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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Conundrum

If I am not mistaken some of the same people waxing moralistic about the Secret Service sex scandal gave Senator David Vitter, of Louisiana, a standing ovation after he was returned to office following the revelation that he had been contacting prostitutes from the floor of the Senate. As far as I know the illicit exchange of bodily fluids is not made more or less acceptable because it is red or blue, Democratic or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, serving official or civil servant.

Accordingly, many of the people who gave Vitter the nod called for the blood of Misters Clinton, Edwards and Spitzer. Now don’t get me wrong, these three men disappointed me mightily. Not because they had sex. I am a Pagan; we don’t consider sex sinful. In point of fact, we don’t have a concept of sin per say. We do have a concept of stupid. To compromise a Democratic Administration, a Democratic presidential bid, or the career of a great crusader for an orgasm is stupid.

Mr. Edwards goes on trial today for allegedly using campaign finance funds to cover-up an affair. From what I understand of the case and charges, there is some question that the money was campaign money or that he even knew it was being used for the suspected purpose. It is about the sex, man. As it was about the sex with Clinton and Spitzer. After two thousand years of being soaked in Judeo-Christian guilt about human sexuality it is now possible to use the attendant shame as a weapon against one’s enemies, while taking a tiny bit of Christian thought to appear noble in forgiving one’s friends. It is a conundrum.

I have been following politics all of my life. One thing I have observed is that Democrats screw women, and Republicans screw everybody. The moral valence of all this screwing is a matter of personal ethics and values. In my estimation it has always been an issue of impact. Misters Clinton, Edwards and Spitzer hurt their families – Edwards’ behavior was particular egregious owning to the illness of his wife; they damaged or destroyed their careers; and disappointed their supporters. However, can any of that really be compared to the wholesale screwing of America if the Obama Health Care Bill is overturned for purely political – political I say – reasons?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Women I Admire

For as long as I have had the ability to understand what inspires me I have been inspired by three women – Bette Davis for her guts, Eleanor Roosevelt for her heart and Jackie Kennedy for her spirit. Davis kicked doors down, blazed trails and set a standard of excellence in her films which can only be approximated by actresses today. Roosevelt modeled the maxim noblesse oblige or the noble are obligated. American translation, the haves have an obligation to the have nots. Kennedy showed women of my generation that a soft voice, a gentle hand and a shy modesty can walk comfortably with great strength in sunlight or tragedy.

Of the three Kennedy was the most beautiful. She didn’t have the gaudy, augmented, plastic beauty we admire today, but rather her loveliness was subtle and delicate like the scent of a tulip. Davis was plain, but attractive. She didn’t give a damn what she looked like on screen. If the part challenged her she would play a prostitute dying of syphilis, a drunk x-film star or an aging spinster. Roosevelt was homely – some said ugly. Still, she was stunning in her compassion and glamorous in her care for the common good.

When I look around me now at the crap we women are being told to accept about our value, meaning, place and position I realize two things. The world is a better place for these three women having lived in it because they are the real feminine ideal. They more than establish any woman’s right to dignity, equality, freedom and existence on this planet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Desperately Seeking Sanity

I have spent many years of my life working in surgery. I have seen every kind of surgery – from eyes to toes, brains to bunions, gunshot wounds to pediatric hearts, and this is what I know. When the surgeon lays the blade and spreads the dermis we all look alike. The color of the underlying tissue is the same, unless diseased. Even then, the same disease will produce roughly the same color in all of us. The organs look the same, unless there is disease or deformity. Once again the same disease or deformity will produce roughly the same appearance in all of us.

In considering the Travon Martin case, 2nd degree murder charge notwithstanding, I am struck by the fact that this child was killed by a man whose conscience was kill by a philosophy of hate, bigotry and indifference to life. That philosophy itself is supported by heinous gun laws and cruel racial profiling. All of this founded upon a skin thickness of approximately 2–3 mm (0.10 inch) of difference.

I want to go on record as saying that I have given up all hope of Extraterrestrial Biological Entities ever visiting this planet. Why would they? We are almost too fucking stupid to live.