Women Deserve Better

            “There is a religious war going on in this country,” former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told the 1992 Republican convention in a primetime address. “It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America.

            Have the times changed much since 1992 – or have they merely grown more intense?

            Might there actually be full-blown, cultural civil wars underway today?

            One might tend to think so, even though the vitriol is admittedly exacerbated in a Presidential election year.

            If indeed the cultural civil wars are underway though, the so-called “War on Women” can certainly be regarded an incendiary flashpoint in the conflagration.

            Of course, one side says there’s no such thing as a War on Women, or that it’s all a con game by liberals hoodwinking for votes.  Some even go so far as to turn it upside down and declare it is actually the Democrats, not the Republicans, that are waging a War on Women.  Out of curiosity, I’ve taken the time to peruse some of these arguments and have honestly been astounded yet fascinated by the twisted reasoning and fallacious logical trails they follow.  Much like the climate change deniers, those denying a War on Women – or foisting it on someone or something else – are oblivious to scientific and/or demonstrable facts, and often use religion as their sole justification for their assertions.

            Women deserve better.

            In reality, it’s simple enough to take a look at what has actually been happening since the Tea Party movement thrust the GOP back into power in 2010.  These Republicans promoted their mandate as reigning in government spending, while simultaneously promising jobs, jobs, jobs.  In attempting to reduce spending, they nearly caused a government default; they provoked a national credit rating drop, and now have us rushing headlong in the direction of a fiscal cliff.  And as far as the pledged jobs, jobs, jobs campaign is concerned, the GOP has actually led concerted efforts to obstruct and exploit, with little tangible being instituted employment-wise.

            In spite of such smoke and mirrors, the Tea Party and GOP have been quite busy with other matters at the same time.  There has been no hesitation when it comes to leading sorties, sallies, and all out assaults in the cultural civil wars on female autonomy and independent, individual choice when it comes to a woman’s own body.

            Early on – and merely through March of 2011 – almost one thousand anti-abortion related bills were introduced across the country.  A timeline by Emily’s List also vividly displays continuing Republican assaults on the autonomy of women’s choices through mid-July 2012.  And all this was before dunderhead candidate for Senate Todd Akin made his infamous pronouncement about “legitimate rape” and magical qualities he believes the female body might retain.  Of course the GOP’s strict anti-abortion platform carried the same cultural civil war message at the Republican convention.  To tally things up when it comes to House Republicans, it’s calculated that there were fifty-five anti-woman votes since 2011.  And as if to prove there is no letting up, in the last week or so the Missouri legislature chimed in on yet another attack on women’s health.

            Women deserve better.

            The question obviously arises: Why are the Tea Partiers, the GOP, and conservatives so obsessed with turning back the clock and denying free and independent choice for individual females, when it comes to their own bodies and decisions regarding their bodies?

            The answer is simple.  The GOP and their supporters at this flashpoint in the cultural civil wars admit, without hesitation or chagrin, they are driven by religion.  What that generally refers to, of course, is the Judeo-Christian tradition that tells them what is morally right or wrong.  Naturally, they aren’t cognizant enough to admit they simultaneously become moral bigots when attempting to inflict their beliefs and values on all, but rather they are quite willing to allow that it’s all about religious liberty when they don’t believe a woman has an open right to birth control, abortion, or contraception.

            Justifying their religious restrictions that can consign a woman to death to save a fetus, or give zygotes “personhood” rights while stripping a woman of her rights, or a host of other misogynistic degradations, these social conservative-regressives claim their “Good Book” legitimizes the same on the basis of  “Divine Inspiration” – whatever that is.

            Divine inspiration or not, however, it is still written by man.  Or, to be more specific – written by men.  Paternalistic and domineering men that sought, and still seek, to suppress and subjugate women.  These were and are men that believe women morally incompetent and incapable of ordering their own world, and of taking charge of their own reproductive choices.  And the only remedy, of course, is that they must be managed and controlled by fathers, husbands, and sons.

            But really, what type of men write these paternalistic Bibles and who are their ilk today that follow in the stead of dominance, control, and suppression?

