The Body Politic

9 Feb

Wow. Who knew that women’s parts and reproductive issues were at the heart of our body politic? Can we perhaps raise the level of political and societal discourse above the waist? Maybe even engage more minds and fewer mouths?  Last week it was the dangerous practice of offering mammograms (see “2 Boobs in Texas” post below) to low income women that exposed, and later laid low, the fortunes of the right wing DD’s. This week it’s the unthinkable proposal to offer all women, regardless of race, creed, religion or employer, the option (Merriam-Webster: ” Option -noun. 1: an act of choosing 2: freedom of choice) to have insurance contraception coverage. Whats next? Bible burning? Right wing pundits, including my ideal Republican brain, MSNBC Joe Scarborough, are calling on  First Amendment advocates to rise up against the governments’ ability to dictate rules to religion. Catholics don’t believe in birth control, therefore the government subverts the constitution when it says that all employers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, must offer optional contraception coverage.  Do unto others, anyone?

Ugh. Look, this is America. Our cups and fortunes runneth over in so many ways, but sometimes too, our mouths, to the point that we forget who we are, and what matters most. The valid topic here is the reach and role that government plays in our lives.  With personal liberty comes personal accountability. Live a healthy life and resist the sirens call to slip slide into believing that you’re entitled to government care. Due to the pandemic of ill health and “diabesity” in the U.S., fueled by “SOOA” (sitting on our ass) and “SAD” (Standard American Diet) the government is now our national insurer.  That’s how we’ve come to be embroiled in this issue of condoms vs. The Constitution in the first place. Fight for your own health first, and stop thinking for one moment that you, or anyone, should dictate how women manage theirs. Surely you’ve got better things to do. Eat an organic apple and go for a walk.

Post First Published on February 4, 2012

2 Boobs in Texas

Gail Collins makes an astute point in her NYTimes Op-Ed piece today regarding the Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen unbridling, observing that “…everybody likes breasts – infants, adults, women, men. Really, it’s America’s most popular body part”.  So how the heck did these lefties and righties become entangled in the war between Red and Blue?  Boobs, left to their own devices, get along quite nicely and counter-balance each another.  True, the divide between the two sides vary from wearer to wearer, but there’s a natural harmony regardless.

Texans love boobs too, and yes, bigger is better. But we have other values and cultural mores: open spaces, big possibilities, firm handshakes, rugged independence, UT Longhorns, heat, and icy cold beer. These attributes, along with the Alamo, were enthusiastically celebrated when I was growing up just a couple of blocks from Floore’s Country Store in Helotes. Conservative, catholic, republican, I was nonetheless taught to value the best of both sides, right and left, red and blue, one piece and two, western and english saddles.  Small town but not small minded, we were taught to celebrate the core American ideals alive in The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Heck, we even believed in separation of church and state back then, even in this biggest/best of all states.

With that idyllic state of mind in mind, what’s up with our leaders “messing with Texas”?  This week, yet another prominent (republican) Texan joined Governor Perry in the contest to become biggest boob in the state.  Nancy Brinker, though founding the life saving Susan G. Komen race for The Cure in 1982,  went from a (metaphorical) AA to a DD when she made known her antiabortion agenda by pulling  long-standing funding provided to Planned Parenthood for mammograms. That was actually round two in her campaign, after last year’s hiring of Karen Handel, former pro-life candidate for governor of Georgia, to serve as senior vice president for public policy. Though left breathless and repentant after getting bucked off on the national stage, it remains to be seen whether she and her organization will be able to reclaim their formerly well deserved ten gallon halo of advocacy for women’s health.

If she’s feeling low, however, she can take heart that Texas Governor Perry is still sitting high in his anti-rights, anti-personal liberty, anti-get the hell out of what is none of your business-human rights, saddle. The Texas Governor (aka self-appointed Christian & Chief) led the Texas Legislature to enact the most aggressive anti-abortion rights law since I strummed “Kumbaya” at Holy Spirit in 8th grade mass.

From The Texas Tribune: “The abortion sonogram law, which lawmakers passed last legislative session, requires doctors to perform sonograms and describe what they see, including the size of the fetus and the length of its limbs. The measure has been in court almost since it passed, with opponents arguing it violates doctors’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to disclose information that isn’t medically necessary and that the woman may not want to hear.”Gov. Rick Perry also praised today’s ruling, calling it “a victory for all who stand in defense of life.”He added that the sonogram measure “ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision.”  The Texas Tribune Judges: Texas Can Enforce Sonogram Law Now by Emily Ramshaw1/10/2012

Hmmm. Pretty judgy for someone who can’t hold more than two thoughts in his head. He, partnered with his trusty sidekick, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, is steadfastly riding the range, herding the cows and branding them with his demigod hot iron.  Bum Steer indeed.

Folks, we need to get a grip on the reins. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. Only women know how it feels to slip into those stirrups, and only we can, and should, decide on our bodies, our beliefs, our destiny and our health.  Saddle up for personal liberty:  right or left, red or blue, english or western, AA or B, C or D. Don’t be a boob.

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2 Responses to “The Body Politic”

  1. foodfromthegarden February 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Interesting observation. I love your writing style.

  2. JL February 13, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    I am reading your blogs… Love them… But you know me, older male, canadian, crazy canuck, educated by catholic priests… As a consequence became areligious and apolitical… issue of the post-hippie era, anti-Vietnam war, woman’s-lib movement and, even though it is easy to say for me since it is not my body …pro-choice. I know !.. I was in the streets!!

    I gave 25 + years to socialistic beliefs but then turned a little capitalistic in my later years…heck I would not be here… But these political games about women’s rights… dictated by MEN in power to either please evangelical rhetorics… or to challenge them… for their own political gain , drive me bonkers!!! Politics is all about power!
    Maybe I am wrong… Are you as confused as I am! Would love to understand this crazy world!!

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