Thursday, May 16, 2019

What It's About

It’s not about the babies.

It never has been.  It never will be.

If the people currently turning Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and various other American states into blasphemous theocratic hellholes really gave a rat’s ass about children, their states would look very different. 

They’d have programs in place to make sure that every child gets enough to eat.  To make sure they had decent housing.  To make sure they had the basics of life that are so often lacking in a country with the pre-industrial levels of inequality that we have.

There would in fact be strenuous efforts to avoid those unsustainable gaps in wealth, to create affluence for everyone rather than the favored few, and to make sure that those who benefited most from society did not hoard their good fortune but instead gave back to that society so that others might benefit as well, so that those born might have lives not spent in poverty.

Their school systems would be well-funded, with small class sizes, highly trained and paid teachers respected by the lawmakers who set their budgets, so that every child – not just the privileged ones – had the skills and knowledge to get ahead in this world.  That knowledge would be based in reality, in science and scholarship, not hallucinatory ideology or the worship of the cruelest and least worthy version of a deity that the human mind could engineer.

They’d have healthcare systems that were open to all, not reserved as a privilege for the wealthy, the white, and the well connected, systems that preserve life rather than simply extend it for the privileged and deny it to others.

They’d have strict controls on firearms, particularly automatic, semi-automatic, and high-power weaponry.  There would be no controversy over this, and every time some pathetic loser decided to take out his (almost always his, you notice) shortcomings on the innocent those restrictions would get stricter.  There would only be concern for life.

There would be transparency in criminal justice systems so that children and – radical, I know – even adults would not be railroaded into losing their life’s years on false charges and misapplied punishments.

There would be no enthusiasm about putting brown-skinned Spanish-speaking children in cages for claiming the right of asylum – a right guaranteed by American and international law, by the way, not that laws seem to matter to those who have no moral qualms about ripping children from their families and putting them in cages.

There would be no children who have been raped being deliberately traumatized by being forced to bear their rapist’s baby.  The life of the mother would actually mean something and be protected.

You’ll notice that none of this is true.

That’s because none of those people really give a damn about children at all.  That is not now nor has it ever been the point of the “pro-life” movement.  That movement has always been about controlling women.  About reversing the gains of the feminist movement.  About keeping women poor, ignorant, pregnant, and easily controlled.

It’s about treating women as “hosts” (their word, in fact, and they use it freely if you pay attention) rather than people.  As brood mares.  As anything other than actual human beings with rights of their own.  As anything other than equal citizens.

If you are not blisteringly angry about the way women are being treated in this country then there is no hope for you.

It’s not about the babies.

It never has been.  It never will be.

It’s not about small government either. 

There’s nothing small about a government that can reach directly into the body of a citizen and say, “This part here, that’s not yours anymore.  That belongs to us now and you have no right to control it.” 

That’s totalitarianism, and the fact that it’s dressed up in red, white, and blue and drowned in pretty little buzzwords doesn’t change that.

You want religious totalitarianism?  Go to Iran.  Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

It’s not about the babies. 

It never has been.  It never will be.

It’s not even about reducing abortions.

If it were that, there would be comprehensive, medically sound sex education, designed by doctors who understand the science and implemented by educators who teach rather than indoctrinate. 

There would be safe, effective contraception available for free under that inclusive healthcare system that should have been put in place above.

There would be actual medical knowledge being used to make laws instead of basing public policy on the ignorant ravings of dime-store preachers and the quivering hatreds of the jumped up fools who make up such a large percentage of our current crop of state legislators in the US. 

There would be genuine efforts to punish rapists rather than excuse them, coddle them, and let them go free.

There would be systems in place to hold men responsible for the babies they create, systems that would be rigorously enforced.

There aren't these things in those places.  There aren't any of these things in those places.

It’s not about the babies.

It never has been.  It never will be.

And until you recognize this simple fact you will never understand what it really is about.


LucyInDisguise said...

Oddly enough, your first 10 statements are, in point of fact, true - you just have to go to Denmark. Or nearly any other civilized nation where the average IQ is slightly higher than your average house plant.

I'm glad I'm not a world traveler. I'd be embarrassed to present a US passport anywhere outside our borders.

Alabama's Governor: "Every life is precious." (As they prepare to execute yet another human - sorry, "non-conformist".)

The irony is enough to make me puke.


David said...

Sometimes I think you can drop the word "other" in your first paragraph.

The US is a great country. It has great virtues. And great flaws. And right now the dominant voices are the ones pushing the cruelty, the bigotry, the moral bankruptcy, and the general thuggery that civilized human beings consider signs of barbarism. As long as those voices are the loudest ones in this country, we're fucked.

And as long as those voices are loud, I'm going shout back at them.

Fuck them sideways. This is my country. They can't have it.

LucyInDisguise said...

I think, at least for the time being, I will leave the "other" in that sentiment; we have not yet descended into barbarism, even though the rethuglicans appear bent on returning us to the 14th Century.

Nothing in my previous comment should be construed as capitulation on my part. I once took up arms in defense of this country, and stand ready to do so again if necessary. In the meantime, it should be noted that shouting rarely works. As volume increases, listening decreases. (One of the first things I learned as a parent!) You may use an amplifier to drive your point home but speak softly, in measured, reasoned tones. Once the evidence becomes clear that logic and reason will not, or can not work, then it's time to bring on the 'Tough Love'.

Periodically, though, in order to maintain your own sanity, it helps to go somewhere & SCREAM!* without regard to who may be listening.

