Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reflections from Kim

This post is from Kim.

I was six years old when Nixon ran against Kennedy. My grandmother , whom I adored, was living with us at the time, and she and my mother were for Nixon. My father was for Kennedy. LIFE Magazine did a spread on both men, with big pictures of their faces on the cover. I declared that I was for Kennedy as he was much better looking. My grandmother said, “He is that, and if that is a qualification, then you have made the right choice.” She said in such a way that I thought she was praising my insight and only later realized she was being a little sarcastic.

My grandmother was a lifelong Republican. She died the night McGovern was overwhelmingly defeated by Richard Nixon, Nov 7, 1972. I had almost flunked out of my first semester of college because I working day and night for McGovern. So that night I mourned two huge losses. I think my grandmother liked George McGovern—he was, after all, a Methodist minister, and she was also a lifelong Methodist. But Nixon was her man and I am grateful she did not live to see Watergate or the tapes that have come out revealing his profound anti-semitism and overall crudeness. On the other hand, she missed his signing of Title IX which she would have been proud of, and his unsuccessful attempts to pass universal health care and a guaranteed annual income.

My grandmother was solidly pro-choice and felt the government should have no role in the reproductive lives of women, except to protect our freedom. She believed that rich people should pay a higher proportion of their wealth in taxes, a view she shared (or perhaps got) from Eisenhower, a Republican president who presided over an America with a 90% top marginal tax rate. As a young woman, my grandmother was a suffragist and marched for women’s right to vote.

She would not recognize today’s Republicans. MoveOn.Com just put the following list of attacks on women by the GOP. My grandmother would have opposed every one of these, but then she belonged to the Grand Old Party, which really bears no relationship to today’s vitriolic, mean and illogical officeholders hiding behind the rubric Republican. From a commons point of view, the terms “republican’ and “democrat,” “liberal” and “conservative” have almost no meaning in any traditional sense. I am searching for a new word for myself and, retroactively, for my grandmother. A word that indicates that the person using it starts with questions about the common good and goes from there. I’ll let you know when I find one.

Meantime, here is some of what we are up against:

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women
*(Posted on February 21, 2011 by MoveOn.Com)
1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t yet.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care.
4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8 ) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).
1. “‘Forcible Rape’ Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding,” The Huffington Post, February 9, 2011

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the search for a new word. The act of defining a new term immediately corrupts it. Maybe we should adopt an anti-term, one that is not defined by words, but by actions.