Posted by

4 comments

I think right about now is not the right time for me to read fiction about slow apocalypses. (What *is* the plural of apocalypse, anyway? – Buffy) Everytime I look, the US gets scarier and scarier but just incrementally. Here’s this video I just watched about a protest in Virgina against the bill to force ultrasounds prior to abortions. This passed bill is a scaled back version of the original which required the insertion of the ultrasound wand inside a vagina to scan the foetus before an abortion. Last time we all checked, there was a word for that, and it’s four letters, starts with “r” and rhymes with “cape”. Sanctioned by the big men in government. Nice one.

Anyway, the “watered” down version of this bill still treats women like … well I dunno what. Idiots? Children? Malevolent, unfeeling beings who would change their mind if only they *understood* the real magnitude of their decision? Really, if this is who those men think women are, why do they feel ok leaving their innocent children with them all day long while they go out to work? Why do they feel better about forcing women to become parents? If women are *that* heinous, … well, wouldn’t they know no depths for ill intent? Wouldn’t they be exactly the kind of people you wouldn’t wanting raising, shaping and influencing your young?

I might just be me, but I think it’s crueler to force a child into existence and leave it in poverty, homeless, without a meal at night, no warm blankets, a crack habit etc etc. But you know, whatever. Big picture, small minds etc etc.

Anyway. So, it’s unsurprising that you know, women out there, in the world, think this is intolerable. And not only this but other moves afoot in US politics relating to birth control, the denial of it to women, the giving the power to women’s bosses, their *bosses*!, to opt them out of being covered by insurance for contraception and so on and so on (seriously, it is so anger making! and for a whole bunch of reasons, the least of which is, do they not study economics and social reform? that countries productivity and standard of living *improve* when women are educated and have access to birth control??). And these women (and some men) came out to protest in Virginia about that. As is their right. Yo, that’s what democracy looks like:

And here’s the scary thingĀ  – that was one of the most peaceful demonstrations I’ve ever seen. If you look closely, the demographic spans all ages, there are young women and older women in the crowd. There’s like, your mum in that crowd. And they are moving to stand in front of the Capitol and voice their dissent, peacefully. As is their right in you know a Free Country, something that particular country has been supposedly bringing to other countries in the world for the last 15 years. And not 3 minutes in, riot police are called in. There are men with machine guns to stop your mum standing there and chanting that she wants her rights, and my rights, to birth control. For heavensake!

Very moving for me was when the crowd chants at the police – who do you serve, who do you protect?

Because there are two things at play here. One the far right weirdo conservative men in government who think women who use birth control are sluts. Which is offensive on so many levels. But there is also something going on with the police in the US right now. Especially when they see a need to intervene on a crowd of people standing around and demonstrating their disagreement with something. Never once did the crowd get angry or rowdy. It’s like now, the police are afraid of the people. Of people on mass.

I dunno, it’s a sad day when you’re representatives prevent you from rocking up to display your disagreement with how they are (not) representing you. Here’s hoping the voice of dissent is loud in the ballot booth later this year.

But something else interests me. About 15 years ago, I saw, I think, Danny Devito (could have been someone else like Al Pacin0 or maybe Sean Penn) who was talking on Oprah about a program he was heading up to supply people, just regular people, with video cameras. And at the time I thought that was like so not a priority surely? And for what? Home videos? But he explained that it was for capturing on the ground what was happening to people. That it would empower people because they could get the word out beyond their borders. And I’ve been watching since then and seen how damn, he was right! as more and more footage comes out from places by handhelds and captured by bystanders. Even the hanging of Saddaam Hussein was leaked that way. Footage from the sinking of the Concordia, and also police brutality and unlawful force used in the occupy protests.



Tags: ,

Add a Facebook Comment

4 Comments

  • By Helen on 7 March 2012 at 8:47 am

    What is happening in the US in so many areas is disturbing. Echos of The Handmaid’s Tale everywhere. Perhaps things will turn around for the better after the next election but I’m by no means convinced it will and every time I look at the line up of Republican Presidential hopefuls I’m less hopeful. None of the Americans I know support these measures but they end up with elected representatives like these. Compulsory voting has a lot of merit, I think, even with the inevitable donkey vote.

  • By Tansy Rayner Roberts on 7 March 2012 at 2:25 pm

    It reminds me of a quote from Ancient Rome – that they didn’t put slaves in a uniform because if they did, the slaves might realise how many of them there were.

    Information that there are others out there sharing the same experiences is one of the most powerful things people have – look at the way Twitter has been used in some countries where other forms of communication were cut off, to get information out there!

    There’s something intimate about footage, that you can’t look away from, can’t unsee. I can see why giving people camcorders (and now, smart phones) would empower them.

  • By Ju on 8 March 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Your comment about the cameras both the initial ‘surely something else’ and then the ‘wow, so right’ really hit me about this. That and the feeling scared of what’s to come with the rights over our bodies. Very interested to see what happens in upcoming elections.

  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 8 March 2012 at 4:23 pm

    And just think the Americans have their rights enshrined, we don’t. I fear our next election will usher in Tony Abbot as PM.

    Another thing I have noticed in the US in both the Military and the Police Force is the training of the two by the state and then later use in private forces.

    I am thinking of Blackwater, which was a private army of ex government trained mercenaries, paid by the US to operate outside the law.

    The Police in New York are hired out to firms as a private security force – conflict of interest much.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment