You know I give out a weekly “Award of Shame” and it’s serious but I try to present it while being tongue-in-cheek. Yesterday’s went to “White Men Howling At the Moon”. Apparently some of them feel their death grip on power slipping and they must maintain control – or else. Historically we’ve seen what those with power will do to maintain order and exert control over others. We saw the emergence of the Klu Klux Klan after the period of forced enslavement ended. We see the continued rage-a-thon by the Republicans against the current Democratic President that is being supported by corporate media.
Now we have the murder of Dr. George Tiller, an OB/GYN in Witchita who was shot to death while at church. Let’s chew on that one for a minute. The man was at church and murdered by another (white) man who didn’t like the fact that amongst all of the services he provided, one of them was pregnancy termination. Abortions are a controversial subject to be sure. I do believe that if men could get pregnant all the fighting over reproductive choices would not be an issue. Let’s get to nitty gritty, shall we? Personal feelings and religious dogma aside this has always been about control over what a woman (or girl) can and can NOT do with her own body.
From having sex to engaging in sex work, laws and religion interpreted by men from a male perspective for the benefit of men have usually ruled the day. Women who were independent thinkers have been branded witches. The role of women who were early followers of Christ have been downplayed by those interpreting the Bible. The Inquisition focused on courtesans. The Pope wanted Queen Elizabeth I assassinated. Women don’t get pregnant by themselves but they bear the burden of living with whatever consequences occur.
In a perfect world there’d be no need for abortions. Women wouldn’t be raped, molested or abused either. Governments – esp the United States would actually put their money where they claim their values are and provide top-notch (free or low cost) health care, child care and paid time off for both parents. Housing wouldn’t cost some people 2/3s of their income. We wouldn’t have to work 50+ hours just to try to make ends meat. Now I’m certain in this capitalistic, material-possession obsessed country living below one’s means has a profound effect on the self-esteem of many. Yet why allow companies to keep putting out new shiny unaffordable objects every six months?
The President made a statement about how “acts of violence” don’t resolve the “difficult issue of abortion”, but this is about domestic terrorism! Health care providers should never have to be forced to decide whether to assist others when their own personal safety is at stake be it from a war-torn area, to a lower-income neighborhood to gender-based services. Obama needs to make it clear these acts will not be tolerated in this country anymore.
Dr. Tiller had been under constant threat, his clinic bombed and he’d been previously shot! Operation Rescue – which should be classified a terrorist organization – posted Dr. Tiller’s home address and church. Yet he still provided care. Please tell me why law enforcement doesn’t take it up a notch or three when such an act of violence occurs? It may be about a medical facility today but will be about a power plant tomorrow if they don’t learn to respond to these attacks appropriately.
Where’s a woman to go if providers refuse services out of fear of retribution and violence? Or refuse them for “religious” purposes? It isn’t going to stop the need for such services. I realize many are opposed to abortion – even those that have them – but this is not the time to stay in your protective bubble. Just like the rise of degradation in music that has specifically denigrated Black women, the tide will keep rising until it reaches your door. Living your life of quiet dignity does nothing to help those exposed to the harshness of reality or a less sheltered and protected existence. When we allow bad things to go unchecked we are in fact contributing towards the demise of the greater society as a whole.
Again personal beliefs and religion aside we have the (concept of) separation of church and state for a reason. We who have been marginalized in some way must take special heed to not turn on others lest we wind up in an even worse predicament than before. Those of us who know better must not shut our doors and stick fingers in our ears until “it all goes away”. That’s about recognizing how the actions of militant groups, to television commentators making up controversies, to how the “entertainment” industry reinforces a gutter mentality is a threat to our greater society as a whole. That’s not focusing on negativity – it’s a reality check. We have to see these actions as another battle in a very long war being waged in this country. If successful it will spread to other things that some of us hold dear. By then it will be too late. We’ll have no one else to blame but ourselves if we stood by watching passively as the world crashed around our feet.