As I write this, Hurricane Matthew, a crystal clear sign of climate change, is off the coast of Florida after ravaging Haiti and damaging parts of Cuba. Again and again, climate scientists declare that this type of hurricane is the “new normal.” It’s literally another bellwether sending out a clarion call to pay attention!
On Monday, Polish women turned out nationwide to protest a pending “total abortion ban.” Today, the womens’ outrage and political action made the Polish government veer into a hasty “U-turn” on the ban. Jarosław Gowin, the Polish minister of science and higher education, said the womens’ protest “caused us to think and taught us humility.” Another striking bellwether.
The political climate here
The vice-presidential candidates—Senator Tim Kaine & Governor Mike Pence— didn’t talk about climate change
and barely spoke about women during their national debate held last night.
Does it strike anyone else as absolutely crazy to ignore climate change during the only vice-presidential debate while, simultaneously, Hurricane Matthew begins to whip into Florida? Watching the debate, I was having another serious “WTF” moment (adding yet another to the election pile-on). Ignoring this enormous gale-force sign that we humans have altered our climate—by damaging it!—should be viewed as shocking and immoral, if not merely irresponsible, weak, and deliberately misleading.
Near the end of the debate, as perhaps a curt nod to women, Pence brought up abortion through the context of religion. Pence is a hard line pro-life politician who works diligently to make abortion criminal. Couching this in “soft” tones, yet bound in leathery religious self-righteousness, Pence tried to ameliorate the fact that both he and Trump are firmly against womens’ right to choose and the national law of the land, Roe v. Wade.
Kaine countered this patriarchal stance with a thoughtful and welcome response. He declared that he and Hilary Clinton
“support the continual right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but make their own decision about pregnancy. We trust American women to do that. And we don’t think women should be punished as Donald Trump said they should to have an abortion.”
“Why don’t you trust women, why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make that choice by themselves?”
Indeed. Why don’t they trust women?
Trusting women. Trusting women with our own bodies, our own reproductive health, our own decisions—means that women have sovereignty over ourselves. As the Polish women realized, we all need to actively exercise that sovereignty. Patriarchal politicians, patriarchal diatribes about “morality,” and all forms of patriarchal hatred for women will always be pushing hard to divest women of our natural inherent sovereignty.
Attacking Hilary Clinton as someone “people distrust” is patriarchal code for “Alert! A woman comfortable in her own sovereignty is trying to be the elected leader of the United States! Only men are supposed to be sovereign over themselves and thus, be able to be leaders!! Alert! Alert!” This is the alarm bell ringing in the Republican party, and in the ears of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and this is their steadfast response:
Squelch and oppress the women again! All hands on deck! And, for God’s sake, don’t look outside at the rising tides of feminism and storms!