President Obama Has Evolved

President Obama announced that he is in favor of equal marriage rights yesterday.

You know, I wish I could say that I’m happy, or excited, or even relieved. When I heard the news, my reaction was basically “Really? Finally. Now, where’s my kindle?”

I am glad he’s come out in support of equality. It does make me happy for my LGBT friends, loved ones, and allies.

It doesn’t ring hollow to me, as it has for some. I don’t believe this will negatively affect his reelection chances. Nor does it strike me as a political gambit, as it has for some.

I just feel as if he should have done this years ago. At the very least, he should have done this before North Carolina voted on Amendment One.

So, President Obama is in favor of marriage equality for LGBT Americans. Good. Now let’s get to work.

Shocker: Approval Rate for GOP Among Women Takes Nosedive

It really was inevitable. They keep pushing and pushing–it’s not just feminists that are pushing back. That is, men and women who have previously identified as feminists. Women–and men–across the country are getting sick of this crap.

More and more people are going to be pushing back now.

Indeed, since December, President Obama’s approval ratings among women have increased by ten percent, giving him a thirteen-point lead over Romney, and a sixteen-point lead over Santorum, among women.

It’s been common wisdom that if the GOP keeps up the War on Women, they will drive women away from the party. Here it is.

Though the Blunt amendment has been defeated, that it was by such a close vote is going to energize even more people.

I do think the blogger I linked to and the authors of the original article are underestimating just how much the GOP’s attacks on women’s rights are galvanizing us. There’s very much a “yes, birth control, but also jobs, jobs, jobs!” tone to both articles.

Birth control, abortion, bodily autonomy–these aren’t just “social issues.” We are fighting for our very bodies here. I can’t emphasize enough how very vital these are. For fuck’s sake, the GOP are trying to force, by law, probes into our vaginas. This is serious. This is attempted rape by the government.

No, this exodus of women from supporting the GOP is because of their war on women. I can easily see these numbers increasing as the days and weeks pass.

Split in GOP Over Birth Control Mandate?

Last week, the Obama administration announced that employers will be required to cover birth control in their insurance plans–including religious hospitals and schools.

The GOP promptly threw a shit fit. Along with, you know, fundamentalist Christians and conservative Catholics.

Boehner is threatening to introduce legislation overturning the rule.

But wait! The GOP isn’t united on this. While mainstream news sources cream their pants over a Democrat in Congress that is also throwing a shit fit over the rule, (I’ll give you one guess who it is.) they’re ignoring the pro-choice segment of the Republican Party.

Republican Majority For Choice is calling for the GOP to stop pandering to the extreme minority in the party and cease their war on contraception.

“I think this week’s outrage over the Komen decision should be a warning to the Republican party about how quickly there was a mass outrage over further and further attacks on general women’s health,” Kellie Ferguson, executive director of Republican Majority for choice, told me Wednesday. “You could see the same backlash on attacks on contraception.”

“For the last number of years, we in the pro-choice community in general — and we specifically as Republicans — have been saying as this pandering to a sort of social conservative faction of voters continues, you’re going to see the line pushed further and further and further,” she said. “And we’re now crossing the line from discussion of when we should regulate abortion to when we should now regulate legal doctor-prescribed medications like birth control, which is woven in the fabric of society as an acceptable medication.”

Of course, they’re not getting press because the GOP isn’t going to listen. Along with the religious right pushing more and more of their agenda, this is an election year–and the prolonged primary ensures that the rhetoric is going to be very partisan. Let’s not forget, either, the GOP’s number one goal: to make President Obama a one-term President, by undermining everything that he attempts to do. This would be a perfect storm, save for the fact that going after birth control is crossing a very distinct line in the sand.

Americans like their birth control–and the vast majority of the country that uses it? Isn’t going to give it up anytime soon. If the GOP continues on this course (and they will) they will lose more and more women, and more and more of the 18-24 demographic.

The GOP is heading for a brick wall at a very high speed.

But naturally, President Obama is looking to compromise.



Fueling Hate With Hate: a Feminist Perspective on the Celebration of Bin Laden’s Death

“As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.  I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.” –President Barack Obama, 1 May 2011

These are the two most important sentences in President Obama’s speech last night.

In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, we must remember—hate kills. Hatred of a group of people, any group of people, people at all, turns us down a path of violence and death. This is Holocaust Remembrance week, and the lessons of the Holocaust are more relevant than ever.

