Super-link post about feminism and abortion rights
Through Ross we have a great link by Digby beating up on Kevin Drum for being overly optimistic about pulling "values" voters away. Digby's point, and it's a good one, is that "values" have nothing to do with the moralistic crap the Christian right pours out day after day while their followers cheat more, use more drugs, divorce more, and are hateful. It's just a tribal identity thing. I would like to agree whole-heartedly and also add my bit on why abortion is now a no-compromise issue. Here's the quote from Kevin about abortion and feminism.
There's a germ of an idea here, but it needs to be teased out. The abortion point is a good one, for example. Liberals are in favor of choice, not in favor of abortion per se, so why shouldn't we talk more often about policies that reduce the need for abortions while continuing to defend the right of choice itself? This won't impress the hardcore evangelicals, of course, but it might appeal to some of their more moderate neighbors. Ditto for porn.
Gay rights and feminisim are another thing entirely. Liberals are just fundamentally in favor of this stuff, and we shouldn't even think about trying to talk our way around it. If we lose votes for it, we lose votes for it.
We have to understand and understand now that the abortion debate (and probably the porn thing, too) is about feminism, or at least the right's perception of it. As I point out below, the fight to criminalize abortion is mostly a symbolic battle to assert male supremacy. If you understand that terminating a pregnancy is perceived as a a woman willfully stopping what a man alone has started, then the rhetoric they employ makes a lot more sense. I don't really see how that can be compromised. I mean, saying that you're against abortion but for it being legal is saying, in a sense, I'm against women bucking male authority but I don't want it to against the law. To authoritative types, all authority should work together. The government's duty is to help a man rule over his family, not to help his family defy his authority.
I've been pro-Lakoff for a long time, and I think everyone needs to read his books to understand what's going on. It's not going to ever be possible to make space for women's rights in a worldview that understands women as being unruly and subject to male authority. We simply have to assert an alternative worldview with the courage of our convictions and quit apologizing for it.
I would also like to point everyone in the direction of this article about the fight over the birth control pill. If there's any doubt that my theory that the abortion debates are more about returning us to a male-active/female-passive worldview, then this passage should quell them:
At the heart of the debate between anti-Pill forces and mainstream medicine lies a profound difference of opinion about when pregnancy and life begin. The long-standing medical definition of pregnancy, held by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is that it starts not when an egg is fertilized, but when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining.
This distinction is practical: A pregnancy test won't show a positive result before implantation. "It can't be an abortion before there is a pregnancy," points out David Grimes, MD, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and one of the leading contraception experts in the US.
But anti-Pill doctors and pharmacists say life begins sooner, at fertilization. Sloughing off a fertilized egg, in their view, is a "chemical abortion."
The pro-lifers want to change the only workable medical definition of what "pregnancy" is to reflect their male-centered viewpoint. As is typical with Christian right-wingers, science needs to give way to magical thinking. That pregnancy can only happen if the female body does the work of implantation is just beyond their way of thinking. Pregnancy has to be male-instigated--he's planting the seed, not her! It doesn't take two to tango in this worldview. Men lead women. Period. That's what this is about and that's why compromise isn't going to work.