Change, change, changes!

So much is going on around us that I can barely keep up with it, much less find time to condense my thoughts into a conversation with you, dear readers. Last week I found myself simply too overwhelmed to write. But that time is over! Ruling absorbed, Covid beaten back, J6 up to date. Now, what shall we do? I have a few suggestions:

1. Some writers are complaining too much there’s too much politics on Twitter and other social media. Good gosh, folks, we are in a Constitutional crisis only politics will resolve. Can’t write very well if you’re dead from an ectopic pregnancy that can’t be treated due to SC decision. Or feel self-actualized enough to set down your thoughts if you can’t vote, marry whom you want, or control your own body. Sit down, write quietly if you must. I plan on writing LOUDLY! Any way you can do it is fine. Just don’t jump on those of us who want to engage on the issues of our time. I mean, LOUDLY!!

2. Call your legislators! Go to scstatehouse.org and click on “Find your legislators” if in South Carolina or Google “who represents me” to find your reps and their contact info. Don’t wait until they start arresting women or women begin to die from ectopics pregnancies, delayed cancer treatments, etc. The time to save women’s lives is NOW. And, no, that is not hyperbole. As of my last count, thirteen states have enacted absolute bans on abortions—no exceptions!

3. The Dems need two more senators in order to end the filibuster (See more on that below) and enact legislation not just for women’s lives, bu5 also for voting rights, trans rights, marriage equality, and so on. Yes, I know we’re tired of giving money, but don’t tell me you’re tired of voting. Voting is our duty as citizens, part of our covenant with each other. I need to count on the fact that you will vote EVERY ELECTION. But don’t just vote for any old DEM. We need two Dem senators who will vote to void the filibuster. These Senate candidates have promised to vote to end the filibuster (so we can pass rights leg): Cherri Beasley (NC); John Fetterman (PA; Charles Booker (KY); Val Demings (FL); Tim Ryan (OH); and ALL the Dem candidates for Senate in the August 9 WI primary. Find one, donate, make calls, do what you can for them, even if you don’t live in their states. We all need them!

4. PlanB can be bought on Amazon and

delivered anywhere.

5. Want to help? Call your local Planned Parenthood office. Or visit wholewomanshealth.com.

Where’s YOUR Sass?

When I was small, the worst thing I could do, I was convinced, was to “sass” my mom. At least, that’s what she led me to believe when she got that crazed look in her eye, usually right after she’d taken off her weaver’s apron and started to serve dinner. If I even looked like I disagreed about something, she’d zing, “Don’t you dare sass me!”

Now, of course, I know she was extremely tired after a long day running back and forth in front of six big looms, trying to keep them going so there were no “slubs” in the cloth they were making. (These days, I read that a blouse, say, is made from “slubbed” cotton and I can’t even imagine wearing it. My mother would never!) And then she had to come home and get dinner on the table.

Usually, my older sister and I would have started dinner, baking or frying chicken, cutting up potatoes, pulling a vegetable or two from the bin. But my mother liked to add her own touch, and, I must say, no food I’ve ever had was better than hers. (Different, but not better!) I don’t know what magic she used, but everything tasted better when she was done. And we were never entrusted with the making of biscuits. We had biscuits at every meal, unless she served beans, in which case there was cornbread, which I could make before I was 10.

Looking back now, I wish I had been taught, made, induced to sass. I wish my mom had been Dorothy Parker in all her vicious eloquence. Knowing how to talk back to a grabby boss, how to curse rude strangers on the street, how to get that sprawling teenager out of the bus seat so I could sit down, would have been handier than knowing how to make guests comfortable in my home. (You can get your own linens, right? There’s nothing wrong with your feet.) As it was, I had to learn it on my own, or, rather, my NOW (National Organization for Women) sisters taught me. But that’s a story for another day.

This weekend, I went for the very first time to a pro-choice demonstration in my hometown, the Southern city I left when I was eighteen years old. Sass was there in abundance, loud and very defiant. That is how we have to be now, not just about abortion rights, but also about white nationalism and the insane number of weapons on our streets. I never wanted to tolerate any of that, and I have a feeling other people are reaching their boiling point, too. I hope you are one of this mighty, furious majority. Kindness will not cut it with people who think their right to own an assault weapon is more important than our right to buy groceries or attend church in peace. Or with the people who think their religious beliefs should dictate how you handle your body, or with the folks who fear being a minority so much because they know how minorities are treated in this country.

Be loud. Be incensed. Be effective.

Thank the Universe for Women Senators

Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter if we elect women. Yesterday, seven Democrats voted with the anti-choice Republicans to avoid tabling Ben Nelson’s amendment that would have restricted women’s ability to pay for abortion coverage with their own funds, if they received federal subsidies for health care. A no vote was a vote to keep the amendment alive.

Voting Yes to table the amendment, and thus, effectively, to kill it, were all the Senate’s women except two––Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is running for Governor of Texas at the end of her current term, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has been tap-dancing for the daddies for a very long time. All the other women, including Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, voted to table the amendment.

It was the outrage expressed by the women that brought this issue to a head. Barbara Boxer asked, pointedly, for what medical procedure men would be forbidden to use their private funds. Dianne Feinstein railed against the unfairness of using health care as a fulcrum to leverage more restrictions on abortion. Even Claire McCaskill–-she who repeated every shopworn “ambitious women are harpies” claim against Hillary Clinton––said bluntly that she could not support such restrictions under any circumstances. Read my lips, Harry––if we have to take health care reform down to keep our right to privacy, we will, and then we’ll point the finger at you.

There is still the reconciliation session when the House’s loathsome Stupak amendment will have to be meshed with whatever the Senate approves, and no doubt the ugly Dems–the ones Rahm Emanuel insisted we should elect in swing districts––will try to further legislate away our rights to fulfill their religious beliefs. But I believe that the resolve of the Senate’s women will strengthen the hands of women and men in the House to do what’s right.

Should it matter whether your Senator is male or female? No. Does it? Oh, yes. And it will, until powerful men stop trying to make women bear the burden of political horse-trading. Most likely, that won’t happen until women have more parity in both Houses of Congress and around the world. You don’t trade away the rights of the strong.

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Sexism and the Press

Quoting from Dana Milbanks' story, referenced above, concerning the announcement that Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant:

"Upward of 10,000 reporters in and around the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, idled by McCain's decision to truncate the Republican convention because of Gustav, suddenly discovered that their plans for the day had been knocked up."

This is offensive. And this: "the Juno of Juneau."

Locker room talk about the serious issue of teen pregnancy, and the deliberate fun being made of a teenager trying to deal with big problems, is uncalled for and should be off limits in the media, particularly in the Washington Post, which usually has some devotion to classic journalism.

But Milbanks and others have proven this year that they don't know how to cover female politicians without reverting to high school.

Talk about Palin's stands on birth control and sex education and abstinence all you want, but don't poke fun at the daughter by referring to a popular movie and don't use cute phrases like "knocked up," which imply that pregnancy is something done to a woman and not something she participates in.

I don't see this attitude as differing from the way Clinton was treated, with all the remarks about her thick ankles, "witch’s cackle" and "nutcracker" attitudes.

Stereotyping and denigration based on physical conditions or attributes may be part of political cartooning, but they should be off limits in news stories, and such tactics undermine any serious attempt to parse political events. Journalists–yes, even opinion writers–need to grow up and act like men and women, or your editors need to impose a time out.

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