            Even though their mindset teaches them to believe the opposite, they are in truth the weakest and most unmanly of men.  First and foremost, they are bullies; anxious and fearful in their hearts, and insecure in their own skins.  What they don’t understand becomes a threat to them and their inner powerlessness.  They lack the depth to breathe the free air of a soul’s independence and interdependence; as a result, they strike out from their baseness to dominate, control, and suppress what is beyond their ken.

            Never are they awestruck, nor are they capable of delighting in the mysteries of the feminine, for they fear their capabilities in dealing with it.  In so far over their heads, these archaic cretins have no viable options open when it comes to what confounds them.  Thus, the only recourse is to viciously attack outwards in order to dominate and control.  Justification for such contemptible actions is accomplished with ease, however, for the belief in the rectitude of such injustice is validated by virtue of their patriarchal religious teachings that have always strong-armed and subjugated the “weaker” sex, with “fatherly concern”.  And if that power and control and suppression nowadays manifests itself in involuntary transvaginal probes (read: induced rape), or in suggestions that women should carry stillborn fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do, well, so be it.

            Simply put, these truly weak and most unmanly of men are anxious and unnerved by all things feminine.  And there is nothing worse to this primitive mind than the woman who is autonomous, independent of their control and exploitation.  What they fear most, in their heart of hearts, is metaphorically becoming a word of their own creation, a cuckold, a man who has lost his power and control over a woman – or collectively, women – who have claimed their independence.  In fact, it fills them with dread.  In such a situation, the only recourse for such primitives of the soul is to redouble their efforts with more bullying, more oppression, and more bills and legislation against women and women’s health rights.

            Women deserve better.

            Fortunately, many women today are very much aware of this world and are demanding their rightful autonomy and independence.  In a modern age where technology has provided birth control and safe family planning, no longer must they be perpetually constrained to being barefoot and pregnant – and under the suppressive thumb of those truly weak and most unmanly “men”.

            Women deserve better – than to be at the flashpoint of the cultural civil wars being waged by mutton-headed bullies that are shored up by the oppressive patriarchy of the religious.  Yes, women deserve better.  And what would happen if the worst fears of these domineering male brutes and misogynistic power mongers came to pass – as it someday inevitably will?

            Indeed, what is in the offing when a more egalitarian interaction between the sexes becomes the norm?

            A collective shift of consciousness from what is prevalent today would be unavoidable.  Just as LGBT rights are becoming more acceptable to the general society with each passing year, so too when the repressive male bullies are cuckolded, when women and men of integrity and honesty fully spurn the religious moral bigots, it is likely interpersonal relationships will necessarily evolve toward an authentic partnership, instead of a “war of the sexes”.

            At the heart of such a consciousness shift is obviously a progressive maturation of power relations between people.  The need to wield power over others is a sign of developmental immaturity: for the greater one’s own emotional advancement, the less need there is to stifle, control, and suppress others.  When not hobbled by the weakness of male-dominant exploitation and subjugation, women and the species as a whole can only benefit.

            Back in 1992, Pat Robertson might well have been quite prescient in what he said about religious and cultural wars – although not necessarily in the way he might have imagined the outcome or longed for.  What we may have here, in 2012 and beyond, is not merely a war for the soul of America, but a battle to set a new course into the future – for both women and men of this planet.

            It is past time for the charlatan male bullies and brutes and religious moral bigots to be unmasked and seen for just how despicable they are – when they seek to enslave and suppress the feminine.

            Women deserve better.

It’s the Culture, Stupid!

            It’s the culture, stupid!

            Or is it the stupid culture?

            Pollsters, prognosticators, pundits, and politicians tell us otherwise, of course.  Constantly we’re bombarded by the drums pounding jobs, jobs, jobs, and ominous reminders of how – “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

            But is it really the stupid economy?

            It must be, for so we’re told at every turn.

            Simply snatch up any convenient article, like this one from the Washington Post, with the latest Washington Post – ABC News polls, and you get statistics that explain, “the still struggling economy amounts to a huge political weight around President Obama’s ankles.”  And because of economic factors, the simple conclusion here: “Obama could win the day-to-day part of the race and still lose on November 6.”

