Why do you have to make everything a political issue? some readers ask, and then they sign off with, “[Expletive] Biden!”
It’s too late for false indignation; everything is political, from the books in our schools to the vaccines we get, from abortion and contraception to who we marry, who we are, what we eat, where we live, whether we worship and how.
MAGA and the extreme right have hyper-politicized American life. Their movement is fueled by hypocrisy — most recently, when it comes to women’s rights, most particularly women’s reproductive rights.
The GOP led the charge to overturn Roe v. Wade, setting up the end play by recruiting several ultra-conservative justices, named to the Supreme Court by former President Donald Trump.
Most Republicans proudly take responsibility for this new restriction on women’s lives. The story takes a cynical twist, however. In the upcoming election, the GOP is backing former football player Herschel Walker for the Senate in Georgia. Walker was anointed by the former president, and touted a radical anti-abortion position. Then, in an inconvenient turn of events, a woman came forward, saying Walker had paid for her abortion and asked her to get a second one, which she refused to do, according to The New York Times. Walker disowns the proof, hospital receipts and a personal note allegedly written by him and made public by the former girlfriend.
I wouldn’t spend the ink on this except for the galling hypocrisy. How does Walker, a clearly unqualified candidate who is morally challenged and intellectually naïve, still enjoy the support of most Republicans? They say one thing and they do another. They pose as righteous, but they put forward candidates like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz, extremists who pander to racists and antisemites.
The GOP embraces life except when it comes to supporting the lives of single mothers or early-childhood programs or many of the other social welfare initiatives that give people a helping hand. That is the living, breathing definition of hypocrisy.
The worship of the former president is, we know, a kind of psychological contagion. The self-appointed morality police in the mostly far-right GOP are actively supporting a corrupt, misogynistic man who should have been barred from public office years ago. Like you, I heard him on tape in 2016 saying he could grab a woman’s private parts because he was a celebrity. That was enough for me; the mystery is why the hypocrites are sticking around for a second act.
We are in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That is a women’s issue, too. Every year, some 264,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the United States. The political piece is the laws deciding who gets access to screening and the best therapies.
In 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 625,346 abortions were performed in U.S., meaning that more than twice as many women who get breast cancer will seek an abortion. Both breast cancer and abortions are significant health issues in women’s lives, and are best viewed through the lens of what is healthiest for the women. The deciders should be the women and their doctors, not politicians.
As president, Trump turned out to be worse than we feared, an unprepared and erratic man who undermined our peace of mind and peace in the world. He triggered a political lurch to the extreme right. At one point he threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, which, among its services, offers basic breast cancer screenings. He launched a renewed attack on women’s reproductive rights.
We live now in a political environment that feels increasingly hostile to me as an American woman. Breast cancer is, almost exclusively, a woman’s disease. It affects our morale, our confidence and our appearance. It brings us face to face with our own mortality.
Abortions are, exclusively, performed on women.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to renew the fight for women’s rights, and access to decent health screenings and care.
People ask why get political, but politics has already saturated the fabric of our lives. Women’s rights have been politicized, not by women but by morality police who want to tell them who to be and how to be and if or when to have children. In the Herschel Walker case, the extremists are keeping two sets of rules, one for Walker and one for everyone else.
Copyright 2022 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.