greenie_breizh: (political)
[personal profile] greenie_breizh
I don't even know where to start with what's been happening with public workers (especially teachers) in Wisconsin and other places (especially Ohio) in the United States lately, or with the unrelenting attacks by conservatives on Planned Parenthood and issues relating to women's health. I can't even link to that many articles because I've been almost avoiding reading too much about these issues because they make me so profoundly angry, frustrated and disappointed. But if you are interested in reading more, I can at least recommend this piece by Diane Ravitch on teachers in Wisconsin, and this piece by Rebecca Traister on cuts to Planned Parenthood. (This is also a helpful overview of the responses from pundits to the cuts over at Salon.) If you are in the U.S., I would also urge you to sign this Open Letter to Congress on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and to consider donating to them.

If I get started on all the implications of this conservative push, I will never stop, and I have other things to get to today, so I won't start. I will just say that these moments of U.S. history are the exact reason I do not admire the country and despise its tendency to think of itself as the Best Country of All Times; these moments also make me so, so glad I ended up not attending grad school in the U.S., because I hate the thought that the decision would have been read as, 'one more person really wants to move here because we're awesome!'. Canada is far from perfect, and France regularly does its share to make me ashamed they delivered me my passeport, too (and France also has a tendency to think of itselfsuper highly, which doesn't help). But this kind of bullshit reminds me of just how awful the rhetoric gets in the United States; it's so bad (and maybe more importantly, it's given so much visibility and credence) that it almost feels like a parody of what you can hear elsewhere in politics. Ugh ugh ugh. I wish I could hope that it's going to 'get better', but I feel like there's actually very little to indicate that it will. And the saddest thing, to me, as a French citizen, and as someone who may well end up a Canadian citizen? Both these governments think that emulating the U.S. blindly is a GREAT idea.

So anyway, as usual, this has ended up as more of a rant than I was hoping. >.> The worst part is I know I shouldn't even care or whatever, but I feel so angry and tired and disappointed on behalf of all of my awesome American friends who deserve better than this crap.

To finish on a more positive note, President Obama and his administration are apparently continuing to grow a spine! : the Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional. This is great news, although with limited effects for now, obviously; but considering court cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA are making their way through the court system right now, it's a huge step forward. It also sends a strong message in favor of marriage equality, which is also very important.

EDIT: I also recommend this Tiger Beatdown article by "Grizzili Fetus". Funny in that way that doesn't make you laugh really, because it's too right on target.

Date: 2011-02-24 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be fair, what's traditionally credited as the reason for America's greatness (at least, as far as I'm aware) is the emphasis on individual rights - freedom FROM government control - freedom of religion, freedom of speech - which unfortunately gives rise to a lot of the insane rhetoric (side effect). I don't recall our publicly funded social programs ever being cited all that often - that's more Canada's and Europe's purview.

What's really pissing me off lately though, especially with regards to the Planned Parenthood stuff (which fortunately will not likely make it pass the Senate...this time anyway) is the fact that it was passed based on flat out blatant LIES. We HAVE the Hyde amendment - all this bullshiat about abortion funding was exactly that. I don't think tax payers should be on the hook for medically unnecessary abortions (remember I lean conservative on some issues) but the funding Planned Parenthood received not only didn't go to any abortions, but it also helps women prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place! To say nothing of counseling, teaching, testing and treatment for STD's, cancers, etc.... It's just unbelievable. This shiat has NOTHING to do with preventing abortion. I sincerely hope this, and the Wisconsin goings-on, have the effect of hurting the Republicans chances of taking more seats next election. I hope this will create a blow-back, b/c right now the Republican party has been taken over by the extreme-right fundy hardliners and these guys need to go. And I'm hoping people are starting to realize this.

And now there's an idiotic bill going through the AZ legislature saying fathers (or the families of underage mothers) can sue doctors for performing abortions if they "suspect" the woman/girl was getting the abortion based on the child's gender or race. This is farking idiotic.

PS - I wouldn't get too complacent living in Canada if I were you either, though:

Date: 2011-02-24 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately, most people who go on and on about America's greatness rarely go further in their analysis - I'd speak differently about it if these people were capable of saying 'America is great in this respect, however we're not so awesome at this other thing', which I feel opens up space for useful dialogue. I certainly think the United States doesn't suck across the board. But most of the time that I've been exposed to this kind of blind patriotism, all people want to hear and say is that America's the best, period. So there's usually nothing being cited at all, or maybe freedom in such a broad, generic sense that it becomes meaningless. That's the type I can't stand. But you're coming from an (obviously) more open-minded perspective, where it's possible to have a discussion about differences in policies and politics, and that's obviously fine. Like I said, it's not like I think the U.S. is fundamentally worse than everyone else, I just deeply dislike the shape that patriotism often takes there.

Yeah, the lies drive me nuts, too. :( I'm too used to it - when it comes to gender and sexuality, blatant lies are like, pretty common. (Just see the kind of rhetoric from the conservative far-right about homosexuals recruiting, etc.) But they're not any less infuriating, especially when they're rebuked over and over again yet people still believe them. Maybe one of the best (and most unfortunate) of how 'ignorance' is not simply about not knowing facts. Sigh.

As for Arizona, is there no depth of awfulness they will stop at? >.>

Finally, believe me, I have no illusions about Canada being fantastic. The current conservative government is absolutely awful, and Harper is often even worse. Ugh. I'm somewhat encouraged by the fact there is space for more than two parties here, but let's face it, it's not much better than down south. The conservatives draw on similar rhetoric, to a certain extent, and they play into people's fears in very similar ways. :(

Date: 2011-02-24 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

j/k ;) Yeah, in my personal experience it's a knee-jerk reaction - some people take any kind of criticism and instantly interpret it as "OMFGthiscommie-marxist-socialisthatesAmericaandjustthinkswe'retheworstandeverythingwedoisbadandnothingisgoodsofark'emintheear". B/c yeah, some people ARE like that. (critics, that is).

And some of them (frothing-at-the-mouth-patriots) are just ignorant. Sometimes willfully so.

There's plenty to criticize. There's plenty to praise. And we have a huge capacity for reform. Progress isn't linear and backslide is always possible, but I think ultimately progress wins out overall - sometimes simultaneously with the backsliding (for example: Obama on DOMA...but I bet you he will be waffling on this somewhat. If he gets a second term, however, I see him going for broke - in a good way.)

Still, at least you guys in Canada don't have to deal with Phyllis "its-not-rape-if-you're-married" Schafly. Every other country on earth has that on us. ;p

Date: 2011-02-24 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
PS- re: AZ. As someone who has spent a lot of time there, my advise is to just sit back and enjoy the crazy. It's really all you can do with them. They are the new Texas.

Date: 2011-02-24 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love my country, but we're not the 'be all end all' that so many people like to think we are, and all the recent shit that's been going on just scares me to death. There are some bright patches - there's talk of a recall for WI Gov. Walker (though, apparently, they have to wait a year, ugh), the PP funding issue shouldn't make it past the Senate (though, yes, I'd already signed the petition), Maryland is working on passing a Marriage Equality Bill - but the continued assaults on women's rights, labor, immigrants and the poor are enough to make me wonder what century we're living in. :(

I just hope that enough people wake up to what the fundies are trying to do before we end up living The Handmaid's Tale. Honestly, we could stand to learn something from the Egyptians. Peaceful protest in sufficient numbers can do awesome things. :)


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