Sunday, June 24, 2012
Greetings, freedom fighters! Yes, I am disappointed that we lost in Wisconsin, with the effort to recall Scott Walker failing; but so what? It HAS happened in the history of social movements in this country, losses and setbacks. And there is the media telling tell the freedom fighters “You lost! You’ll never win! Give it up! Surrender, Dorothy!” Conservatives have for the longest time refused to take seriously the grievances of the oppressed group, treating them like punch lines in comedy routines, or some adolescent temper tantrum, or else agents of the Communist conspiracy; and they hoped it would all go away, and with it the threat to whatever illusions of privilege they might have. I saw this in the past in the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment and after the Anita Bryant campaign against gay rights in Dade County, Florida in 11977; our side was expected to swallow the losses and shut up. But we didn’t; the LGBT movement continues, winning such victories as the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” in the military, and gaining more public acceptance of same-sex marriage, including from the President. Plus, women’s issues have emerged once more in the public consciousness (not that they’ve ever gone away). An all-male congressional committee headed by that genius Darryl Issa of California held hearings about women’s reproductive rights; Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, testified at the hearing about the expense of contraception for women, citing a friend's having a cyst in her ovary which could have prevented her from having children altogether. Thus the issue was not necessarily being able to have sex without pregnancy, but women's health in general-Fluke's friend's cyst could have led to poisoning of her system and it could have been fatal. Then, that gallant chivalrous gentleman Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute”, and he demanded Fluke, in exchange for contraception, post her sex acts on the internet-the Kraken was released! A movement arose to demand companies stop sponsoring Limbaugh’s on-air flatulence, and they deserted him by the dozens. (They might sneak back in later on; if they do, let's be ready.) throughout the country, there were protests against these efforts to limit women's reproductive rights, including bills in state legislatures parodying these laws: laws demanding rectal examinations before a man can have Viagra (Virginia), bills proposed granting personhood to semen (Delaware and Oklahoma), and bills that would limit vasectomies (Georgia). It galls me-the Michigan legislature banning a female member from speaking on the floor of the House just because she used the word (gasp!) VAGINA! The fallout was enormous, as people demonstrated in Lansing against this nonsense, accompanied by a performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. This shows progressives won't be kicked around, that we WILL come out in force to stand up for what we believe, in the best American tradition. There have always been attempts to limit the rights of a minority group trying to assert itself; not trying to take away their gains or destroy their organized movements, but to control them, to harass them, in a passive-aggressive way. You see this in the scare stories in the 'seventies about the alleged rise in crime (something TO be scared of) and the cries for "law and order," while the real target is the African-American community asserting itself and the protest movements of the 'sixties, Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam war. It's also true with the anti-abortion movement (much of it, not all of it), trying to control SOME parts of women's lives while they advance in fields traditionally barred to them; and in the LGBT movement, where reluctance to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and to repeal anti-sodomy laws against consensual same-sex sex. The political and social movements are in place, their legal rights are advancing, but the traditionally powerful forces want to maintain SOME control over them. Still, issues of class and the economy remain far too real to ignore. It’s definitely coming down to democracy versus plutocracy, in the person of Willard Mitt Romney-a man who protested protests against the Vietnam war, but who evaded the draft; who has a record to terrorizing creatures who were less powerful, be it his own dog or a kid in school which he thought was Gay, and he didn’t need any evidence; whose company, Bain Capital, made its investors rich not by building anything tangible, but by buying companies cheap, loading them with debts they can’t pay, sending them into bankruptcy, selling them piece by piece-in the meantime unemploying workers and thus impoverishing communities. I’m pleased that bullying of school kids, particularly ones perceived as “different” (however you define it) is taken seriously as a social issue; I myself, from first grade (which I took twice) through the start of college had to endure teasing and insult and hitting-and I was expected to put up with it; the teachers and other adult “authority figures” either acted like I MYSELF was the cause for just being there, or else they joined in the “fun”. To this day it infuriates me! I wholeheartedly endorse Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” program, to reassure LGBT kids that they DON’T have to commit suicide because of those bullies and thugs (they’re not worth it), but they CAN and WILL get out of that town and that situation, find people like themselves, and live positive lives; THAT will be the revenge on the bullies, who are really emotionally and intellectually deficient things who can’t handle their own sexual or other issues. It’s particularly important since one of the major candidates of President (our next President? God forbid!) has been exposed as a bully in his prep school; obviously he hasn't changed since then. This is the fight we're in, brothers and sisters, and I know we're up to it! We can and will win this thing. Bye!