Opinion » Bill Cope

You Run, Girl

You haven't come as far as you think, baby


Ladies--especially you younger ones--please don't take offense if I presume to present you with a little history. It's likely that most of you know what I'm going to tell you at least as well as I do and probably better. However, in my experience, even the kind of history people know backward and forward sometimes gets overlooked in the fits and furies that can be generated by current events.

Take, for instance, the furies generated by Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a slut for testifying that birth control should be covered by health insurance. No decent person can argue what he said wasn't vile. And decent people must never excuse him for not only this latest display of his putrid nature but the preceding 25 years of his putrid presence.

Yet we must also put this swine's attitude into some sort of historical perspective. Isn't it possible that Limbaugh, with four fruitless marriages under his belt, has no experience with any sort of woman other than the kind whose only possible incentive for being his mate is money? Isn't it also possible that he considers all women to be sluts, and that the more accomplished, bright and repulsed by him they are, the sluttier they seem to him?

More pertinently, isn't it probable that Limbaugh and men like him are not grunting, shuffling throwbacks, but are instead a sub-species of simian that has never adjusted, and never will, to the notion that a woman is good for something other than the variety of services she can provide a man? And there is nothing rare and unusual about this clan of cave apes, is there? We--and by "we," I mean Americans, not Afghanis--are being deluged by evidence that a whole lot of men regard it as a political duty to enforce their religious sensibilities over those of modern femininity.

I hope you're paying attention, I truly do. Just as the right spent 2011 trying to smash organized labor, it has entered into 2012 with what appears to be a coordinated assault on the sovereignty of females over their own bodies and health decisions. Even as an effort to take control of women's sexuality fails in one venue--e.g. the invasive ultrasound requirement in Virginia or the "personhood" bill in Mississippi--it pops up somewhere else. Idaho, for instance. The Blunt bill dies in the Senate, only to be revived in the House or in state legislatures.

Whether this blitzkrieg on the liberty of women is being directed by the Vatican, by the patriarchy in Salt Lake City, or by some Koch brothers' secret subsidiary such as ALEC makes little difference. (My sense is they are all part of it to one degree or another, not so much as an intricate conspiracy but with the mindless unity of a gang rape.) The important thing to remember is that, at heart, it doesn't have a damn thing to do with anyone's faith. And even if it did, how--in any sane democracy--can an individual woman's authentic rights and needs be tyrannized by somebody else's stupid superstitions? The answers to that are 1) the people proposing this tyranny hold no sane view of democracy, and 2) the stupid superstitions they hide behind are masking their real intent.

And their real intent? Just ask any woman from almost any Third World country, or from any millennium of pre-suffrage history. She can tell you what it's about.

In all the commentary I've heard on these issues, there is a subtext of disbelief. "This is the 21st century!" goes the thought. "Weren't these matters decided in my grandmother's day?"

More history: My grandmother not only had no control over her reproductive capacity, but she couldn't even vote for the first half of her life. Think about that, young ladies, when you assume someone will stop these right-wing womb invaders from having their way with your decisions. The advent of women's suffrage in America is less than 100 years past. The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. Automobiles had been around for 30 years, humans had been flying for 20, the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics were already old news, jazz was well on its way out of New Orleans, the little Oreo cookie was already 8 years old ... all this, Sister, before you would have been allowed to cast a ballot for a candidate of your choice.

Other nations beat America to the suffrage punch by a few years--like New Zealand in 1893--but before that, stretching back into the fog of prehistory, women had the same political clout as the family milk cow. My percentages may be a little off, but the way I figure it, that's .05 percent of history when women could influence their own destiny, and 99.05 percent when they couldn't.

Voting isn't enough anymore, ladies. Out of 105 members of the Idaho Legislature, only 29 are women. That must change. Arguing your case before these sanctimonious bullies will not work because they listen to nothing but their own primeval brain stems. Logic will not sway them, your passion will not sway them, any appeal to decency will not sway them. If you want to show the cave apes they will not be allowed to dictate your choices, you must start running for their offices and don't stop until you win. They must be replaced, pure and simple.

Contact the Idaho State Democrats and find out what you need to do. Do this for your daughters, for their daughters but as importantly, do it for your grandmothers, as well. Everything they worked damn hard to pass on to you is at risk. They would be so proud you took up the fight.