Friday, March 02, 2012

Where Have All The Good Men Gone?

“Where have all the good men gone?”  … [ And why are all the good women silent? ]

To borrow a line of thought from an old, familiar song,"Where have all the flowers gone?" Sitting here today, the dark side of my nature wonders briefly ...for just a fleeting moment: if, in truth, there ever were any... But that thought all too quickly passes as my inner light gently whispers its never-fading hope that Peace and Love will prevail.  Thus, I shall do my very best to push aside the negative influences of my interactions with some men in my own personal life (the reasons for my dark nights and horrible nightmares) and try to be semi-diplomatic as I venture forth into the murky waters of the controversy of this day.

The word "hypocrisy" is ringing rather loudly in my ears as I try to compose my thoughts …

“Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.” 
~La Rochefoucauld

Ah, Glorious Hypocrisy … The mantle of our American society in this day and age, especially, I would have to say.  Then again, thinking back to days long since gone by … before modern day birth control … images of brothels, whores, bastards and marital infidelity spring readily to mind so perhaps this hypocrisy is long-lived and deep rooted after all?

Why is it that whenever the subject of birth control comes onto the table the narrative goes straight to the sexual promiscuity of a woman who would want to use birth control in the first place? The fact that  women having access to birth control gives all the Viagra-addled men running around in our modern-day society an outlet for their drug-induced state aside … not all women who would use birth control desire this option as an enabler to be sexually promiscuous. Many women use birth control pills to regulate and balance hormones. A large percentage of women who choose to use birth control are married women who want to have a modicum of control over their reproductive health … women who want to have a say as to when they will have children, how many children they will have and the spacing of those children.  A woman being able to have a say in making these choices is empowered to have aspirations in addition to bearing and raising children. A woman who has a degree of control over her reproductive health can have a career, working outside the home if she so desires, and be able to compete on a more level playing field with her male counterparts.  A part of me wonders if this is the real threat to men like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and other religious conservatives who continually insist on bringing the narrative back to sexual promiscuity; they fear women who are empowered. Without birth control women can be kept in their ‘proper place’ and all that currently ails our misguided modern-day society would then be 'miraculously' healed? 

With the defeat of the “Blunt Amendment” in the U.S. Senate earlier in the week, the contraception mandate‘issue’ has evolved beyond being a “freedom of conscience (religious)” issue: now it’s a fiscal issue, right?  “We should all be up in arms that the government wants to use our 'taxpayer dollars' (*see below) to fund the sexual promiscuity of women!” shout the angry white men.  And I only say ‘white’ because as of yet, I’ve not heard any other men --or women for that matter-- shouting this rhetoric from their media pulpits.  Seriously? Do we really want to go there: the ‘moral test’ to determine valid medical conditions to be covered under universal healthcare insurance packages?

I find Bill O’Reilly’s argument in his on-air commentary this evening –“Talking-points Memo”-- that birth control and Viagra are not equivalent because, paraphrasing … “Viagra addresses a legitimate medical condition in a man and birth control does not do the same thing for a woman” … to be laughable, at best (albeit a shrill, mocking laugh).  Hormone imbalance is a medical condition, Mr. O’Reilly, and so is pregnancy.  It’s not apples and oranges as you dismissively suggested after all. And if, as you suggest, you don’t want “[your] my hard-earned tax dollars* used to fund [law student’s] sexual activities” or any woman’s sexual promiscuity, then why would you be okay with enabling and paying for  a man’s sexual promiscuity.  If a woman can abstain, so can a man, right? Why is a man’s need to engage in sex any more valid than a woman’s? You say you don’t want the government "in our bedrooms", Mr. O'Reilly, but to follow your line of reasoning we would need someone --dare I say, the dreaded government?-- to establish legitimate criteria for "enabling sexual activity" … that is to say, if you follow the argument that a man only wants to use Viagra so that he can have children verses using Viagra to support his extra-curricular activities.

Furthermore, on the issue of a ‘moral test’ to determine valid medical conditions to be covered under universal healthcare insurance packages: what about obesity? “Gluttony” is one of the “seven deadly sins", is it not? Under the ‘moral test’ line of reasoning, some would argue “why should tax-payer dollars (*see below) be used to pay for medical conditions that are the direct result of the bad choices made by individuals who indulge in overeating (e.g., type of diabetes caused by obesity,  resultant foot, leg, back problems, heart conditions).” There are likely a whole host of other medical conditions for which a similar argument could made. Can you see how the need to apply a ‘moral test’ in determining valid medical conditions is, in a truth, a rather weak argument at best and an extremely slippery slope in the long-run.

