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I hear a lot of men (and some women) now asking, "Why are you still so upset over what Rush said, anyway? He apologized! It was a joke/absurdity/etc."

You asked. I have an answer. It isn't a short answer.

Here goes:

Last year I watched as a state lawmaker in Georgia put forth a bill that would have made it necessary for criminal investigation in the case of miscarriage.(1) Having suffered a miscarriage myself, I know how mentally and emotionally devastating it is and how you already feel like you must have done something wrong, how it is hard to accept that things like loss just happen. To have women presumed guilty until proven innocent in the case of miscarriage? That would be hell.

Then as the year went by I watched state after state making it harder for women to have access to the services they need - rural women are now having to drive HOURS to get to a women's health clinic for affordable screenings and access to birth control.(2)(3) These laws that are supposed to be stemming the tide of abortions are making it so that more and more women are unable to get basic care. As a student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, my student health coverage, paid for out of my tuition, did not cover contraception. I had to go to the nearby Planned Parenthood for my exam and to have access to contraception. I had to face questions and accusations by people lined up outside the clinic when all I wanted to do was to protect my reproductive health (I was having serious problems with cysts at the time). Oh, and, yes - to have safe sex. Because I was a legal adult who wanted to engage in a legal adult activity with the utmost safety.

States have recently been proposing laws that would require, without question, that a woman have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion.(4) I'm one of those women who loves motherhood (as may be noted by my username) and I believe with all my heart I would never desire to have an abortion (however, as the mother of two already, I know that if it was a dire circumstance before the 24-week-gestation viability age, I would choose my life over the life of the child, to ensure my other children were not robbed of a mother), but I know that abortion is legal in America and making women who are already in unique, sometimes horrific situations jump through medically unnecessary hoops to receive legal medical care is astounding.

Now we get to the point where the idea of birth control being deemed a medically beneficial preventative service has opened the dialogue in this country once again to where men can allude to or outright say that sexually active women are sluts or prostitutes, and to have a congressional committee hear testimony from five MEN (5) on the subject of woman's health (yes, I do realize they were there to discuss religious freedom, but it was still regarding a matter that specifically affects women only).

Many men of influence (i.e. those who make laws and have voice on the airwaves) might not have used the same words as Rush,(6) but Rush said it loudest and clearest when he called Ms. Fluke a slut and a prostitute because she supports the notion of birth control being deemed a preventative medicine and a health benefit to the nation (just like childhood vaccines are deemed a national preventative health benefit, just like some medical screenings for men are deemed a national preventative health benefit..)(7). And then to say: "Miss Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are 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" (8) - he may have said he was speaking to Ms. Fluke, but his words struck a chord with many woman who have struggled with their reproductive health. In that moment, he might as well have been speaking to any number of us.

The fuel has been poured on for months and months and months. Rush was the spark that lit the fire.

My mother's generation was the We Are Women Hear Us Roar generation. The one between was the Women and Men Are The Same generation. My generation has been the I Am generation. Gender is important, but we see ourselves more as whole individuals. To suddenly have such a profoundly basic and yet important aspect of ourselves dragged into the national spotlight and debated by men who would dare call us names or negatively label behavior we see as ordinary and not harmful and a part of who we are (sex, SAFE sex, with as few or as many partners as we choose) is alarming and upsetting. The men of my generation are by and large as upset by what is going on, seeing their friends, lovers and wives called horrible names and being accused of criminal behavior for simply having sex.

Rush ignited the anger that has been building. His words sum up a great deal of oppressive behavior toward women that has been seeping back into our national dialogue. And we're not happy about it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yes he did! (12+ / 0-)

    Very well-framed diary. Rush's job has always been to reduce the general gestalt of the Repubs to vicious soundbites - and he is/was the master. That's all he did, this time, but they all lost sight of the boundaries of the game, and now, hopefully, the jig is up. Or starting to be up.

    'canter' is a horse's gait - 'cantor' is a horse's ass. - GayIthacan

    by qannabbos on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 05:59:25 AM PST

    •  They're Doubling Down on the 2010 Formula (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigrivergal, myboo

      of enraging the Republican base, on the bet that the Democrats will repeat 2009-10 and tell their base to fuck off again while pitching to groups that don't turn out.

      But if the Dems perform above tepidly, and the Republican crazee continues to scare off women and indies as polling right now seems to suggest, this could be a real loser for them.

