Monday, January 23, 2017

Call to Action: Day 4 of the Resistance

The Women's March, which had representation in all seven continents, took place on Saturday, January 21st, to the tune of 3.67 million marchers on the low end and 4.6 million on the high end of estimations. More than one out of every 100 Americans took to the streets to voice their outrage at this incoming administration and voice their determination to fight and resist at every turn. Many people, Drumpf included, voiced their confusion about the necessity of this march. They argued that women already have all the rights and privileges that they could possibly need. What was the point of this march, really?

A bill was recently introduced to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 17th. A full four days prior to the march, and yet nobody knew about its existence until yesterday and today. Even now, most people you inform of the existence of this bill are surprised to know that it's there. This bill, titled H.R.586, posits that "human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization." This is why women marched. This is EXACTLY why. Because from the moment Drumpf set foot into the Oval Office, we knew that he and his administration would start decimating reproductive rights as we know them. This bill sets a dangerous precedent for our country, on a number of levels, and needs to be voted down.

If this bill passes into law, it will make abortion access, and very likely contraception, a thing of the past. With life defined as beginning at fertilization, abortion will be criminalized and defined as murder (even though, interestingly enough, when you ask pro-lifers what the punishment should be for women who have abortions, they usually cannot, or will not, give an answer). The "pro-lifers" who believe that contraception terminates pregnancies, some of whom are our political representatives, will look to deny women access to birth control using the language of H.R. 586 as their justification--seeing as "alternative facts" are perfectly acceptable now, the legitimate fact that contraception does not actually terminate pregnancies will not matter. Women's bodily autonomy will be a distant memory, and all the bloodshed from pre-Roe v. Wade will return to our doorsteps, back alleys, and hospital ERs in very short order. This bill will also set a dangerous precedent for women who have wanted pregnancies and are facing a miscarriage, fetal anomaly, or other medical issue that requires an abortion (early or late term). What's to stop Congress from forcing women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term, even if it kills them? What's to stop Congress from criminalizing miscarriages and imprisoning women for something along the lines of "suspected abortion?" What's to stop Congress from ultimately using The Handmaid's Tale as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale? 

The reality is that bills like these, laws like these, do not "save babies." They kill women. Women like Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused a life-saving abortion during a miscarriage. Women like all those who died prior to the Roe v. Wade decision--approximately 5,000 women ANNUALLY in the United States--bleeding to death in back-alley abortion clinics and dying of sepsis in hospital emergency rooms from DIY abortions gone wrong. Women who poisoned themselves with whatever they had in their medicine and/or kitchen cabinets rather than go through with an unwanted pregnancy. As I wrote in a previous post, women will have abortions, bills and laws notwithstanding, whether they are safe or not. Whether they are done by a professional or a back-alley "doctor" or the woman herself. These politicians know this. They know. They know that women who do not want to be pregnant will do whatever they have to do in order to no longer be pregnant. They know that women who do not have access to safe, legal abortions generally end up injured or dead. 

But, as I also mentioned in that same previous post, it was never about protecting women's health. Our political representatives who claim to be "pro-life" are fully prepared to ignore (or even condone) the fully preventable deaths of actual living, breathing women, fully prepared to step over the corpses of women in the streets, in order to prove how "pro-life" they are. The fact of the matter is, we have laws in this country that state that we cannot be forced to donate organs, blood, or any other living tissue to another human being, EVEN AFTER WE ARE DEAD, unless our express consent has been given. And yet, somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to force women to give up their bodily autonomy for approximately 40 weeks--from the moment she becomes pregnant, her body is no longer hers. She becomes a mere vessel for the fetus. In many states where abortion access is practically nonexistent, pregnant women literally have fewer rights than corpses do. To say that this is unacceptable is the understatement of the century.

