Tag Archives: reproductive rights

It’s about damn time

Many, many years ago, when I was just becoming aware of the notion of feminism and the power of women in the political arena, I joined EMILY’s List, an organization “dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.”  Being firmly pro-choice myself, I could see no better fit for my support, both financially and morally.  That was until the 2008 Democratic primary.  When Ellen Malcom, the President of EMILY’s List, endorsed Hillary Clinton and threw the support and network of her organization behind the Clinton campaign, I understood.  The stated purpose of EMILY’s List is to support female candidates.  But when EMILY’s List help distort Senator Obama’s record on choice, sending out mailers containing outright lies, I resigned my membership and turned my back on that organization.  And after Malcolm issued some really harsh criticism of NARAL Pro-Choice America for their endorsement of Senator Obama in May, saying that it was “tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton ,” I was even happier that I had distanced myself from her organization. 

On June 6, however, Ellen Malcolm sent out a letter to her members, in which she said several things that please me, including:

…. And now that (the primary) is over, I wholeheartedly congratulate Barack Obama. What a triumph for our new leader! He has inspired millions of Americans and shown that he is more than ready to take on John McCain.

…. EMILY’s List members, like all Democrats, are experiencing varying emotions — but we are unified in our determination to undo the damage created by George W. Bush and the Republicans. I am confident that our party will unify as well, and come together to take the White House in November. And, once again, EMILY’s List will unleash the political power of women to help Democrats win at every level in 2008 so we can begin to rebuild a progressive America.

The differences between Sens. Obama and McCain dwarf the nuanced policy differences between Obama and Clinton. We can never forget what John McCain stands for: continuation of the war in Iraq, minimal changes on health care, economic policy that rests on tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, and a steadfast determination to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Electing John McCain is simply perpetuating the policies of George W. Bush. For the country’s sake, we cannot let that happen.

I cannot, honestly, see myself supporting EMILY’s List again.  The tactics employed by Malcolm and her team were too dishonest.  But I am happy that she has come on board in the spirit of a unified Democratic party.  It’s about damn time. 

I will be blogging from the Democratic National Convention on behalf of Zennie’s Zeitgeist.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to ask someone from EMILY’s List a few questions about their behavior during the primary and their plans going forward.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll change my mind. 



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Mike Huckabee: One Scary Dude

My Dad and I are engaged in a friendly argument.  Let me make it clear that there’s not a conservative bone in his body.  No matter how liberal I may ever be, I don’t think I could ever lean far enough left to match him.  But he likes Huckabee.  He hasn’t studied his policies and would never vote for him, but he like the guy.

I can see his point and have to admit, though it kills me, that my husband agrees with him.  My husband, who is also left leaning, likes Mike.  Sure, Mike’s likeable.  He’s friendly and engaging.  He plays guitar.  He has that pastor demeanor that works in Sunday fellowship halls.

Let me assure you, though, that he’s one scary dude.  The most alarming to me is that he wants to mess with my (and your) constitution.  That is the Constitution of the United States of America.  He wants to get in there and add stuff to it.  Specifically these things, from his website:

“I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life.”

“I support and have consistently supported passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”

No matter whether you agree with his positions on these issues or not (I don’t happen to), I hope that you see the danger of anyone messing about with the constitution.  Constitutional changes are for issues like making blacks and whites equal; women and men equal.  Constitutional changes are not for deciding who gets to sleep with who for the rest of their lives. 

There’s another blurb on Huckabee’s website that strikes cold in my heart:

  • As Governor of Arkansas, I led the successful effort to make our state only the third to adopt “covenant” marriage.
  • I’m going to take a deep breath here and give you the least scary, most objective, Wikipedia definition of “covenant” marriage:

    “In the United States, a covenant marriage is a modern concept of marriage considered to be a cultural and political response to no-fault divorce. Couples in a covenant marriage agree to obtain pre-marital counseling before marrying, and accept more limited grounds for divorce.”  It goes on to say,

    “Opponents of covenant marriages argue that they are too religious in nature, effectively legalizing a religious view of marriage. Some worry that women can become trapped in unhealthy marriages – even in cases of abuse, it can be difficult to prove allegations sufficiently for a judge to grant a divorce. However, it is currently still possible to file for divorce in a state that does not recognize covenant marriages.”

    I agree with folks who think the divorce rate in this country is too high (and in the interest of disclosure I will freely admit that I am on my second marriage … the first one ended with no children).  My fear with covenant marriage, however, is that women in abusive relationships will get “abused” into covenant marriages and then will literally be unable to get out if and when, at some point in the future, they develop the strength and the will to do so.  If Huckabee had his way in his ideal state, women would be forced to sneak across the border for abortions as their neighbors were sneaking across the border to get a no fault divorce. 

