No way

My anger with the Democratic Party began when I examined the 2004 Kerry-Edwards platform. It was clear then that the Democratic Party had shifted so far to the right as to be indistinguishable from the Republicans. As Gore Vidal and others put it, we have a one-party state. It was even more clear when Democrats repeatedly voted to enhance executive branch power and to fund the Iraq war, even after voters handed them control of Congress with a mandate to end the war. It was clearer still when Congressional Democrats agreed on a “compromise” that gave the Bush administration everything it wanted on domestic spying, including retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies.

Barack Obama has played an increasing role in all of these capitulations. Now, “Obama says that . . . women should not be able to obtain a late-term abortion, because just ‘feeling blue’ isn’t the same as suffering “serious clinical mental health diseases.” As Marie Cocco explains, this is a straw person argument.

No one (but me) argues that women should be able to get a late-term abortion just because they’re “feeling blue.” The claim supports a right-wing stereotype of women seeking abortions as irresponsible.

It happens I don’t care if they’re “responsible” or not. A woman’s body is her own and she has the right to do with it what she pleases. Any compromise on that principle supports another discourse, the discourse of a woman’s body as a place for others, a discourse that also rationalizes rape. After all, we could understand, a man just has to have sex and that need outweighs a woman’s right to choose even whether she will have it at all, let alone whom she will have it with. The logic is just as brutal on abortion as it would be on rape.

But we don’t question whether rapists are “responsible.” All too often we point a finger at victims for the clothes they wear, the friends they keep, and the times and places they go. A woman’s sexual history is fair game; if she has been “promiscuous,” she loses credibility in any accusation she might make of rape. Even her choices can be used against her in an involuntary act; she is held responsible, not the man.

And it isn’t the man who carries a fetus. Barack Obama will never do that. His claim isn’t merely about women “feeling blue,” but about who makes the choices for women about what they may do with their bodies. As Jack Holland points out in Misogyny, men don’t even accept responsibility for their own attractions to women. Yet we are to accept that men have something to say about a woman carrying a fetus.

It can be said that I was already leaning against voting for Obama in November. Now I will say that there is no way I can vote for him.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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