We have a new Guest Hoyden today! Please join me in welcoming her.
In a blog post a few days ago, Terry Karney asked “When do I get to be one of ‘the American people’?”, and as I watch the news breathlessly report the rise of McCain/Palin in the polls, I’ve got to echo that sentiment.
I have never felt precisely mainstream, because being one of three bleeding heart liberals in the US military is a lonely place, but I feel increasingly unwelcome in my own land, these days, and I don’t just mean the conservative corner of rural northern Virginia where I’ve landed since leaving the Navy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt actively unwelcome here in the US before. Yet with the apparent defection of a sizeable chunk of the voting public to this year’s atrocity of a Republican ticket, I have a horrible feeling we’re in for at least four more years of the religious fucking right in charge, and I have to wonder, where does that leave me?
These people seem to honestly believe that women belong barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen, with just enough education to homeschool the kids based on Biblical precepts. I’m not married, and have no desire to be. I first declared I was never having children when I was eight years old, and haven’t changed my mind at 32. I want to live a quiet and retiring life, be a responsible citizen, pay off my mortgage, pay my taxes, vote when elections come ’round, and generally not bother anyone. I spend my time trying to propagate native species of trees on my back acre, teaching my dogs random tricks, knitting, and otherwise engaging in quiet pursuits that aren’t going to alter the shape of the world at large or infringe on anyone else’s civil or human rights. Yet evidently because I’m not married and don’t have 2.5 kids, I’m not one of ‘the American people’. I’m not one of the ‘working families’ touted as the lifeblood of America, who Republicans claim to protect while attempting to tax them out of existence. Instead, I am something the right wing seems to feel is incredibly dangerous: a single woman who never learned to sit down, shut up, and play stupid when the men start talking. I’m a single woman who dares to believe that she has a right to make decisions about her own body.
It’s not good enough for the right wing that I gave nine years, seven months, and one day of my life to the US Navy (not that I was counting). It’s not good enough that I spent that time going where I was needed, doing what needed doing, that I killed for them or that I couldn’t have given more without being killed or maimed myself. I’m not wanted here, I am disregarded and silenced and marginalized because I dare to have a life whose worth isn’t measured by my husband and children. All the polls tell me that the majority of the American electorate believes that my lifestyle is somehow aberrant in a socially damaging way, despite the fact that I’m not out there recruiting for a life of quiet solitude. They think I should live my life in Godly Submission to a husband while I pop out (white) babies and doubtless devote myself to Biblically homeschooling them; even more dangerously, they are willing to legislate me into this position. They are willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, they are willing to pass policy stating that taking the birth control pill is equivalent to abortion, and gallingly enough, John McCain refused to support the recently passed Webb GI Bill.
What it comes down to is that if someone is voting Republican, then that means they don’t believe I should be able to make choices about what happens to my own body, including the choice to take the birth control pill (unless I have a signed permission slip from my husband or something), and that my service to my country, which has left me in chronic pain both mental and physical, doesn’t mean I deserve to be taken care of now that I’ve come back to the civilian world. How long before my civil rights are even more eroded just for having tits and a uterus? How long before my human right to my own reproductive system is removed? How long before I have to have a male guardian’s signature to get a loan? We already know McCain opposes legislation that would make it easier for women to take legal action when an employer has discriminated againt them.
Increasingly, I just get the feeling I’m not wanted here. Alas, realistically emigration needs to wait until I get my degree (thanks for co-sponsoring the bill that will let me do it, Sen. Obama!) , so it’s more of a long-term goal than a short-term one. But the temptation to flee the country after November is going to be incredibly strong if things go the way the news is reporting they will. After all, it doesn’t do the frog any good to stay and get boiled to death.
I love you, America. I probably always will. I tried to do the right thing. Guess it wasn’t enough.
[ I should probably note at this point that STTT wrote this bio, not I. I think her LJ is full of awesome. ~Lauredhel]