    It’s not only women who are under assault in Huckabee’s world.  Poor, urban kids are, too.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this statement from his education platform:

  • I have been a strong, consistent supporter of the rights of parents to home school their children, of creating more charter schools, and of public school choice.
  • The implications of this are, of course, that upper middle class and above income families will either move their children to charter schools or consolidate their children into public schools in rich, predominantly white suburbs.  That will leave economically deprived (read poor) kids of all races, but mainly of color, in poor urban public schools where their chances of having resources at either end of the spectrum, that is learning disabled or gifted, are extremely low.  Finding high quality teachers willing to teach in these urban areas will also be a challenge.  Charter schools, vouchers, and public school choice are not the answer.  Investing in our public school system and finding ways to get all children a quality education is. 

    These issues, as frightening as they are, are just the tip of the iceberg with Mike Huckabee.  For more on his platform, visit his website.  


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    AshPolitics, Barack Obama and the NH Primary

    I’ve decided to start a new blog today, AshPolitics.  I’ve been blogging at The Long Vortex for awhile, but that blog was getting personal and I want to spend some time focusing on the ’08 election.  So here we are at AshPolitics, “fired up, ready to go,” as the campaign slogan for Barack Obama goes.

    In the interest of disclosure, I will tell you straight away that I am in support of Barack Obama for President.  Certainly, I believe that of all the candidates using the “change” buzzword, he is the one who will actually make it happen in Washington.  But that’s not the only reason, by far, that I support him.  For those of you looking for the substance of his message, let me detail below why, in policy language, I support him.

    1.  Education.  As the parent of two young children, I’m concerned about the candidates positions on education.  With a young daughter, I’m interested in how our education system addresses math and science education for girls.  Here is Obama’s issue statement on that:

  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority:  Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
  • OK, so this is not earth shattering language.  The point is that he recognizes this is as an issue and addresses it in his platform.  That’s major to me.  He has great things to say about recruiting, educating, and retaining teachers.  Check out his Education Platform.

    2.  Service.  As a military wife, I understand the importance of serving one’s country.  My husband and I have this dream that, once he retires from his second career (the one he will have after we retire from 23 years of military service this year), and the kids are safely off on their own independent lives, we will put everything we own in storage and join the Peace Corps.  We want to teach our children that service to others is not optional, but mandatory in this world.  Barack Obama has a plan to help us do this:

    Integrate Service into Learning

    • Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation’s Schools: Obama will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. He will develop national guidelines for service- learning and will give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience. Green Job Corps: Obama will create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields.

    He has more great ideas on how to help people serve others and America, both domestically and world-wide.  Check them out here.

    3.  Foreign Policy.  Let’s face it, our reputation in the world is shot.  Our family knows first hand:  we lived in South Korea from 2003 – 2005.  As a nation, we must repair our relationships with our allies and work very hard on rebuilding the avenues of diplomacy with our current adversaries.  Part of our recent problems have been created by the manipulation of intelligence information for political gain.  Barack Obama has a solution for that problem:

  • Getting Politics out of Intelligence:  Obama would insulate the Director of National Intelligence from political pressure by giving the DNI a fixed term, like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our intelligence community – not just a political ally.
  • Currently, the Director of National Intelligence is a political appointee who reports to the President and serves at his will.  Obama recognizes the danger of such an arrangement and would solve the issue by modelling that position after the position of Fed Chair (remember Alan Greenspan?).  I think this is a fabulous idea.  For more information on Obama’s foreign policy initiatives, read his issue statement

    4.  Reproductive RightsRH Reality Check, Information and Analysis for Reproductive Health  issued a questionnaire to all ’08 Republican and Democratic candidates on sexual and reproductive health rights.  Barack Obama’s campaign staff responded and below are excerpts from their responses, all of which cement my support for him.  Read the entire response here.

    Throughout his career, Senator Obama has consistently championed a woman’s right to choose, earning him 100% ratings from pro-choice groups during his tenure in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. In 2005, he was the honorary chair of Planned Parenthood of Chicago Area’s Roe v. Wade celebration.

    And just last year, Obama was the only U.S. Senator who supported a fundraising initiative to defeat a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota. And Senator Obama was the only presidential candidate to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the opening of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora.

    Senator Obama believes that reproductive health care is basic health care. His health care plan will create a new public plan, which will provide coverage of all essential medical services. Reproductive health care is an essential service – just like mental health care and disease management and other preventive services under his plan.

    Under Obama’s health care plan, women will be able to receive coverage of prenatal care under the new public health plan. And participating private insurers will be required to provide the same coverage.

    Obama has proposed a $1.5 billion fund to encourage all fifty states to adopt paid leave programs. Under these programs, women would be entitled to take paid maternity leave.

    Barack Obama shared these issue views and others with the people in Iowa and turned in a staggering win.  He is now moving through New Hampshire with tremendous grass roots support.  If you are in New Hampshire, my first plea is that you vote on January 8.  For information on the primary, a daily calendar of candidates’ events in New Hampshire, etc., visit the official site of The New Hampshire Primary.  My second plea is that you carefully consider the candidates.  Try and go meet as many as you can.  Listen to what they have to say.  If you can’t go see them, go to their websites and read about them.  Be an informed voter.  My final wish is that you strongly consider voting for Barack Obama.  But above all, vote.

    Here’s to an exciting ’08 political season!  Thanks for reading,



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