Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another reason why I MUST vote for Obama

I have been absolutely baffled for some time why any woman, especially one who is educated and smart and knows exactly who she is, one who has full control of her own power, would possibly vote for a Republican.

A pair of wanna-be Senators in two states I've actually been residents of have embarrassed not only the Republican party leaders -- at least briefly -- by their comments about women, but have also shown themselves to be ignorant and very misogynistic.

This general disdain for women and their ability (or right?) to make health choices FOR THEMSELVES is rooted firmly in the language in the official Republican Party platform, 

The official platform does NOT provide exceptions to abortion for anything, including rape, incest, or life of the mother. Read it.

Furthermore, the platform says it wants to teach abstinence in school. ONLY abstinence. "Therefore, we support doubling abstinence education funding. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion. "

Uh huh. You try that with teenagers who are bombarded today with sex, sex, sex in today's music and fashions and role models. You try that when the kids have relatives and friends who have affairs and one-night-stands right in their own homes as a matter of course.

It's a nice theory. But it doesn't work. It didn't work when I was a teenager back in the 1960s either.  Ask the teachers and social workers and counselors and specialists in our schools who work daily with at-risk teens. (I'm not even sure if sex education is part of today's curriculum!)

The Republicans also want to defund Planned Parenthood, even though the organization which provides valuable medical testing and contraceptive services to underserved and poor women does not use any federal funds to provide abortion. 

...Yeah. Let's go back to the good ol' coat hanger abortion days, and limit access to birth control so that women will stay home and stay pregnant whether they want to or not...

And while they're on the 'put the little woman back in her place' kick, the Repubs put the Violence Against Women Act into limbo this year, an act which since 1994 has provided  " investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted "(Wikipedia) They don't want to extend any sort of protection to  gays, lesbians, American Indians, or illegal immigrants who are victims of domestic violence.

Missouri Senatorial candidate Todd Akin nearly offed himself back in August with his comments about 'legitimate rape,' prompting Republicans leaders to distance themselves from him immediately. Akin refused to step down, though, and the Repub moneymen have slowly crept back into his camp. He continues to belittle his rival Claire McCaskill, recently likening her to a dog, and calling her 'unladylike.'

And now Indiana Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock is claiming that a pregnancy resulting from rape is 'a gift from God' and that it is 'meant to be.' And what the bloody hell would HE know about it?

Seriously. You must bring a child of rape to term and you must look at your rapist's face in that child every single day because God meant it to be? What about the child's right to be loved? Pro-birth is NOT pro-life.

How can a person actually diminish, -- negate -- so callously and calculatedly the horribly invasive, violent rape of any woman?

And do you really want someone who can say that in all sincerity to represent your vote, your city and county and state?

The Republicans have this last season in Congress, especially, repeatedly and publicly tried to erode women's rights to control their own healthcare choices and to refuse equal pay for equal work and to deny gays, lesbians, American Indians or illegal immigrants the right to seek recourse for domestic violence. They will continue to drive this agenda.

And I just do not understand how this country's women, no matter their political leanings, can throw their sisters under the GOP bus by supporting and voting for ANY Tea Party or Republican candidate, from the Presidential candidate on down.

If you do, please don't call me your sister. I will continue to defend your right to make your own healthcare and reproductive choices despite your vote because I believe so strongly in that right.

But I know you would not do the same for me because of your Republican/Tea Party vote. You will destroy any trust I had in you, any semblance of sisterhood, by your actions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One reason why I will vote for Obama

It will come as a surprise to no one that I have voted Democratic for years, although interestingly enough, it was only this year that I actually changed my voting registration to Democrat from Independent. Long ago I realized that with my convictions about women's rights and equality issues, social justice, and helping those in need, the Democratic party would almost inevitably be my choice. 

While I do not hold Evangelical Christian views, I was raised in the United Methodist Church, long known for its strong support of social justice issues. The things I was taught in church both as a young person and then later when I worked for the church  gave me a strong foundation of helping others and fighting for equality and individual rights, and also honoring beliefs different from my own. 

 As an adult I have been actively involved in many social issues, from answering suicide hotline phones to working for reproductive rights to supporting women's equality to advocating for mental health and most recently, to working with our county Democratic Central Committee. I have actively supported freedom of speech through jobs in education and libraries. For the last five years I have been deeply involved in programs  to end violence against women and girls. I also support arts programs in communities and schools through both participation and advocacy, and always have supported libraries.

I have always believed and was taught to believe by my parents and my church that we are all equal people. We all have the capacity (and indeed the command) to love each other, to help each other, and to accept each other where we are, although I'd admit that can be a real stretch of faith sometimes. 

Jesus didn't say that SOME of us are more equal than others, more deserving. He hung out with the thieves, the drunks, the outcasts. He treated women equally with men. He told us to do to others as we want them to do to us -- and did not add exceptions to that rule.

Today I saw a wonderful video from a variety of gay, lesbian and transgendered citizens who support President Obama, and why they are afraid of how their rights will change under a Republican administration. You can see it here. 

 I have many friends and loved ones who are gay or lesbian or heterosexual, who are women, who are men. I am indeed blessed to know so many people with such a diversity of opinion, education, talent, commitment, wit, and intelligence! 

One of them today posted on her Facebook page the following:
"We are three weeks out, the next President may very well have an unprecedented impact on the Supreme Court and henceforth my and my family's life.

To my friends who like Mitt Romney’s FB page, or are considering a vote for his election, consider the following:

When you read about his or his surrogates' comments about gays, please replace “gays” with my name (or your own)...

These are ON RECORD Statements:

G*** shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

G***'s marriage is invalid and shouldn't count.
G*** getting married is a threat to families.
G*** cannot be a good parent.
G*** doesn’t love, it’s only lust.
G*** is ‘fixable’ with electroshock therapy and psychological torture.
G*** is what is wrong with this country.
If G*** can marry, we should just let people marry animals.
Being G*** is a choice.

This is not just about politics, or job numbers, or healthcare...this is also about human rights, MY human rights.

I am not badgering, or cajoling, or begging, I am just asking you to take a step back and put yourself in my place.

How would you vote if you were me and more than just money was at stake?

How do you think I would vote if it were your
human rights on the ballot?"
It stuns me that people of faith can vote for the Republican ticket knowing that they believe that gay-lesbian-transgendered people are somehow not worthy of the rights that heterosexuals have. 

That's not what my faith taught me. And I ask you to put your own name in front of those statements and see how it makes you feel. Like a Christian? I sure hope not.