, the silence of the candidates in the face of their constituents booing a service member galled me. As Obama put it to them, “You want to be Commander-in-Chief?”

I will add that that video was edited as Obama’s comments did not occur at that moment — they were given at a dinner later.

And then I saw this picture:

Something tells me these experts lack perspective.

That picture has been circulating around the internet since it first surfaced, leaving outrage and bafflement in its wake. Let me be clear: men can be experts on contraception. They can. But to preclude women’s involvement in this discussion — seriously, who picked that panel? — is not only insulting. It is a reminder, a very visible, stark reminder, that women are still a minority in this country, whatever population numbers might say.

Maybe I’ve missed it in all the excitement of new puppy and kitten, but I don’t recall seeing the outrage. I don’t recall people voicing their disapproval in large numbers. I think that needs to change. Maybe it starts here, in the blogosphere, but put me down as saying that if we women expect to retain any modicum of control or say in how we choose to start our families and when, we need to make it clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that we are — and should be — the majority voices in that conversation.

And then I saw the video of Rush Limbaugh’s stance on contraceptives. I’m not going to link it here, because frankly, that blowhard has enough traffic. Suffice it to say that he said women who use contraceptives should post sex videos so taxpayers “get something” for providing them. Not one to mince words. I guess he doesn’t think lower abortion rates, lower STI rates, and population control (less people on welfare) counts as “getting something” for the investment of contraception.

Yes, I know he’s a nasty, sad rich man with nothing better do than be the world’s biggest arse on a stick, but he also has the highest rated talk radio show in the country — and I think Clear Channel (a private corporation) should boot him for those comments (among many, many others). What is unacceptable is the complete denial that women deserve even the tiniest measure of respect men do. What is abhorrent is that he advertises to the world that he believes women are less than men, and like it or not, the man is an influencer. He has a right to say what he wants, but as he works under a private company, their silent endorsement of his outrageous remarks only makes it worse.

It is 2012. What I’m wondering is when we will start recognizing all people as equals. Men, women, transgendered, black, white, brown, gay, straight, bi — we all bleed red. We all seek acceptance and love. We all want to live in safety and enjoy equal protections under the law in a country that was designed to do just that.

I believe in the fundamentals of America — that all humans are created equal. The first sentences of the preamble to the Constitution say that. And yet it’s taken centuries for minorities to progress to the point of today — and what the recent elections and political diatribe have shown is that we are still thousands of miles from where we ought to be.

Maryland passed gay marriage this week — Governor Martin O’Malley signed it into law Thursday, and it will go into effect next year. I am proud of my state for that, and you can bet your booty I’ll be at the polls come November to prevent its overturn. Regardless of what you believe about homosexuality, if you believe humans are equal (and that all sin is equal if you’re religious), if you believe that the government should be limited in its influence over a person’s pursuit of happiness, then there are no compelling arguments against it. I don’t think we’re in danger of people wanting to marry their toasters or pets. And over 30 states already allow marriage between first cousins (oddly with a large overlap there between states who don’t support gay marriage).

When it comes to the debate on contraception and women’s health, women must make our voices heard. We absolutely must. No matter your stance on abortion, having access to OB-GYN services, cancer screening, and contraceptives are integral to the success and progress of our nation. Insurance providers have largely stopped covering annual pap smears — something I heard nothing about until I last visited the doctor — and they will only cover them every three years if you’ve had normal pap smears so far. Three years. Three years can mean cancer. Three years can mean death without proper screening.

All of the hoopla lately making the 2012 election somehow based in women’s bodies is an affront to our dignity. I urge all of you (regardless of your sex) to raise your voice and let your lawmakers known that you won’t stand to see women’s reproductive rights taken away. This isn’t a debate over abortion — it has to do with women having affordable and safe access to hormonal contraceptives, essential screenings, and the resources necessary to make informed decisions about when and how to start a family. I think we can all agree that parenthood is not something to be lightly undertaken.

All of that is a big heaving sigh to get out. And after all of those words, I’ll help you escape a little bit with my method of forgetting politics: the romp through puppy and kitten land!

Buffy Puppy came home yesterday! After her initial meeting with Willow Kitty in which they both had momentary freak outs, they have found an interesting balance — mostly where Willow stalks Buffy and pounces her at random moments, though when I brought Buffy back in from her walk today, Willow was so excited to see her that she flopped over on her back and purred and hugged her. I wish I’d gotten a picture of that!

For your enjoyment, here are the four-legged members of our little pack!

Buffy eats her wolf.

Yum, wolf!

"I have bi-eyes!"

Ears...or satellite dishes?

"What, Mom?"

"I don't know where my tail spot came from. Stop asking me."

