By Jack Neworth
Women of Venice (actually, all across the country) it’s time to wake up as decades of progress are about to be rolled back. At the risk of sounding like a modern-day Paul Revere, “The misogynists are coming! The misogynists are coming!”
Yes, gals, conservative politicians nationwide are pushing bills that would require you to undergo invasive ultrasounds before an abortion, extend abortion waiting times, allow employers to fire you for using contraception, and require you to tell your employer what you use contraception for. (Draw them a map, perhaps?) And you thought Rush Limbaugh was bad?
Actually, I feel like Rip Van Winkle waking up to a world I don’t recognize. I thought equal rights for women had been decided decades ago. Then again I thought the evolution question had been resolved during the Scopes trial in 1925. Evidently not.
So here we are in 2012 and I’m wondering where did this war against women come from? And why? It’s so extreme lately that Rep. Richard Hanna (R-New York), campaigning to get re-elected, is telling women to support Democratic candidates if they want their rights protected. Obviously Hanna isn’t counting on Tea Bagger support in November.
National attention to this issue hit a peak last month on the disturbingly popular Rush Limbaugh radio broadcast. Seemingly out of nowhere, Rush verbally attacked and tried to humiliate Sandra Fluke, a 23-year-old law student. Why, you ask? Because Ms. Fluke had the audacity to testify before Congress in support of female contraception being covered by health insurance. (By the way, Viagra has been covered since 1998.)
On three successive days Rush called Ms. Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” and suggested that he’d pay for female contraception in return for “her sex tapes being put online.” It’s hard to imagine but Rush may have hit a new low in repulsiveness. (In 2008 he mocked Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease and accused him of faking it or purposely not taking his medications.)
Frankly, I still can’t understand how Darrell Issa’s Congressional committee, the one Ms. Fluke wanted to testify before, and which was dealing with women-related health issues, had only men testify. Issa (R-CA) said Ms. Fluke wasn’t “qualified.” (Because she didn’t have a penis?)
Apparently Limbaugh has serious issues with anyone who disagrees with him, but especially women. Just examine his endless references to Nancy Pelosi as the “Botox queen.” Attacking someone’s appearance is pathetic enough, but in this case, it’s also hypocritical when the attacker looks like Rush. (Something about people who live in glass houses.)
After a national uproar, Rush eventually “apologized” saying he used a poor choice of words. So instead of calling Ms. Fluke a “slut” he should have said “tramp?” Or instead of saying she was a “prostitute” he could have referred to her as “a lady of the evening?” Rush actually used his non-apology apology to blame liberals for being overly sensitive. A bully like Rush is never genuinely sorry and, of course, whatever hot water he’s in, well, it’s never his fault.
Consider, if Rush had been that vile in describing blacks (using the “N” word) or Jews, or just about any minority. He’d be in line at the unemployment office, or maybe he’d send his cleaning woman. (In 2006 Rush was arrested for having purchased 10,000 OxyContin tablets, using his cleaning woman as his courier.)
The question is, how did it become acceptable in 2012 to demean females or make crude jokes about how the best birth control is when they hold aspirin between their knees? Or, as Rick Santorum suggests, that all contraception is wrong. (If anything is wrong it’s Rick’s sweater vests.)
Is the GOP right-wing purposely trying to alienate 51% of the voters to appeal to fundamentalists who think women’s rights ought to be rolled back to the middle ages? (Or at least back to 1952.) That sounds more like the Taliban than America.
Here’s a slightly disturbing statistic. (Actually more than slightly.) In countries around the world with the highest percentage of females in national legislatures, the U.S. ranks 69th. That’s embarrassing.
And a few weeks ago, Willard (”etch a sketch”) Romney said, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” Planned Parenthood provides services to 3,000,000 women, including vital breast cancer screenings.
With his “America never apologizes” attitude, it would seem that wars are likely to continue with Willard in the White House. Somehow there’s always money for wars, but breast cancer screenings are breaking the budget.
Frankly, I don’t know why women aren’t screaming mad. (From personal experience, they frequently are at me.) I’m hoping the women of Venice (and all across the country) speak up to stop this insanity. If not, as Rip Van Winkle might have said, “I’m going back to bed.”