Sandra Fluke Could Be Anyone’s Daughter, Sister, Friend, Wife, Lover: She Could Be You
I’m not buying Limbaugh’s non-apology apology to Sandra Fluke. Neither is she.
All this woman was doing was giving her side of the story about women’s health to the public when she was not permitted to join the panel by Rep. Darrell Issa and the mostly male and mostly Republican congresspeople. And for her (and others’) perceived effrontery to tell the truth about why some women need to use The Pill, Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to try to slash her and smear her reputation, calling her a slut and a prostitute.
This latest in the right-wing attacks on women, contraception and abortion, and institutions like Planned Parenthood has achieved nothing less than the re-energizing of one of the Democratic Party’s bases: that of moderate to progressive women. And you have never seen as much outrage on Twitter, on Facebook, on the blogosphere, as I have seen during the past few days. Young women, older women, white women, women of color, married women, lesbians, straight women as well as the men who love them. They are pouring out their anger like a tsunami wave. And they are beginning to organize.
One guy I heard on Ed Schultz‘ radio show, a young conservative, made a great show of dismissing Limbaugh as any kind of credible Republican leader that anyone follows. Limbaugh had completely gone too far, said this young man, and that many of his young conservative friends did not agree with the blowhard at all on this issue. Most importantly, he said that he had had to first wean himself and then his own mother off of Limbaugh’s hateful swill long before this latest episode. In effect, he saw Limbaugh for what he was: a bigot and a divider. He was begging listeners not to believe that Limbaugh represented the views of all Republicans.
Well, too late for that one, chum.
This rage is fueling the phone calls, e-mails, and letters to Limbaugh’s sponsors and radio stations that carry him, asking them not to support these remarks in no uncertain terms. And while some are hoping that this latest infamy from that Viagra-chomping blimp who visits sex capitals looking for tail between and during wives will blow over, I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. Our demographic has some looooonnnnggggg memories, like remembering an emotionally abusive husband or a lover. The kind of memory that would naturally follow them to the voting booths come November.
What got me about Limbaugh’s remarks was his broadcasting about how women use the birth control pill. A woman doesn’t just pop a pill every time she has sex. A woman takes The Pill once a day.
Is that what Limbaugh really does in his spare time? Pop pills? Is that how right-wing guys educate other right-wing guys about women who supposedly break all the rules? That is—in the parlance of feminists—women who reject the patriarchy? Such women have sex morning, noon, and night, right? Mythology. If Hoya women were that sexually active—and 62.8% of the undergrads in 2007 said they were at that Catholic, Jesuit university—none of them would get any work done, and none of them would have degrees. However, these young women’s energies are not necessarily focused on men, marriage and family as the end-all be-all, as Limbaugh and the right wing would prefer. It’s energy spent on themselves and their endeavors and concerns, as with Fluke, and this is what threatens, flips out and pisses off extreme right-wing men to no end, particularly Limbaugh. It leads them to slut shame women who know who they are and are in control of their own destinies. It’s no accident that they are also called the American Taliban.
But Limbaugh wasn’t alone in his rants. Other friends from Mordor took up his cause.
Right-wing women like Patricia Heaton, late of the popular show Everybody Loves Raymond jumped into the fray as well. Unfortunately for her, dittohead Heaton had to delete her Twitter account because her utterances were generating so much heat and loathing from Fluke supporters. She deleted her account (and later, rejoined the social media organization today with baleful apologies to Fluke), but it wasn’t in time to prevent other bloggers like Angry Black Lady from screen grabbing her hateful Tweets and spread them further through the blogosphere. And as you know, the Internet is forever.
Hey, if you didn’t know, Heaton was always known as a winger backstage on Raymond. It’s always a surprise to folks to find out what she really is. Other cast members have admitted that they could not talk sense with her. She’s sorta like Victoria Jackson from SNL. And you know how weird she’s turned out to be, coming on Faux Noise programs at times like a bad, blonde dream.
Fluke’s testimony wasn’t about how sexually-active women are suckering American taxpayers. It was about how women use The Pill for more than just preventing pregnancy, and that they should have access to the medication through their health care provider. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I used The Pill a few times in my life. I first used it when the prevalent propaganda in the black community was having a baby (preferably a boy child) for the revolution, and that having abortions or that getting on The Pill was antithetical to its aims of raising up another generation of “soldiers” while the brothers fought for their rights. I had made up my mind long before that I was not going to get pregnant—as I had seen other young black women students drop out of school with swollen bellies—before I received my degree. Some of those women never returned to school, and they were not necessarily getting their MRS. So, in my way, I was going against patriarchy, too. A kind of black male patriarchy as well as the white one. Both suggested that black women had no right to choose not to get “caught.” Black women had to be punished for exercising sexual freedom, and for finding a middle ground between madonna and whore.
