Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sometimes you just have to stand up

I was a rebel for almost any cause in my youth. From free speech to against illegal wars to save the mini skirt. I was working on a United Churches campaign to end the draft when a young draft dodger noticed my ERA pin - Equal Rights Amendment. He told me women were not equal and had no right to be. That God said we were the hand maidens of men.

I quietly got up from the desk and leaned over and told him in a whisper I hope he was drafted and walked out. From that day forward my goal was to make women equal in the eyes of the law. On March 22, 1972 the ERA was passed by the congress and began moving through the states for ratification. It ultimately failed. If it hadn't would we be having this current rash of vagina politics? Would presidential candidates be telling us we shouldn't be having sex except to procreate? Would states be passing laws that infringe on our rights to control our reproductive lives? Would companies have the right to refuse to cover birth control prescriptions even if they are used for other health reasons?

I think not.

And I feel a bit guilty that I stopped fighting. I believed that line in the 1964 equal rights amendment that stuck in sex as well as race would be enough. It obviously is not.

I live in a conservative community. And as an artist I depend upon my "friendly" presence on the web to further my reputation and my sales. So there were a lot of reasons to not get involved in fighting this current round of oppression of my sex. And I was trying to be quiet and lady like in my subtle support. Until Rush Limbaugh. And the most recent round of oppressive laws in Virginia (maybe they should change the name of the state to a man's name).

But I have a bumper sticker on the back of my car (which was there when I got the car) which says, "Your silence will not protect you," Audre Lorde. And it occurs to me that my silence might get me burned at the stake. We all need to speak up about this horrid trend of the religious right before we are all victims of the next inquisition. Four million women were put to death by the Catholic church during those times. Now they just want to deny us equal access to health care. It all begins with one small step.

But they are way past that small step. They have allied themselves with the Christian Right (which is wrong) and with one of the two major parties of our country. And it is not just the laws but the attitude. They have made it right for a major public figure to rant for three days against a coed witness before a congressional committee. To defame her sex and her character nationally over and over and over.

And this morning when I thanked Carbonite, Inc for withdrawing their sponsorship I became a victim of the same nasty, sexist abuse. I will not be silent on this issue if it kills me. It feels rather lonely out here but it feels right.