Politics gets lady bits (sort of) right for once

So, Mike Huckabee recently said something about how women who want birth control can’t control their libido or their reproductive system.

I find this hilarious because he’s spot-on; just not in the way he thinks he is.

I mean, no shit; libido is not a static thing!

Really, how many times have we heard the defense of a rapist (NOTE: I chose my word with care here, because I’m pretty sure I have heard this exact thing heard used in the defense of both male and female rapists) say “I just couldn’t control myself”? Sure, you can’t control who you find attractive. Most people have someone. I had cute teachers in high school. I’ve had crushes. Just because you can control the actions resulting from that—Which, hey, is exactly what most of these women are doing, I’m pretty sure; it’s just that their control results in consensual sex that is far less likely to produce children. Where’s the condemnation of the guys who engage in this? Oh, right, they’re “sowing their wild oats”… which is code for “can’t control their urges”. Forgot about that. My bad… *coughchokeDIE*—doesn’t mean you can control exactly when you’ll find yourself ready to go. Yeah, women are supposed to have that famed “on/off” switch for those *ahem* romantic feelings, but Hollywood lies to us about a lot of things, and I’m pretty sure this is no exception…

To be clear, I believe that men are just as capable as women of controlling their urges. People are, by and large, pretty decent. For some reason, we give the ones that aren’t the most press. Kinda sad if you ask me.

(What I find absolutely hilarious is that I’m watching this little exchange in the 1993 “The Three Musketeers” right now:

Aramis: [teaching female student about the fall from the Garden]

Student: [leans over and kisses him]

Aramis: Madam, I’m flattered, but I am here to tutor you in theology.

Student: Forgive me, Monsieur Aramis, but when you started talking about original sin, I lost control and became impassioned. It won’t happen again; go on.

Aramis: [puts down Bible] Well, there’s nothing… unholy about… expressing one’s emotions. On the contrary, religion should be experienced in an all-embracing way. Feel free to express your spirituality.

Student: Yes, darling. [They start making out]

Husband: [Turning door knob] LET ME IN!

Student: [panicked whisper] My husband!

Aramis: You’re MARRIED?

Student: Yes, I’m married!

Aramis: Oh, we must pray for our sins. [They bow their heads; door bursts open, husband takes a shot at Aramis, who ducks] On second thought, God is often busy… [runs as Student tries to hold off Husband])

As to being unable to control my reproductive system, God, I only wish I could. I can’t just go, “Oh, hey, uterus, my homie; I had a rough go of it last month–think you can tone the cramps down? Actually, all you bits and bobs down there, can we just not do this this month? Actually, can we just not do this until I’m ready to have a baby*? That’d be swell, thanks!” (* Funny story: that’s actually how fertility works in Terre D’Ange in Jacqueline Carrey’s Kushiel series.) Is there some sort of black magic by which men control their bits and bobs? Given the conversations I have had with those of the biologically male persuasion, I’m pretty sure there isn’t…

Oh, right; they can’t actually control it and they’re sowing their wild oats. Anyway… *coughchokeDIEAGAIN*

More seriously, I can sort of see the point he’s making in his other remarks. I don’t agree with it, but I can see how he got his slant on it. The thing is, I don’t feel like a victim when I can make my own choices and when I’m not debilitated by cramps three days a month. (And apparently 3 days is me getting off lucky. Either that, or my friends have some really crappy luck…) I actually feel really empowered. Something about not having to excuse myself from work, especially in an industry that is still largely male-dominated, just makes me feel good. I mean, not that I try to wave banners and announce it to the world, and it’s not like the guys I work with ask or are jerks about me being female. It’s just one of those facts-of-life-that-we-just-really-don’t-want-to-think-or-talk-about things. As long as that’s understood, it’s all cool.

Rather like abortion, I’m not going to force birth control on someone who doesn’t want it; it should be a choice. It is that choice that is empowering. It’s a choice that does give me control over things I otherwise can’t control.

…At least we agree on that point?


I Don’t Toe a Party Line; So What?

I have a confession:

I am a left-leaning moderate.

I don’t particularly identify with any political party that I’m aware of, especially because my focuses and opinions shift depending on a) what I do or don’t know about an issue or person, and b) what the current issues are to begin with. I just can’t say “I’m a member of the _____ party”, though, because I’m not. I disagree with at least one major stance of every party I know of, and so I refuse to be tied down by an affiliation.