===>[* "taxpayer dollars" ...the accepted argument being that the cost for covered services is passed along to the public in the form of higher health insurance premiums, where carrying of health insurance is mandated by the Federal Government --“individual mandate”-- in “Obama-care.” Although, technically speaking, it is not ‘taxpayer dollars’, but rather money taken directly out of the insurance purchaser’s pocket. I think that the words “taxpayer dollars” are more of an attention-grabber, used for the express purpose of fueling emotions which often precludes logical thought processes. Furthermore, no-one is asking for anything to be “FREE”; women merely want access to affordable contraception medications and services, which healthcare coverage would undeniably provide. And if we are talking from a purely "cost" perspective here, I would venture that insurance companies would find little difficulty in producing a veritable mountain of data to demonstrate that the costs for contraception medications and services --specifically tubal ligation, hysterectomy and vasectomy-- are considerably lower than the associated costs for: 1) care during pregnancy, 2) delivery of a baby and 3) a new dependent to be added a healthcare policy after the delivery.]<===

I have to give the Democrats a lot of credit on this “contraception” issue … I have always felt that my interests as a U.S. citizen were best served by the Republican party. Even when my own personal issues were not adequately addressed by the Republican Party (hence, my referring to myself as an ‘Independent Republican’), I reasoned that the Republican Party was the greater-good for the country as a whole.  I even had a hand in converting my Democrat husband over to the Republican Party early on in our marriage.  My husband claimed, at the time of his conversion, that “The Democratic Party is not the party that it used to be any longer.” Sitting here today and watching the debate on this contraception issue unfold, I am beginning to wonder if  “The Republican Party is not the party it used to be any longer”? 

I just can’t rationalize the paradoxal stance of conservatives, so adamantly opposed to having the federal government infringe upon an individual’s or the Church's rights, having absolutely no problem turning right around and infringing upon the rights of women. Maybe, the times are once again changing? I have three daughters, who will one day soon venture out into the world to fend for themselves, and I have to think ahead and consider what will be in their best interests then as well as now. I know that contraception is just one 'issue', but individuals response to this issue speaks volumes about the attitude of larger groups within our country towards the roles that women should play in our society. Quite frankly, the conservative response to this issue is proving to be judgmental, intolerant --not to mention hypocritical-- frightfully condescending and dismissive to my way of thinking. This is a side to the Republican Party that I do not like and cannot find any truthful way to appreciate.  Perhaps, for the moment there are bigger issues facing our nation as a whole? Perhaps, I am wise enough to look beyond this "contraception issue" to the larger issues facing our nation for now, but I can honestly say that many other women, independents and moderates will not be willing to do the same.

My family and Republican friends will, of course argue, that I am "being used by the Democratic Party" by succumbing to this "hot-button" issue and that I should "rise above it" ... But how do you honestly rise above BEING A WOMAN? ... Aside from succumbing to suppression and denial by silently smiling and nodding congenially right along to the song of party & religious rhetoric?

As for Rush Limbaugh's radio comments on Wednesday: they are not worthy of my commenting here, as his remarks were not at all respectful to the law school student, Ms. Fluke --or women in general-- constructive to a meaningful discussion of topic at hand, or worthy of a news-focused, current events radio talk-show host commentator. The latter being said, Mr. Limbaugh's remark to the effect that taxpayer dollars should be used to fund video posting of the promiscuous sexual activities of women who receive "taxpayer funded birth control" ..."so we can all watch"?!? ... does begin to get at the heart of the true root of 'moral decay' in our society.

In closing, I am left wondering ... What does it truly mean to be a good woman?  Why are all the 'good women' --in the eyes of conservatives-- remaining silent (i.e., towing the party-line) on this contraception issue?  Am I willing to conform "for the greater good" in the short term? And if so, what will happen in the long term?

Alas, Timing is (once again) everything ... As tomorrow finds the State Caucuses upon us here in Seattle and surrounding cities throughout the State of Washington.

Follow-up:  On Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

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