Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Sky is Blue and Republicans Are Slut-Shaming

So here, apparently, is one of the new ads meant to encourage young people to get health insurance.  I just read this fun article about the right's insane reaction to the ad.

Let's go over a couple points.  Yes, this ad portrays a woman as being actively into having sex.

Okay, maybe that's just all the points.  Oh...well it promotes the idea of a woman taking responsible precautions prior to engaging in sexual activity.  Okay, two points.

(Warning, the following paragraph may include rape triggers, please read on with caution.)

On the Right, apparently a woman who actively seeks out sexual activity is a "whore" or a "slut".  I'd like to say that the right is just using slut-shaming as a tool to fight Obamacare, but it's really not.  Slut-shaming is de rigeur for the right, and not just from Rush Limbaugh.  Every Republican (or Democratic, for that matter) legislator who pushes legislation to make it harder to get birth control or wants to put in place hurdles to discourage abortion use language that is shaming to women.  Transvaginal ultrasounds?  They don't even care if you look (Tom Corbett certainly doesn't), they just want you to feel the discomfort of someone shoving a piece of plastic inside you because you've already had "the sex" so does that even bother you?  What they're concerned about is punishing us for our immoral behavior.  It's all slut-shaming.

Entirely too many Republicans seem to not understand that taking birth control doesn't mean you have too much sex.  In fact, you could have between zero sex and all the sex and you'd still take the exact same amount of birth control.  Learn a fact, Conservatives.  There are actually women who enjoy sex and that's okay.  Liking sex doesn't make you a slut and seeing an ad where a woman is depicted as thinking positively about sex does not encourage sluttiness.  What it does encourage is for women to get some health insurance so they don't have to pay through the nose for birth control, something that we had to fight to have included.  Actually women have to fight to get any of our shit included.  Women had to fight for mandatory maternity coverage.  We didn't get mandatory maternity coverage until the Affordable Care Act so if you are at any point about to say to me that feminism is unnecessary you can turn around and walk away because I'm not interested in talking to you.  (Here's a big double middle finger shout-out to Greg Mankiw)

Look, I could go on, but I have one final question for Republicans who are angry at the idea of women enjoying sex.  If you don't think women should enjoy/want sex...what are the circumstances of your personal sexual encounters?  Follow up question: are they really sad?  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Blair Democrats Fall Banquet

I'm just going to start with one of the highlights of my evening...

My husband and I with fmr. Congressman and ret. Admiral Joe Sestak

I would have thought that on an off-year things wouldn't be terribly exciting, but our speaker line-up this year was excellent.  Our keynote speaker was Admiral Sestak, but we'll get to him in a minute.  Our first guest was State Representative, and former Centre County Commissioner, Scott Conklin.

Have you ever heard Scott Conklin speak?  I hadn't either before Sunday evening and I don't want to play favorites and truly all of our speakers were great, but I think Scott Conklin's five minutes may have been my favorite five minutes of the evening.  Conklin is a vocal supporter of LGBT equality, and Planned Parenthood reports that he supports family planning services and birth control.  However, he was one of the Democrats who voted in favor of HB818.  You may recall I wrote about HB818 in a piece called "Vagina Control".  I have to admit, that my fervor is somewhat quelled by that particular vote.  Planned Parenthood gives him a 100% in family planning and prevention but I don't feel particularly inclined toward anyone that's in favor of curtailing my ability to control my own body.  Let's say Conklin were to run for a statewide office though, would I support him?  I might.  I would push to be sure that he fully supports a woman's right to choose her own way, but I would probably support him.  

Speaking of people running for statewide office, someone who is definitely running for statewide office is fmr. Congressman Mark Critz, who was also at our event.  Critz was a great guy, good speaker, and he's the successor of the legendary Jack Murtha.  Mark Critz is definitely pro-life  on a federal level and that is not cool.  Can you be pro-life for yourself?  Yes.  When you start legislating your beliefs onto other people especially as a man who can never ever really understand the position who has to consider abortion, then I have a problem with you.  Mark Critz also doesn't have a great record on LGBT equality.  Am I going to have other options when it comes to Lieutenant Governors, though?  Mark Smith from Bradford County is apparently running, but I know basically nothing about him.  I know...I'm starting to get a little depressed too.
Our next speaker is almost incapable of disappointing if only because he hasn't run for any office (yet) and his father was a Republican, so as a Democrat he's already looking better to me.  This would be Jay Paterno.  As a Pennsylvanian, as someone who grew up in a Penn State household, I was thrilled to hear Jay Paterno speak last year and absolutely didn't disappoint.  This year was the same as he was the official warm-up act for our keynote speaker.

From left to right: Frank Rosenhoover,
Jay Paterno, Joe Sestak
Our keynote speaker is one Democrat that I can endorse wholeheartedly and without reserve.  Fmr. Congressman and ret. Admiral Sestak has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice and has been quoted as saying "Regardless of my religious beliefs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that - as a nation - the United States should offer every woman the right to have a legal and safe abortion, if that is her choice. I support that decision."  I support that statement.  Finally, someone who understands that his beliefs don't need to be legally mandated.  I love it.

Admiral Sestak talked about the dichotomy of America, about our rugged individualism and our simultaneous sense of community.  He said that we all work together to build ladders so that individuals can have the courage to climb them alone.  That's his definition of American Exceptionalism, and I think it may be my favorite definition.

He told several stories from his military career, one which featured prominently a female service member who performed an extreme act of heroism, a story which certainly underlined Admiral Sestak's commitment to true equality for the women of America.  I don't think we could do better for the next Senator from Pennsylvania than Admiral Joe Sestak.

I know it's pretty early to start talking about 2016...pause for laughter...but I honestly can't wait to replace Pat Toomey.  He's awful.  He's spiteful.  He's got his head so far up the Tea Party's collective behind that I bet he doesn't even remember what the sun looks like.

So after a magical evening, the shine may have worn off a couple of the speakers, but I'm still all in for Sestak and like so many people am hoping that Jay Paterno decides to run for something...anything.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Go Vote!

Have you voted yet today?  I did.

 I always take my son with me to vote because voting is important.  When I first started voting I was so insanely excited to get to do my civic duty.  I was thrilled.  It's my hope that when my little munchkin gets old enough to cast his own vote that he'll remember all the times that we went to vote and how important it is to make your voice heard and that he will never ever take it for granted.

I know that, especially in a place where you're a political minority, voting can seem pointless and like a total waste of time.  It's not.  Go vote.  Every voice is important.  You may only be a drop in a bucket, but you can't fill a bucket without a million drops of water.

Go Vote.