            If perhaps you want something even more demonstrative and definitive to prove the point, take this piece about a computer-forecasting model done by political scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Blithely, the reader is informed that this analysis of election factors has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1980.  And guess what – Mitt Romney will be the big winner this year.

            According to CU Professor Kenneth Bickers, election prediction models “suggest that presidential elections are about big things and the stewardship of the national economy. It’s not about gaffes, political commercials or day-to-day campaign tactics.”

            It’s the economy, stupid.  . . . Or, so we’re told.

            Even when a harmonic is sounded corresponding with what’s really going on underneath all this blathering about the economy, when a dunderhead like Congressman Todd Akin spouts his gibberish about “legitimate rape,” and how “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” writers like historian Dr. Tim Stanley note: “For the Democrats, Akin’s comments are paydirt.  Obama has been trying for eight months to switch the narrative of 2012 away from jobs and onto culture, and this is his perfect opportunity.  Still, since Akin’s standing in the polls altered little after his remarks, Dr. Stanley suggests that, “economics continues to eclipse social policy in the popular mind.”

            So, it is the economy, eh, stupid?

            It must be.  Why otherwise would Mitt Romney select House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate?  Preaching the gospel of fiscal austerity, promising to take from the poor and give to the rich, Romney/Ryan know full well the 2012 election is all about the economy and if they harp on it enough, they might prove computer generated models correct.

            But maybe, just maybe, it could all be the smokescreen of the economy, stupid!

            Don’t for a minute linger on (one example), the lack of job bills produced by the recent obstructionist GOP that drummed jobs, jobs, jobs – even though they concurrently attempted to push over thirty abortion-related bills through the House.

            And why in the world would we want to focus on Romney’s specific jobs plan?

            After all, writer Mike Konczal easily perceives Romney’s plan is the same old GOP plan as John McCain had in 2008, and the same as George W. Bush had in 2006 and 2004.  Konczal sums it up by noting: “The same exact playbook is there in 2006, as it was in 2004 and 2008, and as it is in 2012. Domestic oil production, school choice, trade agreements, cut spending and reduce taxes and regulations — it’s been the conservative answer to times of deep economic stress, times of economic recovery, times of economic worries, and times of economic panic. Which is another way of saying that the Republicans have no plan for how to actually deal with this specific crisis we face.”

            Regardless, even if the Republicans “have no plan,” could it work?

            Now that would be a smart economy, eh? – not stupid!

            Well, after the RNC, the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch chimed in on the doubts concerning Romney’s claims to create 12 million jobs. They said, “Romney’s 12 million jobs plan was met with skepticism, however, as economists wondered how he would be able to create 250,000 jobs a month in the current financial environment. The U.S. created 163,000 jobs in July, the best showing since February.”

            Further, Michael Moran, an economist with Daiwa Capital Markets was quoted in the same article saying, “I think that would be a challenge.  I think it’s unlikely to happen.”  Moran also said, “12 million is an ambitious number,” even as Market Watch noted, “Earlier in the campaign, Romney had suggested 500,000 jobs a month as a target — one that he’s evidently dialed back.”

            Romney’s “plan” may indeed be smoke and mirrors, yet to be fair, what Obama is accomplishing or can accomplish with the obstructionist GOP is obviously not enough.

            So what might be happening here on a deeper level if the air could clear of the ongoing and repetitively shrill verbal smokescreen about the economy?

            Could it be the culture, stupid?

            Or is it the stupid culture?

            Maybe it’s not a stretch to suggest that to have truly sustainable economic progress for the long-term (read: jobs, jobs, jobs), it is necessary to first effect cultural changes.  In fact, it is likely that true cultural change is absolutely necessary and antecedent for authentic economic change to be possible.

            For a moment, let’s imagine a very different cultural future by briefly examining what we have today.

            What we have now is a stupid culture, a very stupid culture.

            It is the product of thousands of years of history and most of us have been brought up under its sway completely unaware.  It is a culture both patriarchal and hierarchal.  It is thoroughly rooted in male dominance that extols virtues of ruthless competition, exploitation, greed, and even violence to achieve self-aggrandizing ends.