For those of you who have read up to this point, for those of you who are beyond angry, I'm issuing a call to action and I want you to do three things:

1. Contact your House representative and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
2. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
3. Read this short story titled "ILU-486". Bookmark it. Read it every day that you feel like you can't fight anymore, because this could very well be our reality if we don't fight back NOW.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women, and Witches, Get Shit Done

I participated in the Women's March on NYC today--sort of. I went with my best friend of 20 years, her parents, and their friends. The crowd was so huge that we never actually got to march in the actual march itself--the streets were so crowded that they were basically a parking lot, which makes me so. Fucking. Happy. As of this writing, the estimated total number of marchers in NYC is 400,000, much higher than they anticipated. Approximately 3 million people, obviously a majority women, marched across all seven continents, with our marchers outnumbering the Trump inauguration attendance by a staggering amount.

Mentally prepping to be part of what would turn out to be a 3 million person march across all seven continents

If you want to get an idea of the scope of the NYC march, take a peek at this video footage of the march from the Daily News. 

Shitty cell phone pictures, because I forgot to charge my camera
Since we couldn't get into the march itself, we walked around the perimeter instead and cheered from the sidelines. And the streets. Were. Packed. The sidewalks were packed. And not one fight broke out. Not one. Not one confrontation between fellow marchers or with the police (thank the gods). In a city whose inhabitants are known for flipping their shit on slow tourists, there was a surprising amount of patience for the molasses-pace of the march and an overwhelming amount of acceptance of each other as allies in this fight. I never thought I'd see something so beautiful come out of this nightmare.

One of my best friends, Althea, aptly compared it to the scene towards the end of "Practical Magic" when the women join hands and exorcise Jimmy from Gillian Owens. We identified a problem and gathered our sisters and allies around us to support us as we said "Enough is enough." We raised energy as a collective with the target of creating positive change in our country, preserving the rights we fought so hard to protect, empowering and emboldening each other in solidarity. If that's not a spell, I don't know what is. So many women woke up to their wild woman nature today because of these marches, and it's sending chills down my spine. The Divine Feminine woke up in us today, not with a stretch and a yawn, but with a heart-stopping roar.

Friday, January 20, 2017

To Trump, With (No) Love

Dear Trump,

President Obama talked recently about the tradition of the outgoing President leaving a handwritten note for his successor. I’m sure he wrote you some very diplomatic things, because he is a diplomatic person with class and distinction.

I, on the other hand, am not. So I’m writing you this letter instead.

On this day of your inauguration, I wish to let you know a few things. First of all, your tiny, tiny feet have some very big shoes to fill. You are walking into this office with a 40% approval rating, the lowest in American history. Unless you make drastic changes to the core of your being, it is almost inevitable that that number will drop with every passing day.

You have showed this country and its inhabitants nothing but absolute disdain from the very first day you started running. Your campaign and your soon-to-be-presidency are drowning in racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and all your other isms and phobias. Your cabinet choices are, for lack of a better word, deplorable. None of you know how to do your jobs—the only thing you know is money, power, bigotry, and climbing to the top on the backs of other people.

It is clear to us that you had no intentions of actually becoming President—you just wanted the attention. You just wanted to feed your already gigantic ego. But unfortunately, for you and for us, you tapped into a deep-seated hatred in this country, and it responded to you in kind. You have validated racists, sexists, homophobes, and rapists (much like yourself), condoning their beliefs and their behavior, refusing to denounce the violence and bigotry being enacted in your name. The rise in hate crimes in this country is in direct correlation to the garbage that continues to come out of your mouth. Ultimately, you allowed a neo-Nazi group to “Sieg Heil” you in the nation’s capital—I have yet to see you make a statement condemning that. This silence speaks volumes.

Mr. Trump, you are not my President. You will NEVER be my President. You will go down in history as a national mistake, as the worst error that we have ever made as a country. Just because I know this eats at you day in and day out, I will remind you that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote—65,844,954 (48.2%) to 62,979,879 (46.1%). You are not the President this country wants. You are a monster, a fascist, a totalitarian, a child. You are ill-prepared for the office of the Presidency, and while you may think us weak and easily destroyed, you are ill-prepared for the amount of resistance you are about to face. Millions of us are watching you, ready to fight—know that our numbers will swallow you whole.