The Exalted and the Excluded

    When did women’s health become a men’s moral issue?

    These last several weeks of governing and campaigning in America have been more absurd than illuminating, but most of all revealing. Sadly much to the detriment of right-wing men.

    The paternalism exposed across these past weeks is a throwback. It harkens to an era when women were belittled as the fairer sex, were denied property rights, the vote, even personhood. No. Real live personhood, not any angels on a pin pointlessness about whether sperm entering ovum confers sentience. Why not ask if zygotes should be counted during census years?

    Naturally men’s misplaced consternation focuses on women’s reproductive systems. Particularly contraception. Even the most ardent abstainers finally agreed stopping results better than fixing them. Don’t believe it? Not long ago retailers stored condoms out of sight behind counters. Buying them required something between bravado and a speakeasy password. Today they’re sold as openly as sweet-laden snacks.

    That’s progress. Especially for horny youths with sugar rushes hindered by shyness.

    The lemmings leading this charge off a societal cliff consist of the usual suspects. Catholic clergy, pandering GOP presidential candidates, Fox News ignorance promoters, and a man Joseph Goebbels could’ve idolized, radio barking head Rush Limbaugh. While Goebbels would’ve admired the Propaganda and Enlightenment bureau News Corp has established through its cable entity, Rush’s insistent harangue should’ve had the Reichsfuhrer swooning and dictating mash notes. In Fraktur.

    The basic premise is so simple and widely beneficial nobody in his or her right mind ought have opposed it. Oh. There I go casting a net whose mesh the smallest minds can slip through.

    For the same reason women’s dry cleaning is pricier than men’s, female contraception entails greater cost and degrees of difficulty to attain. Guy that I am, let me just assume the discrepancies owe to complicated wiring and plumbing on the distaff side.

    Unlike male sheathing designed for only three purposes — to frustrate vain men through either fumbling application, loose girth, or feigned loss of sensitivity — and pills that drive lead into the pencil, there are women’s methods whose secondary effects bolster their well-being. Like hormone replacement treatment.

    Until our current superfluous debate, the percentage of men who knew some contraceptives also treated female specific maladies probably sat at the same percentage of nitwit Birthers ready to acknowledge Hawaii a state. That said, these prescriptions infuriating men are also prescribed to some nuns. A group whose Happy Hours rarely end in random hookups.

    Before the furor I already stood beside women who wanted prescriptive parity in their health plans. While employed, I knew our staff health coverage included co-pays for erectile dysfunction remedies. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a peep in protest. It was accepted as a male prerogative.

    That stated, fairness demanded my female colleagues had equal access to methods which blunted what those E-D’s achieved. Again, while there may’ve been some caveman thinking among my male former co-workers, even the lowest brows realized when problems are blocked there’re none needing solving.

    Or to put the matter in wallet terms, premium pennies paid mean insurance dollars saved.

    Basic math and simplified living have utterly escaped ecclesiasts, piety proclaiming Republicans and those misinforming mouthpieces polluting our nation’s airwaves. Listening, one might’ve believed the contention reproductive freedom and universal health care.

    In a less intrusive, more comprehensive United States the above would be among standard health provisions. But misguided, misapplied morality worsens our national health rather than heals.

    Who among the male cohort has proven most outraged upon this matter?

    Clergy has maintained its usual intransigence and implacability in a matter not involving it. Since the topic gender discourse, Jesuitical thinking diverges proper care from stringent doctrine. Or “conscience” lends itself easily when a moment demands being stiff-necked and obstinate. Plainly what clerics seek are waivers letting above and beyond devout employers let certain employees suffer because the boss finds the remedies offensive.

    Therefore, if the affected gonad is a testicle, a diocesan organization or harsh faith-following business will move heaven and earth in order to do their utmost to save the nut; whereas should the problem involve a distressed ovary, they’ll grow alligator arms. At least with such short arms they may still pray for the afflicted.

    How come the same hierarchal energy and urgency were absent when abusive priests preyed on altar boys at will?

    I understand the clergy’s reluctance to see beyond its own male flesh. While among the world, their voluntary divorce from its earthly desires allows these men to provide pure guidance to parishioners. Therefore, unlike politicians, they don’t have children. Daughters especially. Wink!

    However, numerous men hoisting the Republican standard do. Isn’t denial of their daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, mistresses health concerns worse than self-abnegation? But betrayal?

    Maintaining political principles is often admirable. Yet to the extent it jeopardizes well-being and threatens death, isn’t that fanatical? The sort of posture fascists might demand as a loyalty test. Now I’m not comparing these men to fascia welding thugs. Just comparing their stances to black shirt obedience.

    Of course it’s easy to take such an adversarial position when one’s own health provisions are all-encompassing. Complain as elected Republicans will about civil servant or hard-earned union benefits, nothing touches their own solid gold comprehensive plans. You know. The ones we taxpayers foot.

    Extol and game the system as Republicans do while railing against those rare instances of patient abuse (far more likely a health provider who contributes heavily to conservative causes will bilk insurers), the mandarins intend curtailing constituent services. Afterwards, they’ll pivot and claim those reductions beneficial to the very people just reamed.

