Thursday, 15 March 2012

Know Your Limits...


I don't even know where to begin.  All across the United States, women are being used as pawns and proxies in a cultural war.  You can probably gather by now which side I'd align myself with, but the fact that there is fighting at all, still, is troublesome and exhausting.   In 2012, one would think that to get to political office you would have to be a little more adroit with your tongue than to say to women forced to undergo an unnecessary and unwanted medical procedure to just close your eyes.  And in 2012, one would hope that the entire national conversation would not be about whether or not women deserve to have their medical needs covered.  Sadly, even a bitter old cynic like me was stunned to discover Arizona's plan to drag up this issue again and defy the man in the White House: a law has been proposed in the state legislature that would make it legal for employers with religious objections to fire women for using birth control, whether or not the woman's company health insurance is paying for it, unless she can prove that she is not using it for 'sexual purposes'.

This won't stand up to any kind of judicial scrutiny for a whole host of reasons, but the problem is that it could well pass and women and their families will be hurt by it until it is torn a legal new one by (presumably) the ACLU.  The greater problem, though, is that supposedly educated men and women (it was introduced by a woman, as it happens) think they somehow have the right to try to pass this kind of law.  They think it's ok to kick female workers in the teeth, as long as it is done in the name of religion.  They think it's ok to violate HIPAA, the Health Care Reform Act and the US Constitution, because they do not like women having access to contraception.  They don't mind that the law will never stick, that it's a complete waste of time and resources that could be better spent on something important and constructive.  They don't even mind that it makes them look rather evil and demented, because everything is apparently secondary to punishing women for being women.  Even women who are using such contraception for 'non-sexual purposes' would be punished, having to pay out of pocket until their employer agrees that their pleading of "I'm not having sex" is to their satisfaction and being charged a fee for the company being kind enough to look at their claim.

I could write a diatribe on how awful this all is, but it is rather self evident.  Just reading about the Arizona bill made me sick.  I was fortunate enough to be born after segregation and after the Civil Rights era, at a time where racism was by no means gone but it at least was not open policy.  Today, misogyny is startlingly palpable in the political world.  It is chilling to find myself in a world where a large section of the population (the largest, actually) is seen as something lesser and it is not even kept quiet.  It's clear that the political ruling class, largely but not exclusively in the Republican Party, are reaching very far to grab women around the neck.  It's a war on women, and they feel entitled to the territory between each and every woman's legs.  Hopefully public backlash will soon show that they are reaching well beyond their limits.

And here is today's moment of zen:

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