WHY IS LAURA BUSH SMILING?
Not too long ago, women were secure in their kitchens, raising a passel of children, leaning over the hot stove to lift steaming pots of nutritious meals for the family, keeping the house clean and the toilet unplugged, and watching the years fly by. After years of struggle, they could vote, but the " good little woman" was the ideal, Donna Reed in high heels and a crisp white apron!
Then, someone, I forget who, perhaps it was that short, plump Bella Abzug and her ilk, suggested that perhaps women had a right to other things in life. This caused a furor and women marched in droves down tree-lined avenues, shouting slogans about independence and freedom and all those good things in life. To their credit, some men joined the throng.
Time passed and the Birth Control pill came out...along with paper diapers able to cut down on the dirty work and clog our nation's landfills. The Pill was a revolution. Women knew a freedom they had never tasted before. It was almost as though they were equal to men, although the paychecks never quite measured up.
For the first time, women could become whatever they wanted to become, do whatever they wanted to do. And, if they didn't want children, no sweat! They could devote their lives to whatever goal they selected and, if that goal didn't include motherhood, it was their choice.
Choice? This is a dirty word these days, almost a profanity. Heaven forbid anyone have choice. What about the "unborn"? The rights of the unborn in these modern times have become of more concern than the rights of the already born. As the Patriot Act robs us of freedom, the vilification of the word "Choice" robs us of the chance to enjoy what freedoms we have.
It has become a man's world again! George Bush strides forward, with Laura obediently walking two steps behind, a slight, enigmatic smile on her face. Women are encouraged to marry; have children; love, honor and obey their husbands...and return to the Biblical status of womanhood, which seems to me to be a life-shortener.
Oh, once in a while, Laura ventures forth. She gave a speech in front of the Press Club, a rather witty, impish speech filled with loving jibes about her husband. The audience roared with approval, probably amazed that she was allowed to speak at all. Then, too, she has traveled to "trouble spots" in the Middle East. But her message echoes her husband's....sheer obedience, an example for good wives everywhere. Heaven forbid she have an independent thought!
In Biblical times, women were treated as property. And, if you continue reading, you will find that back in those times, wives were expected to have children. It seemed to be their only purpose. If barren....and were they ever barren!...they were expected to stand aside while Hubby welcomed a "handmaiden" into his bed, who immediately conceived. Then, sure as little green apples are bitter, the old, cast-aside wife also became pregnant, even though she seemed to be a little long in the tooth for such an event, perhaps even a few hundred years or so. Men, it seemed, were having all the fun, while women were paying the pregnancy piper.
Despite the longevity of Biblical women, women of later eras did not copy Methuselah and stay alive for a century or more! They died of exhaustion, of "childbed fever", of having too many children, too much work, and too few vacations. They died because doctors and midwives didn't have enough sense to wash their hands. They died before they had much time to enjoy adulthood. They died in childbirth and after childbirth. Many of the children died, as well. These were times of heartbreak, especially for women.
One thing I have noticed about today's Republicans. They approve slashing Welfare Programs, which undoubtedly feed many children. They do not complain about slashing funding for lunch programs, or cutting Head Start funds, all of which help underprivileged children. They waste not a thought on the babies in Iraq, being blown to bit by bombs and missiles.
But Heaven help anybody who suggests the Living ought to be of more concern than the "Unborn"! To hear the Republicans tell it, the world is filled with empty-headed female sex bombs, determined to get pregnant, sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry, encouraging pregnancy, then waiting until a baby is fully formed to have it gouged out by some demonic doctor who enjoys killing babies. It is a masterpiece of distortion, aimed at setting women back a few centuries and empowering men.
Nor do many of them want the world to practice Birth Control. The only thing they approve is premarital abstinence and postmarital pregnancies. This is the advice they feel the Bible has given us, and scientific discovery be damned! Many rightwingers would rather swallow a hefty cup of Jim Jones' KoolAid than take a birth control pill!
Then, too, speaking of Science, there is the Morning After Pill. Shhhh! We mustn't tell that woman who has been brutally raped about that! We mustn't give her that information, but force her to give birth to this animal's child. Their propaganda is filled with examples of Happy Rape Victims with their blessed Even Happier Children! Even in cases of incest, we must remain silent! No pity, no concern for this unfortunate child at the mercy of a brute father or uncle or brother! Remember the Unborn! To hell with the Already Here!
It boils down to "punishment". Since Republicans are not willing to help feed, clothe and shelter all of the babies they think should be born, it appears to me that they aren't after anything but punishment for the people who indulge in sex, which includes just about everyone on the planet. You have sinned, you must pay the consequences! You have enjoyed yourself, you must pay the piper! What enjoyment they seem to get from these rigid rules that would even punish a 12 year old molested by a brutish father and pregnant with his child! How gleefully punitive!
What is it with rightwingers and sex, anyway? They obviously do not enjoy activities in their own bedrooms as much as they delight in managing the events in their neighbors' bedrooms! They are so concerned about sexual mores that their minds must be like pornographic photographs, each image invoking even more moral indignation! Gays, especially, infuriate them. The Unborn deserve their rights, but not homosexuals.
It appears to me that rightwingers should realize that the Bible was written many years ago, before Columbus had made that journey across the ocean, before man had landed on the moon, before anyone knew the world wasn't flat. To live in today's world with the idea that these people, living in that small, inhibited sphere, should be rigid examples for today's women is archaic and even barbaric. It seems that the Christian Right ignores the love, the mercy, the foregiveness preached by Jesus and, instead, plows through the murkiness of the remainder of the Bible. They especially love Revelation, which is a babbling morass of nonsense and could be interpreted in any way one decides. Personally, I think it was written by a Biblical Unibomber. A manifesto! Conform or die!
Religion, throughout the ages, has provided guidance for behavior and morals. Recently, this guidance has disappeared and the beliefs of the Christian Right are used as a club battering the head of anyone who feels differently they do. It's morally wrong, they feel, to ignore the rights of the unborn. But morally right to start invasive wars that end by killing countless children and adults. An oxymoron, for sure!
And women, instead of marching forward in a world that celebrates individual freedom, are being encouraged to moving backward, to become chattel, possessions, property of men. I can't help but feel that any woman approving this step backward is suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, brainwashed by her captors. And I wonder how many female engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, authors and other needed intellects will be stifled by the growing tentacles of the "new morality"?