Friday, July 13, 2012

Culture of Patriarchal Oppression - episode 7/13/12

There are a lot of disturbing things going on in the political world these days, ahead of the Presidential election.  It's bad enough that some legislators seem hell-bent on restricting the personal freedoms of women and GLBT people while simultaneously claiming to want "less government" (which I guess means less tax, because it doesn't seem to mean less involvement).

But when they start co-opting my vernacular, to pretend they've already won - that is too much. The meta-issue that is bothering me today is:  who allowed the Religious Right to appropriate the words "moral issues" to mean taking the stance that they personally believe to be true?  Who got to decide that someone who is "concerned about moral issues" therefore opposes gay marriage, contraception, and/or abortion?  If they are allowed to get away with this language game, then they've already won - because it puts us in the position of saying, "oh, we're not going to care about morality, thanks anyway!"

When I googled "moral issues gay marriage," one of the first links was a highly-offensive polemic about "homosexuals and pro-homosexuals" who might try to convince one to ignore "morality" in order to support their agenda.  The article begins, "are homosexuality and homosexual marriage moral issues?" - and says yes, yes they are.  Hey - I agree completely.  Equal marriage for gays and lesbians is absolutely a moral issue.  Equal marriage opportunity for citizens in this country is a moral imperative, and the laws need to keep changing to reflect this.  My moral obligation is to support everyone's civil rights, including marriage.  The haters don't get to tell me which position is the "moral" one.

Reproductive choice works exactly the same way.  It is my moral right and obligation to have control over my own body (and to support every other woman in control over her own body).  This means affordable and reasonable access to the whole suite of reproductive medicine, from contraception to infertility treatment to abortion to prenatal care.  So when I say I vote on the moral issue of Choice, I mean that I vote for politicians who will further all women's moral rights to their own bodily integrity.

This article about 2004 exit polls explains the problem with a slightly different angle:  "who isn't going to say they're for moral values?"  Though the author slips into referencing "people who care more about moral values" - meaning those who oppose marriage and reproductive rights for other citizens.  As it happens, when I vote, I also care more about moral values than about the economy.  And that means I vote pro-choice and pro-equal-marriage.

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