17 July, 2014

Arise My Sisters!

I make no presumption, but I cannot be silent in the face of evident foolishness, duplicity, and apparent betrayal.

"Buzzfeed recently featured women holding signs that explain why they don’t need feminism.

Some of the reasons these women stated they don’t need feminism:
- They are not victims.
- They don’t blame men for everything.
- They respect all humans, not just one gender.
- They don’t feel the need to demonize men."

Then, an elected Republican member of Congress, Renee Ellmers declared:

“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level… Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they've got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that. …
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go.”

There is something happening here; what it is - is exactly clear! Various female Americans are misrepresenting most female Americans in order to advance an ideology and agenda that denies the full-fledged citizenship and equal humanity of American women.
For a long while, the true story of Women's Suffrage was told in high school history or civics classes.  Over the past four plus decades, the tortuous struggle for unimpeded, unmediated access to safe, legal abortion services and effective contraceptive medicines and methods has been obscured while these same gains have been under stealthy, but relentless attack.

"Women’s health clinics have been closed because Neoconfederate evangelicals falsely assert they are nothing more than abortion mills. Elected officials say that women are dependent on government because of our out-of-control libidos. They say our bodies can naturally reject a rape pregnancy. They have also said that a baby that is created out of rape is something that God intended – all in an effort to ban choice," or even to deny access to effective contraceptive medicines and methods. Those who seek to return America to the 1850's claim contraceptive pills and devices cause abortions when they do not and the Supreme Court declares that the absurdity of this assertion does not matter if those making it believe their falsehood is true.

Representative Ellmers experienced blow back on her ludicrous remarks and declares her: “comments were ‘taken completely out of context’ in the Examiner story. ‘I am a woman, and find it both offensive and sexist to take my words and redefine them to imply that women need to be addressed at a lower level,’ she wrote, blaming ‘certain leftist writers’ for engaging in ‘gotcha’ journalism." She then accuses a former Heritage Foundation writer to be a leftist.

My sisters, as women, are you okay with the fact that in many states, pharmacists can deny your prescription of birth control because they say it is against their religion?  Are you on board with the right of rapists to sue their victims for custody and visitation rights in at least 30 states, if a baby is born as a result of the rape? Do you think employers should have the right to impose their religious strictures on any employee especially female employees regardless of what the employees think? Are you okay with employers being allowed to discriminate based on gender because there is purportedly nothing in the Constitution that specifically mandates equality for males and females?

Looking back in history, we can thank so many women for their struggles and their bravery.  Harriet Tubman risked her life to free slaves and she was a fierce advocate for women’s suffrage. Gloria Steinem was the first female journalist to write about having an abortion and Malala Yousafzai took a bullet in the head because she was determined to get an education – and she still fights. How can you say this is victimhood?

I choose to fight for all women. I want all of us to be recognized as equal in the constitution. I choose to fight so the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) will be ratified. If you are not familiar with the text, have a look:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Although, I believe the Fourteenth Amendment has settled the question of equal rights for all persons born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of its laws, the reprehensible state of practice makes it clear that the intent has not been carried into anything like full effect. Therefore, let us join together and strive to pass a Twenty-eighth Amendment that will make the equality of rights for all unmistakably clear. 

Let us come together as sisters and brothers and fulfill the definition of feminist stated by Gloria Steinem: “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”  For me, labels are only important insofar as they are informative. If asked, I would characterize myself as a humanist: one who believes human dignity, interests, well-being and fulfillment in the natural world through the application of reason, scientific inquiry and constructive benign action. As Ms. Steinem makes evident, the two terms are highly compatible.

That being the case, let us call one another brother and sister and go forward arm in arm to make the assertion of human equality uttered so long ago in such audacious confidence the truly exceptional attribute of America in her third full century.


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