Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's time for a new war...and this one is going to be a good one

Over the years, the United States, even before it was The United States, has participated in a number of wars. Of course, that's true of almost every country, so the US is hardly unique.  There was the Revolutionary War, which was hardly revolutionary unless you consider that rule change which the British didn't agree with.  The one that said..."we'll hide behind trees in camouflage clothing and shoot at you, while you wear bright red coats and march down the middle of the road."  (credit to whomever said this first)

There was also the famous French and Indian War, which was called the 7 Years War around the rest of the world.  In fact, the British have always had better names for their wars.  The War of the Roses always sounds to me like some sort of dispute between neighbors...where there is some question where the property line lies in connection with some plants.  However, by far and away the best has to be The War of Jenkin's Ear.  Is that a cool name or what?  In researching this entry, I also discovered that there is a War of Jennifer's Ear, which was also British but didn't include actual combat.

In any case, let's get back to this new war that's been declared within the US.

Wars seem to need cool names to really inspire the people to come to battle.  Remember the Alamo was a great rallying cry, along with Remember the Maine.  I've personally been partial to 54-40 or Fight, but so few people know that one it makes it somewhat insignificant.  Remember Pearl Harbor did pretty well.  Along those lines, I have a name in mind, but let me describe the situation first. last name thingy.  The American Civil War was always a problem.  It was anything but civil.  The War between the States seems reasonable, but in some places it's still known as the War of Northern Aggression.  Point of view is everything when naming a war, and I've kept that in mind.

So, what's happened?

In the last couple of weeks, various members of the Republican Party have (apparently) decided that the 2012 election won't be about the economy.  I'm not really clear why they decided that, but perhaps the slightly more positive news on unemployment, coupled with some other polling data, suggests it's not going to fly for them.  In any case, jobs don't seem to be the big thing right now.

So, in short order, we've seen several brawls over abortion, contraception, and women's health in general.

President Obama probably started it (although that's unclear) when he said that company-provided health insurance must include birth control medications.  Immediately some religious institutions complained, saying they shouldn't be required to provide such coverage when it was against their beliefs.  They claimed Freedom of Religion.

Now, a couple of things immediately pop to mind.  First, they can make a case that such a mandate might be considered the State stepping into the doings of religions, something the Constitution says isn't legal.  However, by saying they shouldn't have to comply, they are doing the same thing, namely mandating that their employees, who may be of some other religion, must conform to their rules...thus mandating religious beliefs upon their employees.  Whoops!  There's a real problem here.

However, the President found a solution.  He said that employers didn't have to "pay extra" to provide that coverage, but that Health Insurance providers must include the coverage in their products.  Sounds simple.  The churches are off the hook, and everyone can believe as they wish.  That should have been acceptable, and even some of the complainers said, begrudgingly..."Okay."

However, that, of course, wasn't the end of it.  Some in Congress started holding hearings, claiming that the entire thing had nothing to do with women's health but was purely Freedom of Religion.  To make their point, they invited witnesses to testify...notably all of them male.  Somehow the idea that women might have an opinion on the matter just...slipped past them.  When a Democrat, the minority party in the House, asked to add a woman to the witness list, he was summarily slapped down, told this has nothing to do with women!

So, let's move on now.  In Virginia, the House of Delegates voted to require that a woman must have a trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to having the abortion.  Why?  Well, first it's because a regular ultra-sound won't provide much of a picture during the first tri-mester, when abortions are legal.  However, in either case, there is no medically-based reason for the ultrasound.  It is done purely as an attempt to convince the woman to change her mind.

Since the trans-vaginal ultrasound involves inserting a probe into a woman's vagina, and since there is no medical reason for the procedure, two things happen.  One, the cost of the abortion procedure...which is completely LEGAL medical procedure goes up...for no reason.  Two, because there is no medically-valid reason, the State is turning the doctor into a rapist.  Yup, that action meets all the legal definitions of the crime.

If the woman says "No" the doctor cannot proceed.  If he/she does, there is a crime being committed.  However, obviously it's not the doctor perpetrating this's...yup...the Republicans.

Now, during the discussion of this bill, C. Todd Gilbert, Republican from Woodstock, said he saw "most abortions  as a 'lifestyle convenience' for women."  I somehow doubt a rape victim sees it that way.  In fact, although I'm not female, I'll bet most women don't see it that way.

Moving right along now, there's one more example in the opening salvo of this war.

In Congress, the Republican House is trying to kill continuing funding for the Violence Against Women Act.  It's always been re-authorized before, but this year it's different.  Why?

Well, there are some new provisions, that make the act include the LGBTQ community.  There are also some provisions dealing with handling such cases in Native American courts, and considering that the highest percentage of crimes occur in that segment of the population, it seems reasonable.  Another reason, which is really just a spin move, is that rate of domestic violence have risen, so "the act clearly isn't doing the job."

In fact, those rates prove the exact opposite.  It is the act itself that have encouraged women to come forward and report the of the most under-reported crimes in the country.

So, we have this New War.  Since it's not a military action (more on this in a minute) we should look at other non-military wars for a name.  We've had the War on Poverty.  It may still officially be going on, but I'm not sure.  In any case, last time I checked the Census Date, poverty was still winning.

We've had the War on Drugs.  Drugs are winning, although we're doing a great job of filling up new jails.  We even had a Drug Czar...or Tsar if you prefer the traditional spelling.  In history, the Tsars didn't do real well winning wars, and this seems to be no different.

So, with all this in mind, I think the GOP should simply, and formally, declare WAR!  With that, I bring you....

The War of the Uterus

Now, two parting thoughts.  If the GOP doesn't want women to serve in combat roles, they probably shouldn't have picked this fight.  Last time I checked, women have complete control over every available Uterus.

Second, with the election looming, they have just declared war on about 1/2 of the voters in this country, and don't think those women haven't noticed.  Given the weaknesses of the GOP candidates, this wasn't a good time to be making enemies in the electorate.


Rachel said...

Recently I've been finding politics to be, not necessarily more interesting, but they have absolutely become more relevant to me as time has gone on. There are so many insane things they are attempting to push under our noses that I feel we need a complete government makeover these days...

Craig Allen said...

As an "old timer" I think I can speak with some level of experience, and it does seem that the whole political world has changed significantly. I've seen it attributed to Nixon, and his ideas that his opponents were his "enemies." It's hard to judge, but there may be some truth in that.

On a larger note, things seem more polarized than before, and I think that's because we've lost whatever ability we had to compromise. Now it's gotten to the point where Compromise is a dirty word, so accomplishing nothing is preferable to getting part of what you wanted. Sad...but true.

-Heir- said...

The problem I can see is with the adage of 'put your vote in someone else.' I say that, because is there a point in simply not voting at all? Of course not.
The problem is, as I say, if you don't want to vote for them, who DO you vote for? As we know, change doesn't happen over night and it doesn't seem to change in the length of time the USA has Been the USA... So what do the American people do?

Craig Allen said...

Voting is often...too often...a matter of voting for the "least worst" option. That's sad, but nevertheless accurate.

On the other hand, "group participation" is always about compromise, so nobody generally gets everything they want. Congress has, of course, forgotten that part.

We are left with two general choices: Vote for the best of those available, usually meaning pick one of the top two....or Vote for the person you really believe would do the best job, which may mean voting for someone who has no chance of winning, thus "throwing away your vote."

Again, the ultimate outcome is Compromise. This fall the ballot will have...likely...about 5 or 6 candidates...DEm, GOP, Green, Lib, etc. In all likelihood, only two of those could possibly win. I guess I'll vote for the least worst.