Instead of being able to turn to news, though, people were on Twitter and elsewhere across the Internet, researching parliamentary procedures of the Texas Legislature, sharing the most significant moments of the night, and holding the Texas Senate accountable when they tried to break their own rules even though they were in plain sight. Average people with Internet connections did the work we used to trust major journalism outlets to do.
It’s easy to give in to the stereotypes about Texas, but Wendy Davis is the world’s newest rock star. You go, girl.
I decided to break the law to provide a necessary medical service because women were dying at the hands of butchers and incompetent quacks, and there was no one there to help them. The law was barbarous, cruel and unjust. I had been in a concentration camp, and I knew what suffering was. If I can ease suffering, I feel perfectly justified in doing so.
Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian doctor who was arrested four times for performing abortions, but whose arrests eventually led to the 1988 Canadian Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country. He died this week at the age of 90. Good obit in the NY Times.
Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere: the rich feel “punished” by taxes; whites believe they are the real victims of racism; employers’ religious freedom is threatened when they can’t deny contraception to their employees; English-speakers resent bilingualism — it goes on and on.
And what is the Tea Party movement other than a counter-revolution? It comes cloaked in religion and fiscal responsibility, but scratch the surface and you’ll find privileged distress: Change has taken something from us and we want it back.
Confronting this distress is tricky, because neither acceptance nor rejection is quite right. The distress is usually very real, so rejecting it outright just marks you as closed-minded and unsympathetic. It never works to ask others for empathy without offering it back to them.
At the same time, my straight-white-male sunburn can’t be allowed to compete on equal terms with your heart attack. To me, it may seem fair to flip a coin for the first available ambulance, but it really isn’t. Don’t try to tell me my burn doesn’t hurt, but don’t consent to the coin-flip.
The Owldolatrous approach — acknowledging the distress while continuing to point out the difference in scale — is as good as I’ve seen. Ultimately, the privileged need to be won over. Their sense of justice needs to be engaged rather than beaten down. The ones who still want to be good people need to be offered hope that such an outcome is possible in this new world.
As the author points out, a tricky balance, but really, the only tenable response. The fact that we’ll all fall short from time to time just makes re-commitment that much more important.
Here we are, in 2012, the 21st century, and a man is running for president whose views on women, morality, sexuality, and reproductive rights are well over 100 years behind the times. In our mainstream discourse, this country can continue to re-fight all the lost battles and factual errors the modern right wing is obsessed with arguing about - the right to birth control, the fact of evolution, marriage equality, universal health care. If so, we will continue to ignore, to our peril, the very real problems our country faces in the early decades of the 3rd millennium. The alternative is to find ways to marginalize these loons, hunker down, and fashion some semblance of a rational discourse.
Dangerous Minds | Todd Akin thinks doctors are ‘giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant’
The pride of the American right, folks.
It may seem like a horrible waste of time to keep having to come out and fight to ensure, time after time after time, that this barn door remains closed, and that pregnant women have the same rights as everyone else.
Let your guard down, though — even once — and Woodworth and a bunch of other old men who don’t have to practise what they preach will ride boisterously right through, claiming that a vocal minority equals a huge majority for their cause.
You can be tired — even exhausted — with the debate. But when those horses are loose, it will be too late.
Why men can’t keep silent on this. (h/t Erika Shaker)