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:
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!
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