      But they will need a loss of Biblical proportions to lose all the ground they gained in the midterm after the most disastrous combination of Democratic governance and messaging that either party had demonstrated since the late 1800's.

      It's looking better for keeping the White House but so far it's not likely that the Democrats will be able to govern at any foreseeable time.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:18:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Glad the younger women are finally getting it.... (12+ / 0-)

    My grandmother fought for the right to vote in the 1910's, my mom fought for the ERA, I was the "first" female in every position I ever held in manufacturing after graduating with a Chemistry degree in the 70s.  

    It's always been a struggle - If I told you all of the demeaning, insulting, and sometimes physically dangerous situations I encountered with men while I was working, you'd be shocked.  And I mean throughout my career, even when I was the boss, and ran a multimillion dollar operation for a major manufacturing co.

    Keep fighting - there are millions of women who came before you and fought, and we need everybody to stand up now.  

    •  Rush has awakened a lot of people and that (6+ / 0-)

      is why his employers in the corporate media establishment pushed him hard to apologize asap. I was worried about turnout in November, especially among the young. I am not any longer nearly so worried. We need to remind people of who Republicans are and what they stand for: hatred of the rights and freedoms of everyone other than hyper-religious, rich, white males.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:51:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. Been there, seen that. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYmama, myboo, DruidQueen, maf1029

      As a high school student, I was asked by a family member why I wanted to go to college. After all, I was a female. I should stay home, marry young, and have babies. I chose college instead. When I was in college, I was told that the female members of my chemistry class wouldn't receive an A, even if we had earned one, because we were in school in order to catch a man. We went to the dean of students and demanded the professor's ouster. The next semester, he stepped down as dean of his department. After graduation, I was denied a loan on my first home because I was female. It didn't matter that I had excellent credit and a solid work history. I eventually got a loan through my credit union - a relationship that has lasted for 40. years.
      We simply can't go back to the bad old days. The fight was long and hard, but well worth it. For the sake of all women, we need to stand up tall and proud, saying to Rush and his ilk, no more. No more shaming. No more belittling. No more dishonoring.

      "Experience declares that man is the only animal that devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general preying of the rich on the poor" - Thomas Jefferson "I don't care about the very poor." - Mitt Romney

      by bigrivergal on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:50:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rush makes hate ok (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    global citizen, maf1029

    No one who is a racist, woman-hater, or homophobe ever has to look at their own defective thinking so long as Rush makes their hate just another point of view by his popularity.  He has been a big part of the white male crazy-virus that's kept our country down for quite some time.  We need to cure this, NOW.

  •  Thank you, and context (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you all for the positive response to this post. It has been percolating for a long time!

    For context: I am a 32 yr old white female mother of two and wife to a self-employed handyman. I have a BA in English and was a technical writer before taking on the adventures of being a mother. I am a part-time seamstress and part-time fire dancer. I am a Minnesotan, and I do say my "o"s funny. My husband and I like the quiet life and hope to buy a homestead this fall to being a permaculture farm. I am blessed by the women who came before that gave me the choice to be all these things and to give them equal recognition as parts of the whole that is me.

  •  The right wing conservative blowhards (0+ / 0-)

    have been setting fires for years through their incendiary talk.

    The lies, innuendo, hate speech and the like that fuels and starts these fires will not be allowed to burn out of control any longer.

    Too damn bad they don't like our response to the fires they have set.

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:14:53 AM PST

  •  Rush Walker. Scott Limbaugh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    more GOP/tealiban/extremist overreach. Hubris. And they're scaring the crap out of a lot of people; not enough people - yet - in my opinion. But many.

    People now see their real agenda, the War On The Rest Of Us. Just as that arrogant little weasel in Wisconsin lit the fuse on the economic progressive revolution, and helped create the atmosphere for OWS to succeed, Rush/Komen/Saintrectum have lit the fuse on the social progressive revolution.

    They thought 2008 was a one and done. An aberration. A fluke. They thought 2010 was back to normal, that they were back in charge and could do whatever they want. They thought we were done fighting, that we would let them do what they wanted.

    They were wrong. It's dawn in America. People are waking up. Hopefully enough wake up in time. And stay awake.

    Democrats are not always right, but Republicans are insane.

    by BobBlueMass on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 09:23:24 AM PST

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