Monday, April 30, 2012

Just a Few Reasons to Vote

If there is something worse than telling a woman that it is all in her head, that she doesn’t see what she sees, hear what hears and feel what she feels, I don’t know what it is. Yet, this has become standard practice for Republicans in government today.

There is a term for this phenomena, it is Gaslighting. The word derives from a motion picture made in 1944 and staring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. The plot of “Gaslight” centers on the efforts of Boyer who with the help of a housemaid attempts to convince his wife, Bergman, that she is insane in order to take her wealth. He does this by setting up a series of sensory experiences and then denying they are real.

This kind of thing went on for centuries in the actual lives of women. These women, driven to the point of hysteria and collapse, were rendered powerless and usually ended up in asylums after being committed by the significant male in their life who had an unquestioned right to do so. The infamous asylum in England known as Bedlam was full of such women.

In an enormous effort to tell it like it used to be the Republicans in Washington and in state houses all over this country, aided by their housemaids that is to say the few Republican women serving in these bodies, have launched an egregious assault on Women’s Health Care, Reproductive Freedom and the Right to Family Planning. All the while telling us that, “Birth control does not concern women.” “Babies conceived in rape or incest are a gift from God.” “Women don’t care about birth control or choice. They care about the economy and jobs.” In other words the threat is all in your god-damned head.

The underlying proposition here is that women are weak minded, will believe anything they are told and are highly susceptible to manipulation. Like the frantic Czarina of Russia, desperate to save the life of her hemophiliac child and falling under the spell of the Mad Monk Rasputin, we modern women, desperate with fear because we don’t know what is good for us, have fallen under the spell of the Mad President Rasputin Obama. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

This tragedy goes beyond Women’s Health Care, Reproductive Freedom or Family Planning to the very heart of Feminism itself. My grandmother was a suffragette and bequeathed to me the vote. Some forty years ago my generation of women, with vote in hand, took to the streets to set women free from the tyranny of patriarchy and our own biology leveraged against us. The War on Women is a concerted effort to turn most or all of this back and chain us once again to our wombs.

Because our very lives, both figuratively and literally, are being threatened the vote our grandmother’s fought for is more important for women today than ever. There are enough women who have accepted being marginalize, victimized, dominated by religion and exploited by misogyny that this vile Republican agenda could carry the day in November if women who value their autonomy and right to make personal decisions without the inference of an overreaching and cruel government aren’t determined to exercise the franchise.

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