Thank you for giving this old white guy a place to do that.


*Just in case >>>

David said...

Oh yes - there are, as noted, great virtues in this country. And I've come to know you too well to think you'd capitulate on such things. And you're welcome for the space. We need to shout together.

But voices matter. Even if those you're shouting at aren't listening, others are.

The kinds of moral vacuums who would pass or support legislation like the barbarisms being vomited forth in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and so on are not going to listen to reasoned, measured tones, in my experience. They simply need to be shouted down before they destroy too much to recover.

But there are others who need to hear that they're not alone. Who need to know that the moral vacuums aren't the only ones, or even the majority. Who need comfort in times of crisis. And if that means shouting louder than the vacuums, so be it. I'm shouting at the vacuums, but I'm not really addressing them other than to let them know generally that they have opposition who isn't having any of their shit. No, I'm trying to reach the ones who the vacuums are trying to isolate and destroy, and let them know they are not alone.

Face it - I'm the poster child for privilege in this society. I'm a straight, white, middle-class man, and for good or ill that means my voice carries further than that of a lot of people. I have a responsibility to use that privilege for the greater good.

So I shout.

It's a matter of what audience I'm trying to reach.

LucyInDisguise said...

Privilege: thou hast a name, and thy name is ... (I am so definitely not going to go there!

Okay, I think I gotta bead on it:

We can agree that the opposition is, for all practical intent or purpose, a lost cause.

I hope that we can agree that shouting at the “moral vacuums” serves no practical goal other than a few moments to vent frustrations and feel better. I hear the screaming and I stop listening. So do most people. We watch the spectacle and absorb it for its entertainment value. Then, I go in search of the calmer, more reasoned voices filled with passion yet well thought out goals and a reasonable plan to achieve them.

The reasoned voice, therefore, is directed at the audience: the spectators, and the as yet undecided or unconvinced. It really is those voices that reach the “others who need to hear that they’re not alone”, and hopefully persuade those who are not a total lost cause of the error in their ways.

The Tough Love will be administered at some point to those who oppose, but here we should also learn Alexander’s lesson. When you are conquering a new land and it’s people, a scorched earth policy is not a way to win hearts and minds. Alexander left the government intact and made it and the people his ally. Alexander never left an occupying army to guard his rear. Rome had to garrison every city.

That, I believe is where The Union failed at the end of The Civil War. And we are still fighting a rearguard action to this very day. We never addressed or corrected the root issues that brought on that war or the bitter resentment at the way the confederacy was brought to heel. Germany learned their lesson at the end of WWII, and until we, as a people, deal with those issues this problem will never go away - it will just go back underground again, as it has done so many times before.


Thor - is that idiot really taking on a Professor of History???? πŸ˜€ What a maroon …

David said...

The Union failed at the end of the Civil War because Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson - a Southerner and a former slave holder - refused to do what was necessary to convince the South that it really had lost the war. Much like the Germans after WWI, they were allowed to win the peace and create myths that centered themselves as the heroes, as if they had been betrayed while fighting some worthwhile cause. The gutting of Reconstruction is one of the greatest tragedies in American history. The South was coddled after the Civil War and allowed to rebuild its society as if the war had never happened. They fought to extend the empire of human slavery and they should have NEVER been allowed to forget that fact, because their descendants most assuredly have. The South should have been brought back into the Union as equals only when they recognized and accepted what they had done to the Union and why they had done it. Germany paid that price after WWII, and made that acceptance. The South never has.

The problem with history is there is an analogy for every option.

Alexander's empire barely lasted longer than he did, after all.

LucyInDisguise said...

“The problem with history is there is an analogy for every option.”

I think that’s an actual feature, not a bug. πŸ˜€

“Alexander's empire barely lasted longer than he did, after all.”

True enough, but it was because he died, not his failure to govern wisely. Although, he did fail to train his replacement, or, for that matter, even designate one.

When one takes the time to consider, the parallels are uncanny.


David said...

You know, it’s funny.

This post has been shared a great many times since I wrote it, and I’ve spent some time looking at how people have reacted to it.

It is uniformly men who tell me that I need to tone it down. It is uniformly men – people who are not being relegated to brood mare status by their own governments, who are not being treated with all of the calculated cruelty that an entire political party and social movement can muster, who are not being told that their rapists have more rights than they do to their own bodies – who feel I need to be more reasonable so as to sway people to my views.

The women who have reacted to this post have generally been happy that – at last – someone who isn't directly threatened by these damnable laws and the cruelty that motivates them has responded with the anger that is appropriate and in no uncertain terms.

I have received no requests for reasonableness from any woman on this issue. Only from men.

I believe I will listen to the women on this one.

LucyInDisguise said...

Whooooaaahhh there Nellie!

Never said tone it down. Redirect the message, yeah. Your targets are deaf and stupid. And they won't change. Lower the volume, perhaps (recommended an amplifier, but still ...) Screaming at them ain't helping.

But tone down the rhetoric? Dampen the outrage? Soften the anger or the message? Fuck no! If it were in any way permissible (or even if I thought I could get away with it) I would stake every last traitorous bastard out on an anthill in the desert sun. And laugh.

AND ULTIMATELY, Yes! In point of fact, women are the only ones you should be listening too! Huzza!

Going out of town for a few days. No access to a computer. Sending matches and lighter fluid. And a Flare Gun. Burn the place to the ground!


David said...

Well, then, my apologies for misinterpreting you!

We'll start with the anthills and then burn it all down and start over.