Now wicked things can happen...
you see 'em goin' down in war.
But when you play in a quiet way
that bites it even more
--Say It Isn't So, Hall & Oates
In this dark march toward
whatever it is we are approaching...
don't - don't hang back with the brutes!
--A Streetcar Named Desire,
Below are thoughts prefatory to "Sin, Sin, Sin", RAW's tour de force handicapping of the Republican contenders on their SIN quotient -- coming this weekend.
Who's the biggest sinner of all? The lord loves a sinner, so perchance he who sins more, is more worthy of great things. After drawing names from a hat, what could be a better indicator of winning potential? Does the sinner take all?
. . . Stay tuned!
Medievalism. Nope, we're not gonna talk about Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or the lot of them. We are talking right here in River City.
It doesn't seem real, this focus on women's bodies amongst the Republican presidential contenders. Our economy is in shambles; we are in a war; the country's basic needs are profound -- and yet somehow, women's bodies have become the battlefield.
We did become fully human (almost) in 1920, with the contentious ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. For over 90 years, women have been granted full manumission in the U.S., in terms of being allowed to exercise our rights of citizenship (even Mississippi ratified the amendment, albeit in 1973.) And yet, our rights over our very bodies remain in the hands of men.
For less than 40 years, women have legally been allowed to determine whether they shall carry a pregnancy to term, without risking our lives in shoddy back alley operations or self-inducements. This right has been contentious since it was granted, but now in 2012, Rick Santorum -- Republican frontrunner -- suggests that contraception is harmful to society and pre-natal testing should be curtailed as it promotes abortions.
Santorum approves of some pre-natal tests like sonograms, but not amniocentesis, on the basis that it encourages abortion. “Amniocentesis does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions,” Santorum said. “That is a fact” (Rick Santorum: Prenatal testing encourages abortions).
That is a disingenuous statement. The test itself may result in a 1-5% chance of miscarriage, but the test does not result in more abortions. What it does result in is an informed woman who may then make choices based on the results of accurate scientific testing. We did go through the Scientific Revolution so that we might avail ourselves of technology which might reduce human suffering.
Amniocentesis is ordered when a basic sonogram reveals abnormalities. Because there is a risk of false positives with a sonogram, amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are then necessary to give an almost 100% verification of chromosomal abnormalities like Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), or Trisomy 28, which Santorum's child has.
Santorum's wording is painfully ignorant when he says things like, “The president has a very bad record on the issue of abortion and children who are disabled who are in the womb. I think this simply is a continuation of that idea.” How do these children crawl retroactively back into a womb? Children result from a live birth. Words and their meanings matter.
In Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, she argues that the events of 9-11-01 allowed for a cultural atavism, in which male folklore returns, imperiling feminism. Rick Santorum is resonating with the people because he embodies, if not the machismo, then certainly the subjugation of women in the guise of protectionism.
We have a Homeland Security guarding our borders, why not a president who oversees the gateway to the uterus? This is not benign concern -- this is a brazen attempt to co-opt women's decision-making. It is malevolent paternalism.
How is this even a topic of presidential concern in 2012?