    Perhaps P.T. Barnum should replace the elephant as GOP symbol. His silhouette would be truth in advertising.

    And woe to the Republican who fails hewing the heartless line. Demonstrating Christianity, real Christianity, not that insincere God-slobbering spew that always concludes by soliciting donations (generous donations!) to some odious political action committee looking to abridge rights or promote intolerance, brings howls of apostasy. These people don’t want good deeds. They demand hypocrisy. While the New Testament sounds swell on Sundays, actually practicing those examples hamstring real avaricious, voracious, licentious life.

    Piety? Sure. Pious behavior? You kidding me!? Not those people!

    For the third wobbly leg in this artificial controversy, the right-wing media, it’s just a way to goose ratings. First confuse the issue. Then fan the created fury.

    Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who ought have testified before Congress regarding excessive birth control prices and their limited availability under discriminatory health plans, would have complained that costs or lack of access to pills or IUDs or diaphragms bogged down her adventurous sex exploits.

    The last clause of the above paragraph was the party line pimped by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News morons, two paragons against American womanhood. Unless the woman wears pasties and has no aversion to jumping out of cakes.

    Rather, Ms. Fluke would’ve provided testimony about a classmate whose restrictive health coverage forced her to forego proper treatment for “female troubles.” Had the classmate’s coverage been as comprehensive as a man’s, her malady could’ve been avoided. Since hers were “female troubles,” water hazards and flaming hoops needed erecting then negotiating.

    Under perfectly legal inadequate coverage, Fluke’s classmate lost an ovary because she couldn’t afford the queen’s ransom for birth control containing hormones which would’ve kept the organ viable thereby preventing its removal.

    Instead, Rush and the Fox hyenas fabricated a whole different, untrue narrative. Somehow the witness engaged in so much sex, flat-backing was bankrupting her. I know the lie was effective because I overheard two old ladies in the supermarket furiously discussing the matter. Much to Fluke’s, and younger women in general, disadvantage. The two biddies had digested the fabrication so thoroughly both nearly defecated in that aisle.

    But that’s what Fox News does. Those watching and expecting “fair and balanced” reports are bigger saps than Goebbels or News Corp (Fox News corporate master) ever could’ve envisioned. But Rush, though, he doubled down on betting the ranch. In doing so he ignited a subject which will help engulf and devour the GOP this election cycle. Because more than their boy, their creation, Republicans jig to tunes Rush calls.

    For those doubting that, look at the GOP response after he slandered Fluke. Had she been a promiscuous celebrity, his blather, gleefully excessive and utterly erroneous as it was, would’ve been accepted. Celebrity, for good and bad, expands permissibility.

    Worst of all, or dumbest of all, Rush showed he had no idea of how women’s contraception works. As many a woman pointed out, he likened their usage to erectile dysfunction meds. Meaning every copulation required ingesting a pill beforehand. Which led him to his “a-ha!” moment. She was having so much sex she was gobbling those things like M&M’s!

    Contraception is elementary. But Rush Limbaugh is no Sherlock Holmes.

    Many a woman also pointed out that for a man who’s been married four times to four different women, it’s unusual that not one of those unions produced a child. It’s been suggested that perhaps Rush himself is contraception. Maybe he hates the competition.

    Unlike some well-known “feminazi” Rush inveighs against without fail (Is there any better indication of weakness than a man who denigrates strong women?), Fluke isn’t a bold-faced name. She is a daughter. Maybe a sister, too. And regardless of how one sees the profession Fluke pursues, she’s chasing it honestly.

    There was a problem. She sought to redress it in an approved manner. It’s Civics 101. It’s the bedrock of our nation. Belch about law & order, fulminate about American exceptionalism, Fox News and Rush ought have realized Fluke wasn’t a bomb-throwing hippie. (Yeah. They still speak “hippie” as if the 1969 Woodstock still continues. That, instead of brownies, might explain why their views remain so skewed.) She’s a citizen petitioning government.

    Can’t get more orderly and mannered than that.

    So radical. So revolutionary. Isn’t it in that Constitution thing? You know, the document the country’s right wing always refers to but hasn’t fully read yet. Man! Are they going to be surprised when they finally do. Probably turn around and mark the Founders as commie dupes.

    Rush’s slandering Fluke should’ve triggered paternal instincts in every Republican father on any level, much less of prominence. More so than decent people, the GOP harps on “family values.” At least the flunkies paid to maintain its party’s image should’ve earned their keep by pointing out the inequality between the assailant and the assailed, the overkill on a matter exclusive to over half our population, the vehemence Fluke absorbed.

    Among all, none of them understood Rush’s blunderbuss spackled every and any woman? Are today’s Republicans that dense? Or has Rush cowed the party of Eisenhower and Goldwater so completely?

    If Republican men can’t muster sufficient courage to get one fat, drug-abusing, loudmouth to shut up, what makes them believe they can manage these United States?


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