Who can say when the hatred began, or who hated whom first? It’s a cycle, we go around and around, and the hatred never abates, and the violence never ends. Does Bin Laden’s death mean the end of the war on terror? No. Does it stop the cycle of hatred or violence? No. There will be more violence in the days to come.

What we must do is weed the hatred out of our hearts. What we must NOT do is taunt, disrespect, attack, or discriminate against anyone of Muslim faith, or Middle Eastern descent, or those who may disagree with us politically.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance is poignant in the face of yesterday’s announcement: Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned?

In the immediate aftermath of the massive death and destruction of World War II, revenge might have satisfied the shock and anger of the moment. But many believed that justice under the rule of law rather than vengeance would better serve humanity. In support of this principle, the Museum is marking the 65th anniversary of the verdicts at the first Nuremberg trial, a watershed moment in international justice, and the 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the most high-profile postwar recountings of the Nazi genocide and a landmark in public awareness of the Holocaust.

The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945 held 22 top Nazi leaders accountable for atrocities they commanded and perpetrated. Subsequent proceedings between 1946 and 1949 prosecuted another 183 persons. This total represented only a tiny fraction of those responsible for the Holocaust, but established important precedents. Who was prosecuted was more telling than how many stood trial. No one, regardless of official position, was above the law. The argument that someone had just been following orders was no longer considered a valid defense. Not only were the shooters at mass executions and the guards at gas chambers tried, but physicians and business leaders, government officials and civil servants also were required to take responsibility for their actions—for as noted historian Raul Hilberg wrote, “The annihilation of Jewry required the implementation of systematic administrative measures in successive steps.”

After Nuremberg, a new understanding of international responsibility for human rights emerged, as the world began to fully understand the events we now call the Holocaust, spurring on a process to create a new legal vehicle that criminalized attempts to destroy any entire group of people—the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

…These anniversaries come at a time when some of the last living Nazis are on trial and perpetrators of recent genocides and crimes against humanity are being prosecuted. Precedents set in trials against Holocaust perpetrators have guided a new understanding of justice as a tool for seeking accountability, providing affirmation to victims, warning perpetrators, and reflecting society’s highest ideals about truth and justice. These trials are also a harsh reminder that while accountability is necessary in the aftermath of genocide, early intervention is vital to saving lives. Whether it is prevention, response, or accountability, the Holocaust teaches us that inaction can be deadly; actions, even small ones, can make all the difference for those whose lives are at risk, now and in the future.”

Osama bin Laden could have been captured and put on trial, but instead, he was killed. He was killed for a desire for vengeance, and for hate. This will only perpetuate the cycle of hatred, vengeance, violence, and murder.

We must intervene here. We must quell the desire for revenge. In the wake of this news, we must pause and breathe. We must not strike out against those of Muslim faith and/or Middle Eastern descent.

Remember the Holocaust. Remember the Nuremburg trials.

John McCain Losing Traction, Relevancy.

With John McCain’s temper tantrums on and off the Senate floor during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal debate, I wonder more and more at his irrelevancy. With both his wife and his daughter coming out for “the other side” you’d think he might listen to the counsel his family offered. Nope. McCain led the opposition…and lost.

As this editorial points out, when George W. Bush was still in office, McCain often joined the Democrats.

So what is John McCain’s deal?

He’s an oppositionist.

McCain, for whatever reason, has to be on the minority side. Not in a good way–he doesn’t champion the cause of the “little guy” or the “everyday American” or even the poor and downtrodden. He likes to be the one arguing against whomever has the majority in Congress and holds the Executive branch.

His lack of consistency in sticking to any one party could be admirable, if it were based on any ideals. But it doesn’t seem to be the case. Getting criticism for both parties could be seen as a good thing–but not in his case. John McCain won the nomination in 2008 because of a split in the party, not in any large showing of support for his candidacy. I believe the same for President Obama–progressives were split in their support between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. In my analysis during the 2008 race, Obama was an idealistic politician, without any real chance for gaining the nomination. The same for John McCain, sans the idealistic part.

Yet he holds on, and Arizona keeps reelecting him. I suspect at this point it may be simply the incumbent’s advantage that keeps him in office, however. We’ll see if that’ll be enough when this term is up–if he keeps this up, I suspect it won’t be.