How do you put the genie back into the bottle if she doesn’t want to go? This is the philosophical dilemma of the Republican male. These old white men are yearning for a past; a past that only existed in a Norman Rockwell print or a 50’s TV show. They want the America of the Dick and Jane readers back. They want nuclear families; man, woman, children. They want sweet cottages on green lawns with red wagons and sprinklers. They want lilacs and roses and clothes lines and women next to those clothes lines pinning up clothing. They want women who don’t go out to work; who stay home and nurture children and husbands. They wish they could un-invent the birth control pill, make abortion illegal, maybe take away that right to vote that made women so uppity. This would put an end to all the strife and violence and anger and poverty and waste in America.
We would need a time machine first, a time machine that un-did slavery. If we could go back in time and put each ancestor of each African America back in their homeland then we would never have started down this path of mixing up the world’s people, these old white guys imagine. But this is patently ridiculous as your ancestors are the very people who profited from owning slaves. You get no time machine. You get no do-over. You get no little white cottage, cream cheese America, which never existed anyway, but which was doomed as soon as you turned people into slaves and brought them to America, a place they surely did not want to be. Thank God they are free now. If they don’t share your white cottage dream then it is hard to fault them. So this is the world we have and we have to learn to live in it. If you can’t put the genie back in its bottle what are your chances of making a time machine? Well, maybe someday, but will it really matter by then?
Women are not going to let their genie be returned to the bottle either. We are not giving back the right to vote and once we have that all of the rest follows. You fought your wars and sent us into the factories and the offices and now we are not going back into the kitchens, parlors, etc, unless that is what we want to do. You can undo laws allowing legal abortion, reverse Roe v. Wade or just restrict it out of existence, but women have always known when a birth was not propitious, when it was not the right thing to do or not the right time to do it. In their desperation they will do dangerous things to abort an unwanted child. They have always done it and they always will unless you use force to make women carry to term. What would that do to your white cottage life? Oh, yes, that was always a problem with that white cottage life. What looked orderly and sweet on the outside was often chaos and pain inside.
The world we have now is complicated and contentious, but I like that it is a world in which we try to tolerate each other and create space for each other and where we occasionally support and enjoy each other. It isn’t easy to balance self-interest and all of the social interactions that make life worth living. Our lives are not neat, sweet communities with the houses, the churches and the schools, and the little diner. Our lives are full of schedules and hastily assembled meals and shopping malls and scratching out a living week by week until maybe we have a little more play in our budget and we don’t have to scratch quite so hard. We do have people in America from everywhere around the globe and this is changing the face of America from that cozy old country quilt to something that looks more like a Jackson Pollack painting. I can see how it would be disconcerting to old white men; it is actually a bit disconcerting to all of us. But, going backwards won’t work. It is not the answer. That genie is never going back in that bottle. The time machine, well that is probably farther in the future than space travel. Please, stop trying to turn back time. Accept diversity and let women take care of their own lives. Just because abortion is legal does not mean that any woman is required to have an abortion. But if you take the right to have an abortion away many women may be required to either have an unwanted child or abort the child herself. Neither of these acts benefits society.
Wikipedia has a pretty good entry about the “war on women”, a term that has been in use since 1991 and, which from the beginning, described the Republican agenda around women’s issues. In March, 2011, Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz began using the term “War on Women”, but she did not create it. You can follow the progress of the term’s use in the first section of the Wikipedia article on the subject.
Wikipedia, while not containing anything more current that the 1st quarter of 2012, tells us that in 2011 in our State legislatures 1100 provisions restricting women’s reproductive rights were passed, and that in the first quarter of 2012, 944 more restrictions were approved.
These restrictions focused on the following areas:
· Mandatory ultrasounds
· Narrowing time when abortions may be performed
· Limiting insurance coverage for abortion
· Personhood Laws
· Targeted regulation of abortion providers – TRAP laws
· Birth Control
· Defunding Planned Parenthood
· Domestic Violence
Too bad all of the ingenuity being shown in this pointless fight against women hasn’t been put to better use. If the GOP is ever are able to push this genie back into the bottle and turn all us women into little “Stepford Wives” I don’t believe it will bring them the results that they expect and I don’t think that genie will stay there for very long. How can women vote for this GOP? Elect Democrats in 2014. Stop the “war on women”.