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Target: Freedom

by Alan David Doane


Comic Book Galaxy

President-Select George Bush Junior has come out swinging at women's rights, and anyone who is interested in equality and freedom in this country should take this as a wake up call: Bush has targeted reproductive freedom for extinction.

On the first workday of his fraudulent Presidency, George Junior signed an executive order banning federal funds to international family planning groups offering abortion or abortion counseling. It was one of George W. Bush's first actions as President, ironically and insultingly falling on the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision that helped legalize abortion in America and gave women control over their own reproduction, and their own futures.

Conservatives speciously argue that women who want to control their own reproductive processes should use birth control (while feverishly working to limit access to contraceptives by banning them from high schools and blocking the entrance to women's health clinics), or even better, wink wink, don't have sex! Perhaps they missed the only true passage in the Bible, the idea that "Be fruitful and multiply," is hardwired into humanity. Into all living things.

Survival and reproduction are our only real priorities, and everything we do can be boiled down to one or the other. To deny these basic drives is supremely ignorant. Conservatives and ignorance go together like guns and the NRA.

The United States, of course, was founded by white men who poured the very foundation of "freedom" on the principles that blacks and women were not quite human, and certainly didn't deserve the right to vote. "All men are created equal," they said, while making sure that blacks were legally considered less than human. They back this all up, of course, by citing these principles as being "self-evident" and sent down by a "creator." It's pretty difficult to argue with a deity, especially one thoughtful enough to create us in His image. You know, white. Male. Probably really wealthy, too. Like George Bush. Either one.

It is only by a confluence of good fortune and fear of outright revolution by the diminishing white male power base that women and minorities have been granted the rights they have; the fact of the matter is that, in large part, they have been granted equality more in name than in actual fact. Women continue to be victimized through lower pay and the threat and reality of domestic violence, as well as extremist activists working to make sure that "every sperm is sacred," by harassing women seeking legal health care and through the terrorist bombing of women's health clinics. The rule of law, it seems, is only respected when it has to do with a sex addict lying about his private stupidity. The only women and minorities appointed to positions of power by these rich, white men seem to be women and minorities willing to work for the further limiting of freedom for other women and minorities. Hello, Justice Thomas.

Pro-choice activists are calling Bush's actions in his first few days in office a major setback for women's reproductive rights, but that's a lot like calling having your arm amputated a major setback for your ability to juggle. Bush claims his priorities are tax cuts and education, but the symbolism of his assault on abortion rights cannot be overstated. He wants to send a signal to the extremist Christian zealots that got him into office (despite, you know, losing the election by hundreds of thousands of votes) that he is their bitch, and will do whatever kinky shit they want

him to. And there's nothing, nothing, that extremist conservatives want to do more than erase Roe vs. Wade from the books.

History teaches us abortions will happen whether they are legal or not. Bush's "compassionate conservatism," we now know, includes women being forced to seek out back-alley abortions that will lead to botched procedures, permanent maiming, and death. That this former Texas governor would embrace such horror should come as no surprise; he is on record as mocking at least one person he had executed during his administration. I'm in favor of the death penalty for violent criminals, but I don't believe in taking joy in it. Bush clearly thinks it's funny to send people to their deaths, and wants to find new and innovative ways to spread his joy.

The mind-boggling contradiction in all this, of course, is that the end result of limiting or eliminating reproductive freedom will result in that which these zealots fear most: more of The Other. The philosophies of extremist conservatives are based almost solely in hate and fear of The Other. This hatred and fear is a genetic trait that worked to insure survival in the early days of humanity ("That thing with fangs and claws doesn't look like me, I better run...or better yet, kill it!"), but is now nothing but a persistent leftover that people who actually take the time to think for themselves work to overcome. It's impossible not to notice our differences, but that doesn't mean we have to, say, beat someone unlike us and leave him hanging on a fence to die, or tie him to the back of our pickup truck and drag him to his death. Think those are extreme examples? They are the real world end result of preaching fear and hate to the ignorant. I got your Moral Majority right here, buddy.

Conservative extremists find this fear of The Other extremely handy, though, when they need to go to war to ensure their own power and reproductive access. "Look at that guy with the towel on his head, praying to a False God! Go kill him, while I stay here and, heh heh, 'guard the women.'" This is the very reason why there will always be war. The rich power elite will always send the healthy young men to die because as old men, they can't equally compete for sex and resources otherwise.

But they're as much the victims of fear of The Other as they are users of it. Extremist Christians like Pat Buchanan and Ralph Reed are great examples of white men who have made entire careers of whipping up support by whipping up fear. And at least in the case of Buchanan, it's clear he is terrified of The Other. You can see it in his eyes when he talks about building fences around this country to keep out The Other. I'm all for controlling immigration, but Buchanan is clearly haunted by images of The Other coming over the wall and fucking his women. Then they fuck him, then they kill him. His paranoia is palpable.

So, once we take away women's right to control their reproduction, much like Doritos, they'll go out and make more. More babies. More Other. And as I've pointed out above, speciously saying "use birth control" (there is no perfect method of birth control, so abortion must remain a viable, legal option for even women who are, pardon the phrase, religious about it), or "don't have sex," (just slightly less ludicrous than saying "don't breathe"), does nothing to address the real issue.

Those who want to limit abortion want to limit freedom. Those who want to eliminate abortion want to eliminate freedom.

President-Select George Bush Junior, the guy who lost the election by hundreds of thousands of votes and then was handed the Presidency by his dad's cronies, has fired the first shot. Education and tax cuts are not his top priorities. On Day One, he took solid, undeniable action to interfere with the rights of women to control their freedom, their reproduction, and their lives. Bush may not be an extremist zealot himself (although we'll soon find out for sure), but he is in their debt, and in their control. They mean to ass-rape our freedom for the next four years, and

they got started before spit had even dried up on the microphone Bush used in his "Inauguration" speech. 

-- Alan David Doane

Copyrightę2000 Alan David Doane