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womengloriousAs with so much with me, a number of widely disparate notions traverse my synaptic receptors before it dawns on me–the greater issue–that is.

Thus it starts with the insanely stupid Hobby Lobby decision, brought to us by five Catholic men who have probably long-since stopped depositing seed in the fertile womb of any woman married to or otherwise.

A perusal of but a few of the rags that pass for “right-wing” blather turns up gems such as “you want to have your fun and make me pay for it”, “keep your legs together or pay for it yourself”, or this upside-down logic, “if you can’t afford contraception, you can’t afford to have a baby anyway!”

Hey there brain-dead XY’er, umm, it seems that you fundamentally misunderstand some rather basic stuff. One,  if women are using contraception to “have fun” well guess who they are having fun with? Second, contraception coverage under an insurance plan is not a “gift”, it is a benefit owed to the employee in lieu of a bigger paycheck. Taxpayers have nothing to do with it bozo. Third, umm, under this theory why are you still getting your I-can’t-get-it-up-without-ya Viagra in your insurance plan? If you want to have fun, pay for it? And fourth, uh, contraception is the way you avoid a pregnancy you cannot afford stupid.

I am post-menopausal, yet this fight is my fight. For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

Some many years ago, when I still worked for a living, I had a work colleague. “B” as we shall call him was an African-American male and law schooled at U of M. “B” was inordinately proud of his U of M alumni status and wore a lapel pin announcing his alumni status virtually every day.

One day, “B” wandered into the law library (which contained a lunch room at one end) where a number of us (mostly women, Black and white) were discussing affirmative action and how we all were grateful for the opportunities it had given us as both women and women of color to advance in various professions. Added to that were the men and women before us who had labored on our behalf to ensure that we as young women had more opportunities than their generation.

“B” was asked if he too were grateful for the boost given him in his pursuit of a better life. He exploded in a vehement denial of being such a recipient. He got where he was, “by his own talents and abilities” and was beholden to no one for his success. We all were shocked, attempted to argue with him, but B left the room quickly in disgust at our suggestion.

I am retired and no longer work. Yet this fight to level the playing field is my fight.  For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

A friend just a day ago, talked about how she and her family had needed food stamps and other forms of public assistance to get by for a time in the past. All who know her, know she is a hard-working mom, a dedicated wife, a thoroughly responsible person. She puts a face on all “those” people that the Right so snidely likes to look down upon as “takers” and as developing a culture of expectation that the government will take care of them. She belies that picture assuredly.

I can echo that story by one of about my housekeeper who is struggling, working from sun-up to sun-down to raise six children all the while in the midst of a divorce from their father who continues to refuse to pay one penny toward their care as a way to punish her for putting him out for his drinking, drugging, and abusive ways. She receives what aid she can from where she can, and we struggle to find better ways to help her.

I am not receiving assistance, and if all goes as it seems to be, I never shall. But this fight is my fight. For I am a woman. For I am a human being.

How does this all tie together?

Only in one respect. Read Matthew 25.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

There are many who say that we are genetically wired to care about each other. Certainly humans are not meant to be alone like the cheetah or polar bear. We have found camaraderie and safety in numbers. We have sacrificed some independence, some freedom for the protection of those numbers. Somewhere in that movement from tribe to village to town and city, we have learned to care about the needs of others, not just ourselves. Beyond our concerns for the progeny we bear, we care for the old, and for the disabled.

Recently remains of a Down’s Syndrome child was found among early human burial remains. The skeleton suggests that rather than kill or expose these disabled babies, they were cared for until their natural death. Similarly we find the remains of elderly who certainly could not have survived without help from others.

From this we learn that the desire to care for each other is ancient. We seek to serve each other,  either by genetics or at the very least by the call of the most perfect prophet the world has known–Jesus Christ.

Unlike our Right-wing evangelicals who twist scripture to reflect a Jesus who counsels against government assistance, eschews the minimum wage, and Paul who taken out of context tells us that those who will not work will not eat, we respond to what is in our hearts and/or in our DNA, called to reflect that what we do to others we inevitably do to ourselves.

When I hear the voices of hate-bearing sanctimonious condemnation, when I listen to their explanation that we are “coddling” and “creating a dependence culture”, I am not sure what comes first to me, the tears of grief that people can drape themselves in the flag while waving the bible in order to hide from the world their true self-centered motives, distorting Christ and his sermon of empathy and love, or the flashes of red-hot anger that wish to explode in slapping such people across the face as hard as I can, watching the self-satisfied holier-than-thou smugness fade as the cheek brightens into a red imprint.

We do what is right because it is right, quite simply. Women as poor as they may be deserve as good health care as the CEO of GM. Everybody gets to where they are in life due to the helping hands of untold dozens if not tens of dozens, and lack of means is no definition of worthiness or lack of it. Dr. Ben Carson has become the darling of the Right with his claims that government assistance to the poor, is akin in some measure to a return to slavery. Well Dr. Carson was the recipient of plenty of that assistance as a child and young adult, and that assistance gave him the opportunity to study hard and do all the things he had to do to achieve great success. He did not do it alone and he would be the first to be offended had his mother or he been treated as something less than the kids who grew up in better circumstances.  How soon we forget from whence we have come.

How soon we fall victim to our own greed for the “good life” and turn our backs on all those who are left behind. How soon we forget that but for the “grace of God, go I”. How soon we twist self-righteous religiosity into some sort of club with which to bludgeon all those who don’t do as we say, while we do as we wish, crying out to God when caught, that we too are sinners, but somehow still not sinners like those awful others. 

So we will gladly pay a little more if it means that everyone has a decent minimum. Everyone should have a home, clothing, medical care, quality education, and a job at a fair and living wage. We will do it because we don’t see the world as them and us, but as we.  It is the human thing to do quite simply. And you will never dissuade us otherwise, though you may win a battle here and there. You will not win in the end, because

WE ARE BETTER THAN YOU ENVISION US AND YOU TO BE.

 

 

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