When it comes to politics, everybody has one or more deal-breakers. Just like in relationships, there are certain lines we just won’t cross, certain values we won’t compromise, certain arguments we won’t back down from. And just like in relationships, sometimes these deal-breakers seem unreasonable. Have you ever had a supremely jealous boyfriend or girlfriend? Someone who snooped your phone, demanded to know your whereabouts on the hour, never let you hang out with members of the opposite sex without them there, etc etc etc? Someone who made you feel paranoid about how your words and actions would be perceived; someone who became suspicious when you got too dressed up, or guilt-tripped you for not doing what they “asked” and raged at you for “crossing a line”?
That’s kind of a deal-breaker for me.
And that’s why I will never vote for a politician who doesn’t support women’s rights.
I’ve called Republicans, particularly religious Republicans, the world’s most obsessive micro-managers. They’re also just like obsessively jealous, abusive boyfriends. They abuse us sexually by taking away control of our own reproductive systems with bills putting us in a state of constant potential pregnancy, dictating our reproductive choices by attempting to restrict access to birth control, and forcing us to endure non-consensual penetration (otherwise known as rape) with their trans-vaginal ultrasound requirements. They want to eliminate clinics that provide contraception, cancer screenings, and gynecological care to the populations most in need. They abuse us psychologically by demeaning us, making light of our concerns and our arguments, not taking us seriously. They call us cruel names with no provocation and they twist what we say, like Rush Limbaugh did to Sandra Fluke. They undermine our abilities and do all that they can to convince us that we are not their equals. They assume that any sexual activity or enjoyment by us necessarily is dangerous promiscuity. They gaslight us and try to make us doubt ourselves. They demand that we be obedient and submissive, as Michelle Bachmann was to her husband, even though she was the one running for President. They abuse us financially, supporting a health insurance system that charges us higher premiums just because we are women, and by voting against the Lily Ledbetter Act, a bill that would ensure equal pay for equal work. They abuse us physically by blocking the Violence Against Women Act, which gives greater protection and assistance to those trying to escape abuse in their homes. They abuse the spiritual among us by using faith as justification for all these other abuses, twisting it into a psychological prison of superficial morality.
Seriously, people. How is this not a definitive issue for you?
Not just for women, but for anybody who happens to like women. Men, you may not care now, but what about when you have daughters? Or if you have daughters already? What about those of you who never want daughters–will you abstain from sex in order to accomplish that? Because if your girlfriend or wife or partner can’t get birth control and can’t get an abortion, she will eventually get pregnant, and she will eventually have a baby. For those of you who have ever enjoyed a deep, meaningful conversation with an intelligent woman–what if all the women you knew were raised to believe that they weren’t capable of those ideas?
Women still have a long battle for equality, believe it or not. The media still hits us every day with contradictory standards of behavior and expects us to comply with both the attractive, sexually available flirt and the sensible, responsible, chaste woman. There are still subconscious pressures, even from young men, for women to behave a certain way, think a certain way, speak a certain way. This is still a world where women are demonized by someone no matter what choice they make, and that is wrong no matter who is casting judgment.
So understanding that, how could you cast a vote for someone whose political platform supports that demonization? Yes, the economy is important. But women are people, not livestock, as suggested by one politician who wanted to force women to carry stillborn fetuses to term because that’s what his pigs and cows do. (You think I’m kidding? Google that shit.) Why is it that it’s suddenly okay to take away our personal rights?
The way I see it, what good is economic security going to do me if I’m not in control of my own body? If I don’t have my basic human right to bodily autonomy, no amount of financial comfort is going to make me happy. It’s not about morality. It’s about an America founded on individual rights, which includes a right to do whatever I want with or to my own body; it’s about the Constitutional fact that you cannot force your religious laws on me. It’s about choice, and the ability to make choices that affect me directly for myself, without a patriarchal overlord getting all up in my uterus. That’s just twisted.
I might agree with a few more conservative ideas here and there. I am a moderate Democrat, after all. But until more Republicans give up this quest to control all of America’s uteruses, I won’t be voting for any of them–and frankly, if you appreciate the women in your life, neither should you.