Conservatives are not opposed to contraception.  They’re fine with me using contraceptives, as much as I want to.  They just don’t want to have to pay for them, either with their tax money or increased insurance premiums or whatnot.  But as long as I’m paying for them myself, it’s all good.  Or so they tell me.  Because they’re all about freedom for everybody.

So then why does every conservative rant about insurance coverage of contraception inevitably end with the suggestion that I shouldn’t be having sex?  There was Foster Friess joking that I should stick an aspirin bottle between my knees, the way the good girls used to in his day.  I’ve listened to endless talk radio hosts discussing this issue and somehow, it always comes down to “What about just being abstinent?”  Sure, I guess that’s an option–it’s not as if I need to enjoy my life.  While I’m at it, I could also spend my free time flogging myself for my many sins, but I think that custom is as passe as celibacy.  It also doesn’t help that the guys promoting virtuous behavior get caught trying to pick up men in airport bathroom stalls.

There’s an answer to all of our problems, an answer which can bridge our partisan divide, and that answer is oral sex.  Both liberals and conservatives love it.  It will not cause an abortion, it will not have to be paid by anyone else’s insurance premium, and it doesn’t give me the horrible side effects of the pill.  It can be gay or straight.  If one so wishes, it can take place within the bounds of a traditional religious marriage.  It might keep Catholic couples from trying to use that silly calendar method.  It’s an experience of pure beauty and ecstasy, and it unites all of us, no matter who we are, in that one happy moment of orgasm.

So if conservative talking heads wanted to prove to us that they are not, in fact, prudish killjoys, they would promote oral sex.  Instead of advising women “Maybe you should stop having a love life,” how about “Find a boyfriend who will give you head.”  But they will never say that, because contrary to what they claim, they are uncomfortable with women enjoying their sexuality.  Deep inside, they’re still stuck on the idea that sex for women is only okay if the goal is baby-making.

But I’m always open to the idea that I could be wrong.  It’s possible–Tea Party Patriots For Head can happen!  It could be the most powerful pro-life movement of our new century.  And it’s one Tea Party organization that I would be glad to join.

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In the past few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about liberty.  The freedom to live one’s life as one wishes to live it.  And, of course, the government’s desire to take that liberty away.

I would like to add to that chorus of voices and say that I, too, believe in freedom.

First of all, I believe in the liberty to live my life without having twelve or thirteen children.  We’re not in the nineteenth century anymore and I don’t need to spend my existence as a woman pumping out kids and dying in childbirth.  I want the freedom to fulfill my goals and ambitions, to educate myself, to have a satisfying career and to be creative.  I don’t want that freedom taken away from me as I am reduced to the procreation role of a rabbit. 

Secondly, I believe in my freedom to follow a religion other than that of the conservative Christian church.  As far as I know, we are (still) permitted to follow different religious faiths in this country.  Therefore, I will plan my principles, my sex life, my marriage and my worship rituals around my individual spiritual beliefs.  I realize that there are conservative Christians in government who would like to take those liberties away, but all this means is that they don’t understand the greatness of this country.  I have my conversations with God too—they are not the only ones with that privilege—and the message I’m getting from Him doesn’t bode well for them.

I also believe in the freedom to use my brain.  I don’t think God would have given me an active, functioning, sarcastic mind if I wasn’t meant to use it.  I believe in the freedom we have as a species to use our intelligence, to make amazing technological and medical advances, and to make the world better this way.  I don’t think we should be ashamed of that, as if it somehow takes us further away from God or Nature.  I don’t believe in abandoning all the progress we’ve made so that we can return to the “good old days”.  Or the Dark Ages, more like.  Does anybody here really want to live in a world with no cancer treatments or high-speed Internet?  Moving on, then.

Finally, I would like to live my life free of fear.  Free of the fear that if I develop a serious illness, I will lose everything I have.  The fear that I will be swindled out of my retirement savings.  Or the fear that I will have to spend my life working for minimum wage, because all of our work will get outsourced overseas and there will be no other options for me.  But I forgot…I have already been born, so my well-being means very little to those in power.  Even less since I’m a woman.  If only I was a fetus, perhaps I would have better luck! 

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I fell victim to it, along with some other people I know.  I am just now recovering from a serious bout of Santorum panic.

I don’t think I can be completely blamed for it.  Santorum is one of those scary people known as social conservatives.  This means that on top of the usual right-wing predatory philosophy of “If you happen to be old or sick, you are a weaker specimen, and need to be rejected from the pack”, he also carries an unappetizing layer of push-it-down-your-throat religiosity.  I suppose the pompous morality is there to try to hide the predatory thinking, something that the libertarians, in all their charming honesty, do without.

Anyway, Santorum wants to annul all the previously established gay marriages–in the name, no doubt, of liberty.  He would like to allow states to ban contraceptives.  As he said in an interview, contraceptives are bad since they give one all kinds of sexual license.  In short, he represents the kind of small town thinking I instinctively fear—because I am someone who comes from a small town.  Sure, a small town in Eastern Europe.  But let me share a little secret:  Small towns are the same all over the world.  They’re FRIGHTENING.

If I want more proof that Rick inhabits a different planet than me, I need look no further than the sweater vests he is currently hawking to anyone who will donate $100 or more to his campaign.  I’m not sure why, but Christian conservatives even have a fashion sense all their own.  The make-up styles of the female Fox news anchors have induced bouts of panic in me as well.

So when Santorum came in second in Iowa, I freaked out.  I forwarded Facebook posts with all of his scariest quotes, and left rambling comments on blogs.  I envisioned a Santorum presidency and tried to decide which country I would flee to when all the condoms had run out.

Of course, I had forgotten one thing:  this was Iowa.  It was the place where Huckabee had, once upon a time, come in first.  The nominees don’t come out of Iowa.

And so thankfully, things are now in a much more predictable place.   According to the latest reports from the BBC, the crowds at Santorum speeches are still full of energy, but much smaller.  He also made the mistake of wading into his “gay marriage equals polygamy” stuff with some college students, and got heckled and booed.  Most importantly, another BBC news article (yes, I luvs the BBC) interviewed a few people in his audience who said they didn’t want to hear anymore about abortion and gay marriage.  They wanted to hear about the economy.  It’s still the economy, stupid, not theology.

Well, I have been miraculously healed from my irrational moment of panic and feel much better.  Now to get ready for the real thing:  Romney and months of boring debates about tax code and health insurance.  Hallelujah!