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"It's The Body, Stupid"

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Kevin Gordon--"Don't Stop Me This Time (mp3)

There is a new wrinkle to James Carville's (Bill Clinton's political strategist) infamous dictum: "It's the economy, stupid." The note was written to himself to remind him to keep a presidential campaign's focus on the one issue that really mattered. Most of the time, it continues to prove to be true when one wants to reach voters--remind them how well-off or bad-off they are and you have a chance of capturing their votes.

My new wrinkle is this: "It's the body, stupid." But the "stupid" is not James Carville. The stupid is us. Is it really possible that the issue of this election might be body rights? And is that a bad thing?

Well, probably not if you're a Democrat. And certainly not if you're a woman. What woman would vote Republican at this point?

In the past few days, we've been reminded by the conservative "brain trust" that:

a) women who are regularly on birth control are "sluts" and "prostitutes" who should film themselves having sex and post it online so everyone can watch.
b) if a woman seeks to get an abortion in Texas, she has to submit to a vaginal ultrasound sound. Date rape? Hell, no. That's state rape.
c) a bill co-sponsored by Republican dream VP candidate Marco Rubio that "would have allowed employers to deny their employees contraceptive care and other services if it conflicts with the employers religious or moral convictions. (CBS Miami)" Mercifully, the amendment was defeated.
d) Rick Santorum, more than being a Catholic, more than being a "papist," is really a "procreationist." (The term is mine and undoubtedly has other meanings). In effect, Santorum is one of those people who believes that sexual intercourse should only exist for the purpose of creating children, and, if he had his way, would like to impose those values on you, me, and us.

I say, bring it on. If people's sexual lives and behaviors constitute the most important issues of our day, then let's put it to a vote. Let's see who wins.

Um, let's see, in addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies in an rapidly-overpopulating world, various contraceptives can also do everything from limiting the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases to, in the case of birth control pills, limiting the development of the ovarian cancer that killed my mother.

Um, let's see, in addition to making babies, sexual intercourse can do everything from demonstrating love and enhancing intimacy and strengthening relationships and healing to simply relieving stress, which is its own kind of killer.

Which side does that put you on? And who could possibly have known that this might turn into some kind of "Pro-Sex" vs. "No-Sex" election? And who would ever think that the Republicans would find themselves in a broad position over time of arguing, essentially, that the best way to deal with the kind of rash, immature, careless decision-making that might occur when young people are sexually attracted to one another is to take away every safety net, before, after, and during the act, so that those children will not follow through. Just hand out the aspirin. To the girls, of course.

Because the insidious underpining of the whole conservative postion--whether it's campaign rhetoric, hastily-written ammendments, tone-deaf Super PAC jokesters, or even that asshole on the radio who "chose the wrong words"--is that the whole burden of sexual politics is on women. In every case, in every circumstance, it is the woman's body which faces intrusion, restriction, control.

Imagine if women felt empowered enough, if only because they felt outraged enough, then they could put a stop to all of this silliness. Rush's wife and Mitt's wife and Rick's wife could all just say, "Not tonight, Rush." Could say, "Sorry, Mitt." Could tell Rick, "Until this is about more than birthing babies, you ain't gettin' any." Like the women in Aristophanes' Lysistrata, who showed their men that they could stop all of the incessant warring with the simple withholding of favors, women could let the white men in the White Man's Party know that enough is enough.

So, yes, silly politicians, if you want to make this about the body, then, yes, let's make this about the body. And let us see what the majority in this counry thinks about that. Because there is only one, true majority in America. Think about it. It's women.

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