            The plutocrats at the top, those we now commonly call the 1%, are forever hell bent on appropriating more and more of the productive surplus of the whole, while consequently reducing what’s been called the 99% to lives of increasing marginalization and destitution.  In a stupid culture ordered and organized this way, half of our species – women – are repressed and suppressed by males of this archaic and cretin mindset and, as a whole, the human species suffers as a result.

            Unfortunately, in this stupid culture, the 99% unwittingly aids and abets the 1% male-dominant organizing principle when heeding either Republican or Democrat calls for jobs, jobs, jobs, and/or “fixing the economy.”  The sad truth is when, “it’s just the economy, stupid” – as in recent election cycles – what’s being promoted is merely a temporary fix for one part (the economy) of a broken culture, a stupid culture.

            Our American economy, indeed, our global economy, often appears anymore to be in a tailspin of disastrous proportions.  And this is not because of the Eurozone crisis, George W. Bush’s economic policies, Obama’s policies, or Romney’s supposed economic “cures.”  The crux of the problem is that we are reaching the tipping point for the viability of that stupid culture.

            Our species on this planet now faces dangers of epic proportions we’ve never before encountered.  Because of the stupid culture, we are confronted by environmental havoc and the reality of diminishing resources while driven relentlessly forth by mindless overconsumption and senseless waste.  A prime example of the lunacy of the stupid culture course is that even while denying the reality of global warming and melting ice in the Arctic, “the companies that caused this disaster are scrambling to profit from it.”  And as far as governments are concerned that are guided by the stupid culture, “their one unequivocal response to the melting has been to facilitate the capture of the oil and fish it exposes.”

            The long and short of it is that the stupid culture has been aggressively destroying the very conditions on which it depends – and is indeed reaching its tipping point.

            So what is the solution?

            It is at once both simple and extremely difficult.

            Change the culture, and you will change the economy.  Change the culture, and you change the politics.  Change the culture – and you rise beyond the stupid culture.

            It is easy enough to imagine a culture different from what we inherited and what is the opposite of what we now “enjoy.”

            It would be a culture where cutthroat competition, exploitation, and greed are not paramount; but people would work cooperatively and collaboratively for the good of the whole.

            It would be a culture where the quality of life is more important than the quantity of possessions.

            It would be a culture where we get it through our thick skulls that this is the only planet we all have, and resources for the survival of our species are limited and must be equitably shared.

            It would a culture where women and men are equal for the betterment of all, an environment where stupid old men no longer attempt to impose their dominance over women with transvaginal probes and suppressive dictates concerning autonomous female bodies.

            The problem is the stupid culture.

            Change the culture, and you’ll change the economy.

            It’s the culture, stupid.

A War On Women – or Religious Freedom?

