On My Uterus and Voting

I’ve never been one to think I could *be* a political blogger, nor do I really want to. There are plenty of fabulous ones that support both parties, really. And I’m not extremely vocal about my politics on Twitter because other people say it so much better. But, I feel like I’m completely qualified to blog about my uterus and why I will stand with and vote for Barack Obama in November.

I come from a long line of family members who are completely apathetic, ignorant, and, generally speaking, do not vote. The one exception is a big WL influencer: my grandma (see: Strongest Woman I Know). She’s a Democrat, down to her core. If you ask her why she will tell you that her father taught her to take care of people, to give back, and to create a stronger society. She believes Republicans to be selfish and she says a lot of other colorful things about them. For the record, she is both Christian and believes in the right to choose and unions–we do have Jersey roots. But the rest of my family members, as far as I know, do not delve into politics. The exception might be my Golden Haired Perfect Uncle, but he fancies himself an independent (whatever, George W. Bush voter, whatever).

I work in academia, often slandered as a bastion of liberalism. I cry false. While percentage-wise many of my fellow faculty members are liberal, many are not and are extremely vocal about it. But, let’s get to what is at the heart of my blog post: the assault on my uterus and the war on women. I have not always been a registered Democrat, nor have I always voted for Democrats.

Here’s a dirty, dirty secret. In my first Presidential election, I voted for George H.W. Bush. (Yes, my grandma cried.) I’ve been a registered independent in two states. I grew up a poor welfare kid who grew into an adult who thought welfare was bad. Then, I went to college and became educated. And read a lot of books. And studied history. And volunteered at battered women’s shelters and began to work with all kinds of people. Not everyone tries to game the system. Sometimes people need a helping hand. But I believe strong schools and policies make a better place to live. If I make more, I expect to pay more taxes. Then, when I moved to Texas, I became a registered Democrat because it was Texas. And Rick Perry was, and still is, a scary, freaking man.

I tell you these things to frame my evolution as a bleeding heart, tree-hugging, uterus controlling, Democratic voter.

Again, I am uniquely qualified, being in possession of girl parts, to feel like there is an attack on women underway. Remember back when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut? His message being that a woman who needs birth control pills and is sexually active is automatically a slut? She wanted to be “paid to have sex.” Well what about a woman who needs those birth control pills, for better or for worse, to control severe pain from issues like uterine fibroids? Those shouldn’t be covered by health insurance? So, that’s me. A woman who takes birth control to avoid painful, heavy bleeding….so thanks big Republican supporter who screams in the radio every day, I’m a slut for needing a medication. Got it. (Unrelated, I guess I will find out if my health insurance at a Catholic university covers my pills soon!)

Remember the dude that said we didn’t need birth control because we can put an aspirin between our legs? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Recently, Ann Coulter said that she would like women to lose their right to vote so that it would ensure we’d never have another Democratic President. WHAT THE FUCK? Not even joking, should any woman EVER say we shouldn’t have the right to vote. She continued to explain that women are stupid. I’ve always thought people like Ann and Rush were merely playing their audiences, selling their stuff, making their millions. But, I really have come to loathe her.

We all got over that, right? Rush is an idiot. He just riles up the base. Whatever. He’s not the candidate. Aspirin dude was irrelevant. Ann Coulter is really a man. Right? We make these comments and jokes because we feel this talking heads can be explained away easily enough.

Oh wait. Do I even have to address Todd Akin? Legitimate rape? Are you fucking kidding me? I can’t even address that here. My head might just explode. But do yourself a favor, if you know that story and you believe that dude, just stop reading, don’t follow me, go live your completely twisted, ignorant life because rape and legitimate never go together. I shouldn’t even have to say that. Ever.

So, what does it say though about our society that these misogynistic messages and the people that utter them seem to come out unscathed (mostly)? Can everything be explained away as a “joke?” Or if not a joke, do we just forgive everyone who misspeaks? It says we accept political candidates who say the same thing, but even worse. And a conversation that is plainly dangerous. So, here’s the candidates then.

Candidate Mitt Romney has declared that he will end all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that does such HORRID things as provide pap smears, breast cancer screening, and birth control for women of all economic backgrounds. Healthy, sometimes sexually active women? WHAT A HORRIBLE ORGANIZATION. I got my pap smears at a Planned Parenthood in Florida in grad school. I had no health insurance.

His side-kick, Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan co-sponsored a Sanctity of Human Life Bill that never went to the floor. He also voted against Planned Parenthood funding. He has a glorious pro-life voting record. PS: Critics of the bill noted it could disallow procedures like invitro fertilization. So, all of you couples trying to have babies that way? TOUGH. I mean, pro-life Republican candidates are not new, right? So why am I all a fluster? Because there are other issues at hand here and the level of complete ignorance is very, very high.

I can respect my Republican friends who consider themselves to be pro-life, but who also believe in caring for babies and mothers *after* birth. I mean, they aren’t just pro-fetus. I have friends who consider themselves Conservative because they think government should be smaller. I can respect those people and have interesting, and usually heated, discussions with them as well.

But please do not ever trot Ann Romney out to tell me about hardships and try to make me relate to her just because we are both women. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Now, I’ve always criticized people who become one issue voters. I am not voting for President Obama just because I am Pro-Choice, but because I believe he most closely represents my overall values. I believe in good public education (no vouchers); I believe in gay marriage (I wish he was stronger on this); I believe that people who make more should pay more taxes (sorry!); and I would like to not end up in another war in the Middle East (Iran).  But, my strongest reason for voting Democrat this fall is because it is clear to me that we are allowing a dangerous, misogynistic, political conversation to take place across this country. I want women to retain the right to vote (no I am not joking), I want us to have equal pay for equal work, I want us to receive medical treatment and prescriptions we decide to have in consultation with our doctors. I want us to all be strong, independent women. I want us to have the choice to have children or not. I want us to have the choice to be stay at home or working moms. I want us to be valued members of a strong, educated society.

And that’s why I will vote for President Obama. Again.

 

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One Response to “On My Uterus and Voting”

  1. Evan says:

    You totally rock for posting this. I will be voting for Team Obama right beside you. The GOP and their Tea Bagger lackeys are looking to become some sort of American-style Taliban. They would send this country into some kind of retro time warp. Notice how they use coded language like “Take our country back.” They’ll take it back alright and erase all the progress women and minorities have made. Any woman that votes for the GOP is not right in the head or completely brainwashed. Obama 2012!