Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fatwa: The Anti-Vagina Monologues

Fatwa:  A legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue.

Substitute certain legislators and judges for Islamic law specialists and you may sense that the current right wing agenda includes legal prohibitions with Jesusland evangelical underpinnings targeting any sense of progress and personal control for American women.
The one-sided monologue goes like this:

Limbaugh the Loud labels modern women as 'feminazis'   Apparently, the frequent groom has more trouble living with women than lambasting them.  This might have remained a private embarrassment, save for the platform of a radio broadcast deep from the bunker that allows him to act out his issues M-F for a lot of money.  Perhaps that will pay for lessons in achieving success in personal relationships.  The Dittohead Nation absorbs, but does not talk back.

Legislators cut funding for Planned Parenthood, which serves as a primary health care center and educating organization not just for women, but also men.  Apparently, the agenda can't tolerate access to contraception, routine gynecological exams and information about avoiding risky sexual behavior that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases. 

The right promotes and funds female politicians like Sarah Palin.  Some might argue that she, having not come close to holding the second most powerful job in the world, is still a feminist role model.  Although I might argue that the freedom of control and choice and an equitable chance to succeed in whatever path one chooses is a feminist credo, she doesn't make my feminist cut.    I see Palin as a thin-skinned mean girl who winks her way along, causing right wing columnists to see "starbursts" when she speaks on the teevee.  She's gone rogue only because she's a throwback to the days when women were seen as useful window dressing and being attractive was the primary measure of success.  However, she shows no inclination of wanting to master literacy, basic human communication skills or most any job she's won along the way by pretending to know what she's talking about (Governing - It's so hard).  Being a flavor of the month in politics is about as far as she'll get unless the mad rule the earth, but it won't stop her from grifting a hefty nest egg along the way.  Had she wanted to enlarge her limited intelligence, she could have been a contender.  She seems content to be the lipstick on the pig, carefully applied but staying within the ghostwritten party lines.  

The law of the land on abortion rights is being eroded by legislative and court maneuvers that deny not only the spirit but the intent of the ruling by removing funding for programs or supporting prohibitive edicts against siting clinics or citing 'free speech' to organizations that trespass on privacy, use harassment and stalking tactics and generally intimidate clients and providers.

Legislators are trying to redefine rape.  Perhaps they need to be reminded to invoke Reagan - Nancy, that is - and understand the meaning of Just Say No when adult words or behaviors invoke this mantra.  It's pretty easy to understand rape if you can fall into the Reagan vernacular.  Rape of minors should be self-evident as never a matter of choice, but an exercise of power over the most vulnerable.  Seems pretty simple to me - so what am I missing?

Little covered in the move to bust the unions is that they, along with the reforms that produced the civil service, have served to help women in the workplace.  In the public sector, anyone who holds a defined job title is paid equally whether male or female.  There are protections and grievance procedures that have served women struggling for pay equity or access to non-traditional jobs.  From there, it's ability and dealing with the normal workplace politics that may move one ahead, but the female foot got in the door.

Lastly, on the highest court in the land, we have a judge whose idea of a come-on was once cited as mentioning a pubic hair on a coke can.  Clarence Thomas, please use your vote to leave my uterus alone.

There are many men who do not support the above agenda, but there are too many men and, sadly, women who are ideologically opposed to women's strides and would like to impose their religious dogma by nailing their 95 Theses right through our freed reproductive organs.
It's time to misbehave again, cuz "You Don't Own Me" and we've come too far to go back.

courtesy of Leslie Gore - even then we knew better

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taking It To the Street

The gloves are off in Wisconsin.  The naked ambition of the 'conservative' agenda is on full display and the Wisconsin hibernation season is abruptly ended.  People are massing in the streets - they sense the desperate moments are here.  

Soon, the TeaPartiers will be there, organizing against their own interests, unknowingly complicit in the attempted destruction of the American middle class.  Joe the Plumber will grab a mike and another 15 minutes of unwarranted fame to be the mouthpiece of hidden vultures who wouldn't let him in the back door, much less the front door, without a security screen and a background investigation. Another useful idiot who will do the dirty work of fronting for this generation's robber barons.  Mission accomplished. 

The Fox Network will crank the propaganda into overdrive until people's heads vibrate with a few well-chosen talking points repeated endlessly by their unfair and unbalanced talking heads as if it were apocalypse now (hello, Glen). In the process, teachers, nurses, secretaries, firefighters, police officers, road maintenance workers, sanitation workers, accounting clerks will be vilified as responsible for the imbalance in the economy.  You can almost hear the chattering class gearing up in the distance.

Confession:  I am a public employee.  I work with other public employees and have for decades.  As a management employee, I am not in a formal union now (but have been previously).  We are an informal collective bargaining group.  We function as a union and our representatives have many meetings to reach a memorandum of understanding on our working conditions.  It's called negotiating.  It means give and take.  It means reaching mutually agreeable settlement in light of current conditions.  It's not what is happening in Wisconsin.  What is happening there is a unilateral assault on unions and, by extension, the political party they historically support.

I've tried to write my way out of this, but words are failing me.  The bad apples in the public sector (see Bell, California) have most certainly tainted people's thoughts about public employees.  That lingering taint is the fertilizer for those who would blame unions and public pensions for the current economic meltdown.  Granted, times change and it's necessary to revisit wages and benefits in light of current realities.  That's what negotiations are expressly able to do.  But the scale of the Bell corruption does not compare to the ginormous ripoff of the credit default swap scam courtesy of Wall Street or the housing bubble or the cost of two wars that were never funded the old-fashioned way (with tax increases).

So, while the truly greedy continue unabated by any new regulation, picking on the dozing middle class appeared to be as easy as gathering the low hanging fruit.  At least that what's they thought until Wisconsin.  The intensity of this current political theater, with the teabag brigade approaching, will be compelling and tense.  The last act may dictate an historic sea change one way or the other in this country.  Stay tuned and stay safe.

PS - This year, after months of considering the current economic climate, my group took a 5% cut requested by upper management.  Our group chose the method of reduction - options included increased contributions to pension, increased contributions to health insurance costs, or pay cut.  That's called negotiating - a practice the governor of Wisconsin is not willing to even discuss. 

Photo Credit:  AP Photo - Racine, Wisconsin 
Tune:  Michael McDonald - a favorite from the Doobie era