A Silly Aversion, A Serious Question

June 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

Okay, okay, enough already with the vagina.  Even I, with my newfound comfort level around the correct for term lady-parts, am getting a little tired of the jokes.  (Though, I must say, my favorite from this list of “Vagina” alternatives has GOT to be “God’s Stab Wound.”)

Something I hinted at in my previous post, “Vaginas to the Left, Vaginas to the Right,” was that I am borderline compulsive about seeking out opposing viewpoints from which I can learn, and from which a real discussion can be cultivated.  In my satirical exploration of why Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown’s comment sent her colleagues into orbit, I also joked that perhaps Republicans were hurt by the implication that they were being compared to date rapists.

Well, heidi-ho, it appears I’ve hit on something.  I searched the interwebs for a Republican response to Rep. Brown’s comments, and had a very hard time finding anything in my favorite news outlets, MSNBC, Huffington Post, and CNN.  The only thing I could find were discussions of whether or not the word “Vagina” was uttered improperly in the State House’s debate.  Truly, that irritated me, but that’s a rant for another time.

In desperation, I turned to Fox News.  Not surprisingly, they focused a little more seriously on Republican response.  I still found a heavy emphasis on the decorum aspect of Rep. Brown’s parting shot.   “‘I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far,’ Republican Floor Leader Jim Stamas told The Detroit News. He scratched Brown and Byrum from the list of speakers.”  I also, though, found this: “Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, said Brown’s comments were “disgraceful” and her “no means no” remark seemed to inappropriately compare the anti-abortion bill to rape. The House approved the bill on a 70-39 vote.” (Both of these quotes came from an article I link to here.)

What do you know about that?  Here, my friends, is where this embarrassing episode can cease being fodder for late-night comics and turn into a real discussion about a very simple question I have.  This was, obviously, a bill about limiting access to abortion, among other things.  From this point forward, I will frame the debate, not in Democratic/Republican terms, but in Pro-Choice/Pro-Life terms.  I know Pro-Life Democrats and Pro-Choice Republicans, so leaving political party affiliation out of this seems fair to me.

If we take the highest road, giving the leadership who censured Rep. Brown the greatest amount of credit, I can almost buy that the implying support for the bill was comparable to date rape was, indeed, disrespectful and an affront to decorous behavior.  Here is my question, though.

Would that same leadership have penalized a Pro-Life member of the House for implying opposition to the bill was comparable to murdering babies?

If the answer to that is “No,” I’d like to ask a follow-up question.

When did being compared to murderers become more decorous than being compared to date rapists?

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Mommy Wars, Cadillacs and Etch-a-Sketches

April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Oh, for the love of Pete.

Okay, I am not a news junkie – nor am I an expert on anything other than being minimally overscheduled.  I just really need to vent here.  Bit of a tantrum – sorry in advance.

Hillary Rosen and the dubiously-named “Mommy Wars?”  Eager to pounce on the slightest misstep, Republicans and Stay-at-Home-Moms are up in arms about her comments about Ann Romney.  Is there ANYONE who really thinks Rosen’s comments were an attack on SAHMs?  That she was saying parenting is easy?  That she was pitting working mothers against mothers who don’t have (paying) jobs?  Is this really about life choices?  NOOOOOO!!!!!  (You can watch the clip and see the resulting Twitter comments here.)  Today Rosen apologized for her remarks, but, crap.  We are one touchy nation.

What is so obvious to me is that all Hillary Rosen was doing was calling bullshit on Mitt Romney for holding up his wife as a voice of the struggling, disenfranchised women of this country.  The end.

What kills me is the backpedaling.  It drives me nuts.  Why can’t Dems stand behind their people?  David Axelrod calling her comments offensive.  Obama people saying “Oh, she doesn’t advise US…”  Axelrod, why aren’t you coming out and saying, “Come on.  Substance and context, please.  She wasn’t saying SAHMs don’t work HARD.  She was saying ANN ROMNEY doesn’t know what it’s like to be poor, and to hold her up as someone who can accurately convey to Mitt how concerned women are with economics is a wee bit disingenuous.”

Hold the phone, though – here’s where I scold the Dems for pouncing on Mitt Romney in the same irritating way.  It’s not often you’ll see me making an argument defending Mitt Romney, so savor it, but frankly, bad behavior irritates me regardless of the political party from which it emanates.

Remember when Mitt was in Michigan?  When he made those ELITIST, SNOBBY remarks about Ann having a couple of Cadillacs?  Read the NYT article about it here.  My reaction at the time?  “Oh, for Christ’s sake.”   My fellow liberals and Democrats – he was in MICHIGAN.  Cadillacs (and many other American cars) are made in MICHIGAN.  He was talking to AUTO WORKERS.  Give the guy a small BREAK, please.   Romney is wealthy and shouldn’t have to apologize for it or make himself seem like a blue-collar worker.  I don’t care how much money he makes – I care how much SENSE he makes.  (Which is why, of course, I vote for Obama…)

Remember when Romney’s advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom uttered the famous Etch-a-Sketch analogy?  (See Talking Points Memo’s take on it here.)  People were horrified – Dems were elated – Republicans were cringing – something else to pounce on!!!  Really, though, was Fehrnstrom saying anything we didn’t already know about politics?  That politicians of all stripes, if their eyes are really on the prize of the presidency, have to say what people want to hear?  That in some parts of the country people have wants and needs that conflict with the wants and needs of people in other parts of the country?  That said conflict will result in contradicting statements coming from a candidate?  And that once that candidate has secured the nomination the campaign essentially starts from scratch?  I don’t like it – it’s not pretty or elegant or even fair.  It is, however, the nature of politics.  Rare is the politician who says what he or she truly thinks regardless of where he or she is in the country; who says the same thing regardless of audience.  Well, put it this way.  Rare is the one who makes it up to the presidential race.

I swear, I just want to send everyone in this country to their rooms for a time out.  You know, to think about how they can improve their behavior.  All this outrage and drama over people essentially revealing what they are and how politics works?  The ease (and even relish) with which so many people are offended?  Bill Maher did a great op-ed piece in the New York Times about this, calling for a national day of not apologizing.

Here is my plea to politicians and citizens alike.  Politicians, a little more backbone wouldn’t kill you.  Citizens, a little more depth of thought would be great.  And for all of us, a little  less dependence on the shallowness the 24/7 news/entertainment cycle needs to feed the parasite that passes for public discourse in this country.

There.  Now I feel better.  Thanks for listening.

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