Part I: The Rant
Essentially, our government funds are supporting a racist misogynist in the name of fair and balanced political expression. Enough!
I get the argument that our troops and their families should get to hear uncensored political debate but if the garbage that Rush Limbaugh spouts is meant to edify the military community about the value of conservative belief, then we have some serious problems as a nation. He isn't running a show on political commentary - he produces a personal diatribe against whole classifications of people. And he just added a new one that went a step too far, women. You see, Sandra Fluke isn't a woman standing alone; any woman who has used birth control paid for by their health care plan is Sandra Fluke. That means a hell of a lot of us.
Let's line up, ladies. Let's start a list of those in the military community that receive government funded birth control:
Unmarried female soldiers
Married female soldiers
Military daughters - up until the age of 26
Did you know we were sluts?
Makes me look among the military community a little differently... makes me wonder which ones are the Rush Limbaugh lovers. Is it my neighbor's husband? Or my husband's boss? Maybe it's the pharmacist that hands me my prescriptions? Or the security forces at the front gate? Or, heaven forbid, the military chaplain that is supposed to be there to provide family counseling? Are they all concerned about my sex life? Do they agree with Rush Limbaugh that my sex life should be an open book because I received birth control on the government dime?
It is even worse for our active duty women - who are the Rush Limbaugh lovers in their lives? Is it their boss? Their co-workers? The people who deploy with them to the war zone? Does a deployed woman have to plan her day around Rush Limbaugh hour? Is there any escape from his hate speech?
When women join the military, they give up certain rights but the right to be from sexual harassment is not one of them.
Seriously, I think we need to remind men, and probably a few women as well, that this is not political commentary:
“What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”
“If we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”These statements and the 51 others made by Limbaugh in the course of three days make his measly apology look like the entertainment schtick that it is.
The military already has a problem with sexual harassment. Just this week, the ACLU published Exposing the Ugly Details of the Military Sexual Violence Epidemic in which they explain government refusal to release information that could hold them accountable for failing to get this epidemic under control. Could it be that there are just some men in the military that don't see sexual harassment as that big an issue at all?
Could it be that those men listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh?
Could it be that they agree that all women that take birth control are sluts?
Could it be that our female soldiers are serving along side misogynists who find their sexism daily reinforced by their dose of Rush Limbaugh? Worse yet, could their bosses be one of those misogynists?
Could it be possible that there are men in our military that actually believe it is appropriate to ask for women to share their private sexual moments just because they receive their birth control as a part of their health care coverage?
Last I checked, the military hands out condoms as well. Maybe we should just open a porn channel for all this publicly funded sex that is going on.
Part II- The Fix
If you want to make a difference, you can try contacting AFN directly but honestly, there is a better way. It's called a Congressional Inquiry. More explanation below the croissant.
Are you wondering why I've placed that fancy piece of artwork at the top of the page? Eye-catching, isn't it? That tidy little header is a sample of how the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) would let its folks know that a Congressional Inquiry is in their midst.
What, you ask, is a Congressional Inquiry?
When you contact your Congressman and ask a question that relates to the military and they chose to take your question to the DoD, here is what happens:
Written - Letter from Member of Congress or Committee Chair.FYI - military folks often refer to these as A Congressional... "Honey, I have to stay late tonight because A Congressional just landed on my desk."
Respond within 5 working days after receipt.
Telephonic - Phone call from OCLL or Member’s office.
Respond within 2 working days.
Verbal - Information usually requested during a meeting or visit.
Respond according to agreement made during visit or as soon as possible.
White Star - Involves death, injury, sickness, or other grave circumstances relating to Service personnel or their family.
Respond to WHITE STAR cases using the most expeditious means available, working overtime and weekends when necessary.
Stovepipe - Usually received informally from an action officer in another agency who needs TRADOC’s input to answer an inquiry.
Respond according to instructions received with request. Don’t forget to coordinate your response with Congressional Activities Office.
Obviously, we want Congressman or their staff calling by telephone and asking to speak directly to AFN, to the Assistant Defense Secretary of Public Affairs, and to Secretary Panetta himself. We want even more to send letters. And it wouldn't hurt for this to be mentioned verbally in meetings or as people cross paths in the halls of Congress or the Pentagon. Even a stovepipe mention will do a hell of a lot more than contacting AFN directly. Though, please don't let that stop you... I mean, the longer this doesn't go away, the more likely they will finally pull the plug.
When you contact your Representative and your Senators, it is important that you are able to explain that this isn't about a fair balance of political expression. People have been trying for years to get Limbaugh of AFN and every attempt has failed because people in the hierarchy justify their decision to keep him by claiming to offer a balance of political opinion. Military folks and their families should have access to a wide variety of American shows, but this one takes the cake. We have just got to convince these folks that Limbaugh is not about politics but is about HATE and HARASSMENT.
If you want to call in the highest ranking military member in the US, our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, please sign OleHippieChick's Petition. In less than 24 hours it has almost 6,000 signatures. It needs a mere 19,000 more to garner the attention of the President's staff. If we could make that happen today, I have a feeling it will be briefed by tomorrow. A decision could happen within days. Check out her latest diary and help her get those signatures! For those having trouble with the petition website, read this comment by sillia.
Congressional offices should be opening soon. Just in case you don't know who they are, this website will help you out. Write your letter first to get those thoughts in line, send it, then call the offices as well. Let's show Rush Limbaugh what a peaceful military bombardment can look like.
FEMALE VETERANS CALL FOR AMERICAN FORCES NETWORK TO DROP RUSH LIMBAUGH
Washington, DC - The largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets.org, is today releasing a statement from three female Iraq war veterans calling on Rush Limbaugh's show to stop being broadcast by the American Forces Network (AFN). The veterans pointed to recent controversial statements made by Limbaugh about Sandra Fluke, and women who use birth control, calling them "sluts" and "prostitutes." AFN is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, funded with taxpayer dollars, and accessible to troops serving overseas.
Miranda Norman (who is a VoteVets.org Senior Advisor), Kayla Williams, and Robin Eckstein, all Iraq War Veterans, and Katherine Scheirman, former chief of medical operations for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany said the following:
"Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other - women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are "sluts" and "prostitutes" is beyond the pale. It isn't just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it's language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone - even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn't."http://www.votevets.org/...