Lucky Subjects of America!

I am happy to report our mission has been accomplished.  America has been Made Great Again.  We used to be Number One, now we are Number One Plus Plus!  We can count ourselves fortunate to be here for this glorious moment in our country’s history.

Our medical technology is the best and most innovative in the world.  One might worry that this would mean too many of us would live for too long, but luckily it’s also the most expensive medical technology in the world, and our health care system ensures that survival of the fittest (or, in this case, survival of the wealthiest) still applies.  Those in the working class will not burden the system after their productive and useful years are over.  Successful individuals, on the other hand, can be kept functioning in a vegetable state long past their expiration date.

The women of our nation are grateful to have been returned to their sacred feminine role.  No obstacle stands in the way of their freedom to birth countless babies.  Their labor may be unpaid, but it is the most important and holy work of all:  providing a supply of workers for our fast food restaurants, and soldiers for our neverending wars.

Speaking of which, our battles around the world are bringing us unprecedented victories–we are paying more money for more foreign military bases than before, and are able to grant the gift of democracy to the vanquished in those lands.  Haters might call us the Evil Empire, but we are ready and willing to fight anyone who questions our commitment to peace.  And now that our southern border wall has been extended to cover all four sides of the country, we can guarantee absolute safety to our fellow Americans, and keep them protected from nefarious eastern, western and northern influences.

Another nefarious influence which we have nearly completely succeeded in rooting out is that of the heathen Commie god named “Jesus.”  Our churchgoers pray to the Prosperity God and plead daily for His blessings.

Our enemies claim that we have turned America into a Third World nation.  We will not argue with this ludicrous assertion, except to say that even if it were true, we would be the best Third World nation ever.  Nobody can Third World the way we Third World.  Our tent cities are bigger than your tent cities, loser.

So don’t be afraid to embrace the MAGA, Americans!  Today, our nation stands unified–not least because anyone who dares to disagree has a good chance of getting “vanished”. Let us vow to ourselves that if we sacrifice more money, health and sanity to Our Dear Orange Leader next year, we can make America even greater!

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So just as I decided to be whiny about it, I’ve been given a good reminder of why I should be grateful to live in Portland.  The entire Internet has been mocking the Idaho gubernatorial debate today, with its wacky Bible-quotin’ conspiracy-theory-spoutin’ candidates.  This brings back lovely memories, as I used to live in Idaho.  Only for a short time, but still, wow.

The Idaho of today seems at least slightly less homophobic, as one of the debaters opined that gay people love each other more than he does his motorcycle.  I can still remember the guy at my Boise school who told me that if he found out a person was gay, he would have no problem whatsoever with killing them (shudder).  Then there were the male students in my college class (a college class!) responding to a female professor’s lecture by saying that yes, in fact, women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  While the boys were a bit more rude about it, the girls explained to me in a nice and polite way that they were going to submit to their husbands when they got married.  I think my jaw dropped to the ground and stayed there for the entire five years I lived in that state. 

In the end, it was too much for us.  We couldn’t handle Idaho.  Having just come from a stint in Holland and New York, the culture shock was too extreme to overcome.  We were singing on the day we packed up our U-Haul to leave.  And then it was time for our romance with Portland to begin.

I would like to add that there were a few wonderful and open-minded people I met in Idaho as well.  I feel for them–it’s not an easy life for those brave individuals.

Whether the protesters in Egypt are opposing Morsi or Mubarak, whether they are marching for or against an Islamist or secular state, one constant remains–women are sexually assaulted.  This last Sunday, 46 sexual assaults were reported during a large gathering in Tahrir Square.  These assaults usually consist of a mob of men which surrounds, strips and gropes the women.

And yet another female journalist was attacked:

But–naturally–it is all the fault of the assault victims themselves:  “…some conservative religious clerics and government officials blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men.”

No matter what the cause, no matter what the revolution, no matter which religion is involved, we are always a convenient scapegoat and punching bag.  Though it is not the same thing, I cannot help but think of the conservatives in this country, which are rallying their base by passing as many laws which are restrictive and punitive to women as they possibly can.

In the meantime, let’s give a shout-out to the heroes in this situation, Egypt’s Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment.  These very brave people patrol the protests and try to rescue the women who are assaulted.  They also frequently have to pay out of their own pocket to have the injured women admitted to private hospitals, as the public hospitals will often not accept them (arrghh).  Yay for this courageous group, working in what must be a very dangerous setting for them.

Interesting quote from David French, director of “How to Survive a Plague”, commenting on why today’s LGBT generation might be less radical about their political fight:  “Hasn’t all identity politics hit a wall?  Feminism as identity politics is nothing like it was in the ’70s and ’80s, the way we talk about race is all kind of blurred now.  I don’t know how to describe the period we’re in, but it’s post-identity politics.”

Post-identity politics.  As a woman, I would agree with this statement, especially the part referring to feminism.  My question is, would this be a positive development–a sign that there is less discrimination for these various groups to worry about?  Or does it simply mean that people are not speaking out as much about the problems which are still in existence?  After all, these days when you draw attention to racist innuendo against the President you’re playing the “race card”.  If you argue too loudly for women’s rights, you are an angry feminist requesting special birth control perks from the government.

I think it’s obvious that the undercurrent of bigotry is still there.  Witness the 2012 election, with its food stamps race-baiting and the male politicians fixating on women’s health, the angry red staters arming themselves to the teeth because that African guy got re-elected.  Perhaps the real issue is that the way talk about all this is, as French said, “blurred”.  Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of playing our cards and stating our identities, and shouldn’t be in such a hurry to be post-everything.

Here’s what really sucks about the Komen Foundation’s decision to cease their support of Planned Parenthood:  it forces women to take sides in a political conflict they don’t want to be in.  I have supported the breast cancer cause in the past and would like to continue to do so, without all this…excess baggage.  Most women would.  We all oppose breast cancer, no matter which side of the aisle we’re on.

Part of me says this shouldn’t matter.  The Komen leadership has a right to its own views and the cause of finding a cure is so important we should be able to transcend our differences.

But another part of me says this is just a small piece of a larger battle.  The Komen Foundation decided to withdraw its Planned Parenthood funding after getting consistent pressure from pro-life groups.  I can’t help but think that the effort to put us all in a time machine and take us back to the bad old days has been accelerating lately.  Rep. Cliff Stearns’ right-wing witch hunt against Planned Parenthood is one symptom of this.  State governments have been proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills, and we have Presidential candidates in the running who don’t even think the Pill was such a great idea in the first place.

So I think many of us feel we have no choice but to stand up against this—before it gets even worse.  Hence the head of Los Angeles County’s chapter of the Komen Foundation resigning, and the many protest posts to be found on Facebook.  The Komen Foundation is losing support from many women, and it is doing this damage to itself—unnecessarily.

I would love to be able to continue to wear the pink ribbon, and to have it stand just for that, pink and the fight against breast cancer.  But I suppose it’s a sign of the times:  our nation is so divided right now that even the most innocent cause is no longer innocent.