I have watched the political hyjinks around the Republican Presidential primary season with an odd mixture of exuberant amusement and utter horror.
After all, this bunch is just funny.
I am a lifelong Democrat, born and bred -- and likely far more liberal leaning than my parents ever contemplated. I believe that government ought to take care of the poor and vulnerable; the elderly and those without any voice. I am not a free market fan. True some things are well served by allowing the marketplace to balance demand and set prices, but there are a very great many places where supply and demand does not do the right thing: healthcare, education, energy policy (to name just a few). Too, as will surprise no one who has read here for anytime at all, I am a card carrying (literally) feminist. I think that people ought to have all the same rights regardless of their sex, and I think it is a continuing shame that our constitution still deprives women of equal rights. I have worked for decades now to make a world better and safer for those young folks who will come after me -- my own daughter and my granddaughters, but for their brothers, too. A fairer, more equal world would be a better place for us all.
So just imagine how the crazy Republicans look to someone like me. Really. Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney. Not to mention the former candidates that have dropped out -- Jon Huntsman, Herbert Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Anti-abortion, anti-social security, anti-medicare/medicaid, defense of marriage, anti contraception, repeal health care reform, protect the rich and ignore the poor, drill in the wilderness, and deny the science of climate change -- and stomp around the world bombing the heck out of anyone that looks or thinks differently than "we" do. Did I get all of it? Probably not, but you get the idea. What a bunch of clowns!
The recent ruckus about required insurance coverage for contraception is the most amazing bit of Republican chicanery ever to be foisted on an unsuspecting public. The difference, though, is that women are not as gullible or foolish as the Republican pols and their religious whack job handlers seem to think. Even inside the Catholic Church, with its medieval, anti-female, patriarchal stance on birth control, most women use their minds to make choices for themselves and their families. The number that gets bandied about says that 98% of CATHOLIC women have used birth control -- nevermind the Pope, the Bishops, and all the rest of the good old boys club.
It really doesn't impact me. I'm well past the time of needing contraception. But I have a daughter and a daughter-in-law, and I have granddaughters. I see, passing through my classroom, year after year, bright, talented young girls with futures as open as the skies. Around me are young women, and their young men, struggling to make good lives for themselves and their children. They deserve the right to make choices about that -- choices in keeping with their beliefs and their needs and the advice of their own personal physicians.
There was a time in human history when women were purely, universally chattel. That remains the reality in some places in the world today. But here? It shouldn't be that way here. The right to contraception is a healthcare issue. It is cliched, I know, but if men got pregnant, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Belief is belief. If you choose to believe that some all-knowing, all-seeing Divine is fussing about the eventual disposition of my (or anyone else's) ova, then I wish you well -- but I do not share your beliefs. So leave me, and my reproductive parts and pieces alone.