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Author | Emmie Comments | 10 Date | March 3, 2012

comments

Chris G.

I’m not rightly sure how this election twisted itself into one giant debate of religion vs. women…because apparently this time around people are only allowed to choose one (had my head bit off a few times for making that statement, I’ll admit, but oh well)…but I suspect because this election also seems to have developed into a case of which candidate can out-crazy the other, at least on the right side of the spectrum. Factor in the lingering enmity against homosexuality and same sex marriage and that whole shebang as the two sides fight it out across the country and…urgh, it’s enough to make one queasy. This country’s in a strange and unsettling place right now, and I really am not a fan.

Fortunately, as you have demonstrated, there are still methods of escaping the madness, however temporarily. Cute, fluffy methods.

You eat that wolf, Buffy. You eat it good.

March 3, 2012 | 3:22 pm

KM Huber

Clear and cogent post; most admirable. As a boomer and feminist, I had days of hope that we’d put some of these issues to rest but I always suspected we had not. It is refreshing to hear a young woman willing to take up the standard of equality for all because as you so beautifully write, we are all human, which has always been the only choice.

Karen

March 3, 2012 | 3:42 pm

crubin

Great, great blog post, Emmie. I, too, was appalled by the all-male panel to address the contraception issue. And you are right, where was the media?!

I try to wrap my head around why a man working for a Catholic institution can get expensive Viagra pills covered by insurance, but women working for the same institution can’t get contraception? So, let’s see, more men able to have sex, but less women able to afford contraception. Hmmm, seems a bit of a math problem to me…

March 3, 2012 | 5:14 pm

Patricia Caviglia

Great post! As I watch from the north side of the border, I can’t help but wonder what is going on over there. For a country that was founded on separation of church and state, this election seems to have a lot to do with putting the church into the state.

March 3, 2012 | 11:24 pm

Emma

Emmie, I love reading your posts. You have a very strong voice and aren’t afraid to use it. I’m not American but over here in Ireland women are a tiny minority in politics. In theory men and women are equal, but in practise it’s hard to see this.

March 4, 2012 | 10:27 am

livrancourt

Part of the problem is complacency on the part of women. I think those of us who are old enough to remember the upheavals of the 1970’s kinda figured the battle had been won and we had the luxury of focusing on our own lives rather than continuing the fight. “Feminist” has become a bad word, but you know what? We’re up against lifetimes of precedent that marginalizes women. There’s not going to be a point at which we can say, “okay, it’s done.” Because clearly, it’s not over yet.
Thanks for a well thought-out description of where things really stand.

March 4, 2012 | 11:22 am

corajramos

You are very courageous to take these issues on. I wholeheartedly applaud you. I agree with Liv, the fight is not over, not as long as there are still people who believe in putting religion in politics and putting only men in positions of power over women. We haven’t reached equality for all yet, the fight goes on.

March 4, 2012 | 5:08 pm

patriciasands

“We all bleed red.” What more needs to be said? There are so many fine, good, things to be said about America and the fact that these struggles still persist – and at the moment, actually seem to be losing ground – is downright scary. Rush Limbaugh is an influencer – that’s not scary but terrifying and it boggles my mind. I’ll be pushing your post out as far as I am able, Emmie. You speak for many and do it so well. Carry on, please!

And now to the lovefest at the end of your blog. I can feel the love in those photos and absolutely know the beautiful moments you are experiencing with your new babies. Enjoy!

March 5, 2012 | 8:22 am

    Emmie Mears

    Thank you, Patricia!

    When I went in for my annual exam this year (luckily they didn’t have a current record of my past exams or they might not have covered me), I had to sign a waiver that said that I could only have one pap smear every three years under the new insurance regulations. I was appalled — those screenings are sometimes the only indications of cervical cancer and endometriosis among other health issues that can worsen severely when they go untreated. To require women to forego those screenings (or pay the hundreds of dollars a year it would cost to do that when you already have to pay for health insurance) is terrifying to me. I know too well that cancer can be a sneaky disease, and catching it early is about 80% of the battle.

    When it comes to contraception, Planned Parenthood has been in the news so much lately — people wanting to slash their funding, deny them funding, etc. — and I find that scary too. As a woman who comes from a very low income background, they were the only people who would see me when I was younger for my annual exams. I also went to them for STI testing and consultations and contraception — they are probably the reason I never got pregnant before I was ready. To have one of the only resources low income women have threatened is just appalling. What boggles my mind is that the same people who don’t want a “welfare state” or who are against social security and abortion are so against preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place when that would curb a huge portion of their problems. One would think they’d be the biggest supporters of Planned Parenthood.

    And the critters are great! 😀

    March 5, 2012 | 10:35 am

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