That’s not to say I don’t have my opinions on things, however. I know what I think about a lot of stuff, and I know how much it matters to me, for the most part. What really doesn’t matter to me, especially in election years, is how much the other guy sucks. If you can tie that into how you’re going to be better, by all means, back up your statements with facts. But I am sick and tired of hearing “He was born in Siberia” or “He said pink instead of salmon”—we’re all human. We were all born somewhere, and we all mis-speak sometimes.

Okay, yes, I get the whole born-in-U.S.-necessary-for-presidency thing. I’m just tired of all the muck-raking and the sensationalism. Fact-checking would be so much easier if people just stuck to the facts and didn’t freak out over every single little thing. It’s a lot to ask, I know, since sensationalism is what makes news, but wouldn’t it be great if stories weren’t blown out of proportion?

On that subject, how about making promises that a candidate can keep? Saying you’ll dig the country out of debt and end homelessness and hunger in 4 to 8 years is admirable, and I wish it could happen, but, the fact of the matter is, that’s next to impossible, and we all know it. Or rather, it’s impossible, given that repairing such atrocities take time. Change takes time—it’s never instantaneous.

Gridlock doesn’t help. I get that everyone’s priorities are different, but sacrifices must be made. And I’m not talking about heaping more of a burden on the middle and lower classes to remain on top; I really am talking about cutting spending and (and I know someone will say I ought to be shot for suggesting it) paying more in taxes. But come on—if it’s obvious we can’t keep up our current spending, we can either pray that God/Buddha/the Treasury Department will shower us with money (which will not solve the problem, and, in fact, will likely make it worse), or we can actually take action. It’s like the joke about the guy caught on the roof of his house during a flood who keeps on saying that God will save him when people offer to rescue him, asks why God didn’t when he perishes, and God says “I sent two boats and a helicopter; what more did you want?!”

Cutting the little things, won’t work, either. PBS, NPR, and the like are atoms that make up peanuts compared to what we spend on defense, let alone on big political gatherings and conferences. I understand that all this spending does keep a lot of people in work, but that money could, if properly used (oh, how sad it is that this is wishful thinking at best!) help bring others out of poverty so that they, too, could share in the burden while still making livable wages. I’m not saying that they should be indiscriminately given to—not in the least.

I believe in frequent drug testing in addition to any other check-ups required to receive welfare. I also believe in putting those who are unemployed to work that they are physically able to do to fix our crumbling infrastructure, and I believe that prisoners ought to be put to work doing the same, and not just given a (relatively) cushy cell to live in rent-free. (I’ve heard of too many people going back to jail simply because it’s easier than actually making the effort to live outside.) I believe in education about contraception so that our nation’s babies (and all women, for that matter) aren’t having babies they can’t afford.

Finally, (and this is the part I will be absolutely crucified for, I’m sure, but I’m as entitled to my opinion as you are to yours), again, I do believe in higher taxes if one can afford them until we get ourselves out of this mess. Not insanely much higher. But this gaping financial chasm we’ve got going has two parts to it, as I said, earlier: out of control spending, and not paying enough to make up for it. But we can’t raise taxes by an unfair amount, and we can’t completely cut spending, so, it seems some of both is in order. Now, as to what to cut… I honestly don’t know. I’m no expert. All I know is that cutting programs worth a few million each won’t do squat, especially if they provide good service.

Speaking of being crucified for my views, though, I’m also of the opinion that McCarthyism is still very much alive and screaming and pointing in the U.S. It’s not always to the communists; it’s just to everyone else who doesn’t believe exactly what a vocal minority does. I mean, at least 75% of the time, it seems like our foreign policy is this: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend… or needs to be nuked from orbit. Still not sure on a good day.”

The point is, none of this has worked out very well for us, so why do we just keep it up? It makes us like little children who give their parents alternating silent treatments and screaming fits until they get what they want. Well, we all have the right to vote, so why don’t we exercise that right and vote these brats out of office? (I am a firm believer in “Didn’t vote? Don’t complain.”) And why don’t we put actual effort into figuring out what REALLY works to keep food on the table and people off the streets and corruption out of our halls of politics?

Okay, yeah, I’m REALLY reaching on the last one, and probably the other two as well, but realism with a healthy dose of optimism often does the trick, I’ve found. Also, righteous fury in small doses.

In summation, a quote from JFK: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”