When I quietly talked over my medical history with the Asian American gynecologist at the student health center at San Jose State, however, I also admitted that I had had painful cramping and heavy blood flow during my periods. And he told me that using The Pill would end that pain, pain that sometimes was so disruptive of my young life that I had to stop doing chores, or participating in PE classes, or other activities for hours on end, and that aspirin or Midol was of little, long-term help. I would even lie down in the nurse’s office until I felt okay enough to go to class. Sometimes I had to pack extra menstrual pads in my purse because I would run the risk of soaking my clothes and embarassing myself.
So I took The Pill for both reasons, and I was happy with it and with my overall health. Of course, my zits finally cleared up. And in the Seventies, I was seeking and experimenting, but I was no whore. I was finding out about myself.
These memories came flooding back to me when Rush Limbaugh excoriated Sandra Fluke, who was not even referring to herself at the special congressional hearing convened for her. She was referring to women who needed help with regulating their periods, fighting disease, and raising their hormone levels so that they could have children.
Of course, all I experienced is water under the bridge, but I can just imagine how it is for young women right now who may have taken sexual and reproductive freedom for granted. That like their mothers and grandmothers, that they would have always have access to The Pill and as a last resort, abortion. And then these Neanderthals talk this trash and try to limit our rights by sneaking in legislation—the Blunt Amendment—onto another bill that would allow any employer to deny his employees access to medical care or certain procedures or drugs because they were against his/her religious beliefs. What the hell? Understand, children, that this madness is exactly what it was like before sanity finally took hold in my time in 1973. You’ve got to fight them. You’ve got to raise your voice and fight them. They are trying once more to legislate morality, when there are few truly moral people among their ranks.
President Obama phoned in a few words of support to Fluke during the three days Limbaugh held forth and spewed his bile against her over forty-five times. The president also said for Fluke to tell her parents that they should be proud of her. The Flukes, as their daughter told Andrea Mitchell, are conservatives, but they are also proud of their daughter.
At last count, about 13 sponsors and at least two radio stations have suspended Rush Limbaugh’s show. Sandra Fluke rightly observed that Limbaugh’s so-called apology, suggesting that lefties made him go off on his three-day tirade about her, is only occurring because of the backlash from his sponsors. I believe, though, that this could be the beginning of the end, through attrition, of Rush’s reign. I have no doubt that he also slut-shamed Fluke for ratings, because they have fallen off considerably in recent months. I think the ploy backfired, and I think that he could go down slowly but surely like fellow mental case Glenn Beck, who was taken off the air due to the persistent efforts of organizations like Color of Change.
But Limbaugh’s demise would not be the only thing that I would celebrate or ask for. Rather, I would want to see the return of the Fairness Doctrine. It’s been long overdue. The media market is being influenced by the lowest common denominator—that is, people like Beck, Sean Hannity and Limbaugh are allowed to be as nasty, as venomous and as contemptuous and as racist (remember “Barack the Magic Negro”?) of American citizens as they want to be—for ratings. And they lie and lead others—particularly others with much more unstable minds—to feel and do the same, not only towards citizens like Sandra Fluke, but towards President Obama and the First Lady, people that they do not agree with.
People need to step back, because some no longer know how to discuss things reasonably and rationally. They don’t know how to act. Instead, they yell slurs, malign people’s characters and reputations, and keep people from stating their views. It’s all very emotional, very us versus them, like the gladiators in the Colisseum. But we as a country are not winning. The Fairness Doctrine was a way to limit such negative discourse, to get us to think and to act. And we would have to get along with each other to find an answer to our problems. That’s why I normally do not like reality shows, because invariably they devolve into physical fights, hair-pulling and name-calling and cussing.
And why not? Everyone loves to see a good fight, but it keeps people from focusing and doing the real work that needs to be done.
- Video: 53 of Rush Limbaugh’s most vile smears against law student Sandra Fluke (dailykos.com)
- Sandra Fluke Dismisses Limbaugh’s ‘Apology’ (crooksandliars.com)
- Sandra Fluke: Limbaugh’s Apology Changes Nothing (newser.com)