I bought a “Barack, You Rock!” shirt during the ’08 presidential election. I donated to Obama’s campaign. I drove around with a “HOPE” sticker on my car, and when some assbag scribbled “KKK” on it in Sharpie marker, I got out the hairspray and scrubbed it clean. The sticker’s been peeling for ages. It’s faded, and it looks kind of sad and gross. But I left it on my car, because I felt proud of the president.
I felt proud of him despite his many decisions that disappointed me during his term–not standing up to Stupak, continued abstinence-only and faith-based funding, his lame duck stances on gay rights with DOMA and DADT. I felt like he had good reasons for trying to play the negotiator, the middle-man, on a lot of issues that I wanted to see him go straight-up left-wing on. He had to play the game. I didn’t like it, but I respected it.
And then, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius vetoed–in pretty much un-fucking-precedented move–the FDA’s recommendation that Plan B (emergency contraception) be available to teens under 17 without a prescription. I was floored. A lot of people were. Like, a lot of people. LOT OF PEOPLE. And then Obama chimed in with some disrespectful, patriarchal bullshit about how he’s got daughters, so nobody else’s daughters should have easy access to a reasonable and necessary medicine.
And like, I just … folded. This thing inside me that had been held up by sticks and paper and tape just collapsed in on itself. Not only was Sebelius’ Obama-endorsed move wholly unnecessary (you know who I trust with medical shit? The FDA. You know who I don’t? Politicians.) but one of the most powerful examples of sheer cowardice I have ever seen from a politician in my lifetime, and I do not fucking understand it. The Obama administration had all the backing in the world it needed to make this sound decision, and it just sloughed it off to, what, pander to people who would never have voted for Barack Obama in the first place?
I feel sad and helpless. I think I really believed that there was a point in time at which Obama and other powerful Democrats would take women’s health and women’s rights seriously. But they went out of their way to veto this FDA ruling. Out. Of. Their. Fucking. Way. To tell young women they are too young and stupid to buy emergency contraception but not too young and stupid to have a child or an abortion. Let’s pull this Obama gem out, shall we? From USA Today:
He said Sebelius decided 10- and 11-year-olds should not be able to buy the drug “alongside bubble gum or batteries” because it could have an adverse effect if not used properly. He said “most parents” probably feel the same way.
That’s right! 10-year-old kids have $70 burning holes in their pockets, and they’re just running rampant through the drugstores buying bubblegum and emergency contraception! Because you know how, like, buying condoms is not already accessible to them and they do that all the time, like at literally every opportunity, because that is not embarrassing to teenagers, so obviously what they’re going to do is just STORM THE DRUGSTORES OF AMERICA looking to take THE SEX PILL! ATTENTION EVERYONE I AM BUYING THE SEX PILL FOR FUN!
I really wish this was funny.
I am just empty on this. Confused. I no longer want to vote for Barack Obama. Of course, as some dude mansplained to me on Twitter yesterday, this means I am directly responsible for getting his (presumably Republican) opponent elected, so it’s totally my fault that women don’t have access to the reproductive care they need, and not at all the fault of yellow-assed Democrats who pander to social conservatives, so why don’t I just hush up and vote for my best option?
I am so fucking sick of being told–especially by men–that as a woman, I have to vote for “good enough” and wait for them to get around to me and the issues I care about. I’m sick of being told that the health and safety of half the American people is a special interest issue and that we have to wait on rights we need now, rights we needed a decade ago, rights we needed a hundred years ago! If the end result is the same–which is to say, if reproductive health is considered an unimportant, niche issue and women’s needs get to be tossed aside any time a Republican might be made unhappy by any decision, anywhere–then fucking fine, I don’t care, elect Republicans! At least I know where Republicans stand and can depend on them to be assholes. I don’t need to be surprised by someone I thought was on my side suddenly tossing softballs to the other team.
I have no idea what to do. I feel totally powerless. Because I don’t want to be one of those people who is all, “I don’t vote.” Because I do vote. I am a voting person. I believe that voting is an important and integral part of responsible American citizenship. I don’t vote Democrat in Texas because I think it’ll get a Democrat elected, I do it because it is my responsibility. So now I can not vote, or vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning, and no one adequately addresses the issues I care most about, or I can vote and no one adequately addresses the issues I care most about.
Because I also believe it’s the responsibility of people I vote for to represent my interests. And not only does Barack Obama not do that, this week he and his administration basically said, point blank to people like me: We don’t care about your health, women’s health, common sense, gender equality or reproductive justice. We care about politics and pandering.
It’s just the last fucking straw for me. I am so sad. So fucking sad.
And I am going to go take that sticker off my car now.