            In an interview with Newsmax on April 6, Mitt Romney, the likely Republican candidate for President of the United States, was quoted as saying:
            “But there’s no question that over the past several weeks, that a discussion about religious liberty was distorted into a discussion about contraceptives. And there was the somehow Republicans are opposed to contraceptives. I think it was most unfortunate twist by our Democrat friends. I think this will pass as an issue as people understand our real position.”
            Earlier, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said:
            “If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars.  The fact of the matter is that it’s a fiction . . .”
            And then there was Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on a local Kentucky radio on April 9 talking about the GOP and the War On Women. He had this to say:
            “Talk about a manufactured issue — there is no issue,” McConnell said on Louisville, Ky., radio station WHAS-AM, “Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say — and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska — ‘we don’t see any evidence of this.'”
            What the heck is going on here?
            One commentator this week, Annie-Rose Strasser, noted Senator McConnell is either confused or in denial, as three of the four female Republican Senators mentioned – Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – have already come out against their own party’s War On Women.
            Murkowski, in particular, appeared to directly repudiate McConnell by saying:
            “It makes no sense to make this attack on women.  If you don’t feel this an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and daughters.”
            So really, what the heck is going on?
            Writer Stephen D. Foster Jr., in a piece you can read here, believes:
            “Clearly, there is a split among Republicans by gender. Republican men say there isn’t a War On Women, it’s all about religious freedom. While Republican women see this as a War On Women’s reproductive rights. By having the courage to speak out against their male colleagues, female Republicans are confirming that their own party is in fact waging a war against women and that religious freedom is just an excuse being used as a crutch to falsely justify it.”
            Vincent Moore, in his article entitled “The War On Women: A Progressive Man’s View,” goes a little further when he states:
             “The morality-based attack (most recently dressed up in the guise of religious freedom and thereby a question of Constitutional freedom) on women’s reproductive health issues across the nation certainly seems coordinated and calculated by the Right-wing and carried out by the Republican Party and their minions (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News) to disrupt and or upset established societal norms that were hard fought for and codified in establish law since the mid-1960s.”
            In all fairness, it’s not too difficult to agree with Mr. Moore, the father of four daughters and with eight nieces, that the GOP’s War On Women is a morality-based attack and dressed up in the guise of religious freedom.  One doesn’t have to be an Internet search genius either, to find representative examples of the same, but some quick references with links can be found in “No Retreat: 101 Assaults in the War On Women” by Stephanie Whiteside, as well as in Mr. Moore’s articlementioned above.
            Sorry, poor ole rich Mitt, but with respect to your quote above, I don’t think the “unfortunate twist” was done by your Democrat “friends.”  It feels to me more like the twist of a knife between the shoulder blades – while you with your religious liberty, Priebus with his caterpillar women, and McConnell and all your ilk with their confusion/denial – are simultaneously attempting to deliver an endearing, yet utterly duplicitous, peck on the cheek.  And the War on Women is certainly not going to pass as an issue!
            Sorry all you good old boys, but women simply aren’t that stupid!
            On top of that, I tend to agree with Mr. Moore when he also states in his article:
            “For me, the War On Women being waged by Conservatives/Republican Party is neither a moral nor an ethical issue, but one of the fundamental civil and human rights of women. The moral argument fails if the rights of women as full citizens in this nation are to be respected and upheld, and if women are to be afforded equal protection under law! This is a war with abortion and religion at its corrupted core.”
            It is indeed that, Mr. Moore, and yet, I’m fully convinced it’s more than that.  It’s “corrupted core” likely runs much deeper and wider.
            Pulling back, attempting to take in a bigger picture, this chasm, the “corrupted core,” might indeed be seen as a facet of the grander cultural “wars” that have been waging for some time, and will inevitably continue until the necessary changes transpire.
            As mentioned previously in this blog, as the shackles of the cultural mindset that has ensnared much of the planet for thousands of years – that of the male dominant, hierarchical, exploitative, kill-or-be-killed destruction mentality – are cast off and rejected, cultural “wars” such as we’re experiencing here are inevitable.  As our society as a whole painfully struggles its way to a Higher Consciousness by stressing elements of the long-repressed feminine such as cooperation and partnership, as women are indeed afforded full and equal protection under the law, there is no choice but to confront the unavoidable.
            Cultural “wars” are indeed already underway, and they are absolutely essential, if we are collectively to rise to a higher plane so as to realistically deal with long-term sustainability issues for our species on this  planet – the truly overriding concern and ultimate end gauge of success or failure.  And yet these cultural “wars” are not wars in the primitive sense common to the male-dominant understanding.  An “I-conquer-you-or-you-conquer-me” desperation does not fit into the equation here; unfortunately, however, this is something the shallow-pated of a more archaic mindset will never comprehend.  Instead, these newer cultural “wars,” these inevitable cultural transitions now ongoing, are characterized by peaceful shifts to a more enlightened awareness of collective mutual dependency and equality of human rights for all.
            Environmental rape, obsessive consumerism and wasted natural resources, the War On Women and much else are all fronts in the grander cultural “wars” underway.  But with the War On Women now at the forefront, with half our species under attack by the primitive male dominator mindset and its current good-old-boy leadership of confused deniers, it is essential to focus on that very War On Women and firmly reject it.
            And while we’re at it, we might as well note: The War On Women has nothing whatsoever to do with “Religious Liberty!”
            Sorry, poor ole rich Mitt: but we’ll never allow things to get so twisted!