Category Archives: women’s rights

An Open Letter to Senator John Kerry

In 1984, I took part in my first political campaign, and voted in my first election. I stood holding a “Kerry for Senate” banner on the side of the pond in the center of the UMass Campus, and I stood with John Kerry in his run.

Twenty years later, I took part in my first Presidential Caucus, in WA state. Although pregnant, I got up on a bench and gave an impassioned speech about the Democratic Party and supporting John Kerry in particular. In the face of Deaniac Washington, our town went Kerry, as eventually did our state. I was asked to take a place in the stands behind him (big, blue and pregnant made for good optics for a pro-choice candidate forbidden to receive communion by the bishops of his own faith), met him, thanked him for running and campaigned until the end.

I am profoundly disappointed in the Senator today. The only way that the mandatory contraceptive coverage component of the Affordable Health Care Act is about religious freedom is about the freedom of the EMPLOYEES, not the employer. It is about basic health care for women, and having to provide it EVEN IF the religious beliefs of the employer include the notion that women were from the beginning, made wholly from the rib of a man and unequal to him.

Catholic Charities would like us to think that their mission is about service, but really, when it comes to the status of women in their world, it is about SUBSERVICE. But Bishops are not the rulers of our land. They do not make the laws, even though the rate at which they break them, against the most vulnerable amongst us is despicable.

Women do not deserve second class status if they work for a Catholic institution such as a university or hospital, because the LAW, which governs us all says that Women and Men are due equal protection under LAW.

Put another way. If AIDS drugs are covered by ACHA, would you then say that covering men with HIV would be at the discretion of the Catholic Church because they condemn homosexual activity? If blood transfusions are covered, would it then be at the discretion of a Jehovah’s Witnesses based charity to disregard those? What about the Christian Science Monitor? Can they forget about prescription drug coverage in its entirety?

If you cannot find the words that express the supremacy of the rights of equal protection over any individual religion’s dictates, take mine. This is about HEALTH CARE, and the right of anyone who works for any employer to not have their employer’s religious whims, caprices or beliefs infringe on what is their legal right to receive.

Women will never get the chance to vote for Catholic bishops – hell, they can’t even have give a homily! – but they will vote for Congresspeople and President. And they will vote the same way they obey the edicts of the pope when it comes to birth control. Ignoring them when it makes no sense, with the full support of the law.

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Filed under health, healthcare, institutional misogyny, Uncategorized, women, women's health, women's rights

all politics is becoming glocal

I’ve lived in this timezone for 6 years – voted in as many elections, paid property taxes, learned where to (and not to) eat – and I haven’t yet felt like a real resident. Culture clash and remote employment play an equal role in my disconnectedness, but it wasn’t until a recent political action that I realized how strange it can be as a netizen first, resident second.

It’s political season again, and our despicable US Congress Rep is being challenged by a principled opponent – but the first place she (and other hopefuls in other districts) are going is out of the district. It makes me think that all politics is now glocal – a challenger goes to a global to get the money she needs in order to prove herself to the locals. So, if you’d like to help me get a good rep in Congress, consider giving to Darcy, and tell her you learned about her at my kitchen table.

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Filed under 2008 elections, accountability, activism, glocal, Politics, strategic communication, the big picture, US Congress, Voting, WA, WA-08, women, women's rights

rant alert: disgust doesn’t begin to describe it

Where “it” is my reaction to the latest SCOTUS decision, making it virtually impossible for women to hold employers accountable for discriminatory practices. I am so angry, I could spit enough nails to frame a McMansion.

But this, in addition to the infantilization of women ruling a few weeks back, are only the newest in a series of obvious assaults on the rights of citizens, supported by a largely media-illiterate electorate and an especially manipulative Federal administration, on its knees along with the US Chamber of Commerce, K Street, and the televangelistic industry in worship of the almighty dollar.

And this is only the beginning. The number of career and political appointments at the Dept of Justice (US) in the past 6 years cannot be considered anything but suspect. People who decry and have worked to dismantle voting rights and Affirmative Action have made it policy only to hire minorities – namely white religious zealots who call themselves Christian but show no evidence of ever having read the New Testament – into decision-making positions, regardless of any other skill or qualification.

And where the zealotry and gender issues meet, say in a Monica Goodling, we get the good little girl act, making no assertions other than to say some men made her feel uncomfortable, and that the problems she would encounter with women who earned their positions through relevant credentials were “queen bees”.

What happened to this country, or, at the risk of sounding corny, my country?

Being married to a legal alien foreign national furriner, and having spawned (isn’t that how one would reproduce with a furriner alien thingy?) has made me all the more aware that I am very much an American, no matter how good my ability to mimic accents and be mistaken for an internationalist in airports.

I remember visiting family about a year after 911 and being regarded as a traitor for recounting a conversation with European colleagues, where they had said it wasn’t a matter of if, but when, the US would be attacked. (Had I not known someone on UA 175, the talk may have become even more disrespectful towards me.) My alien hubby asked me not to write letters to the editor about the bogus propaganda around the Iraq invasion, as he has a green card.

But now, I wonder if any letter can have any significance. I wonder how thinking people, particularly Americans, can look at where we are now, and what is coming to light, and not be paralyzed with rage and disgust. What can we do? How can we restore reason, compassion, ethics, and the rule of law?

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Filed under discrimination, Feminism, frustration, legislation, misogyny, politicization of justice, Politics, rant, sexism, sexual discrimination, us attorney scandal, US Chamber of Commerce, women's rights