Sandra Fluke Was Not A Fluke: A Secular Crisis of Faith
Given the major problems facing America today -- our decaying infrastructure, growing rates of poverty, eroding civil liberties and descent into totalitarianism -- how the hell did the majority of the political right wing get the idea "Y'know what's really wrong with the USA? Too many women have too much access to contraception!"
A couple weeks ago, a woman named Sandra Fluke went before Congress to discuss health insurance coverage. Fluke mentioned a friend of hers who'd lost an ovary to an ovarian cyst, because she could not afford the hormone pills necessary to treat the cyst in its early phases, and her health insurance wouldn't pay for it because the woman's employer, who paid part of her health-insurance premiums, cited religious objections to fixing problems with women's reproductive systems.
This inspired Rush Limbaugh to spend three days calling Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," which did not surprise me at all; I remember when Limbaugh criticized the policies of then-president Bill Clinton by holding up a photo of Clinton's daughter (who at the time was going through her gawky-adolescent ugly phase) and calling her "the official White House dog."
So, no, I don't expect reasoned commentary from someone who, as a middle-aged man, made no distinction between political commentary and insulting pre-teen girls. Limbaugh's rant didn't surprise me at all. Here's what did surprise me: when I'd go on Facebook, or visit various political blogs and forums I'm prone to frequent, all run by people I'd considered political allies of a sort (mainly self-described libertarians who claim to share my mantra "Social liberal and fiscal conservative"), I saw to my dismay how many "libertarians" favor Limbaugh's view of ovarian-cyst treatment over Fluke's.
I saw countless photos of Fluke's face with captions suggesting she wants taxpayers to buy her silk sheets, Barry White albums and vibrating dildos; captions suggesting that only whores want or need healthy reproductive systems. I saw self-described libertarians who view women's hormone pills the same way callous drug warriors view pain medicine for the dying: if there's even the theoretical possibility a drug or medical treatment can be used solely for fun -- a painkiller that can also get you high, a hormone-balancing treatment that can also let you have sex without fear of pregnancy -- then let's pretend these treatments are only used for fun, and furthermore that only irresponsible criminal loser-types would ever use those treatments. Only hopeless-loser potheads would ever use marijuana, only trashy-filth meth whores would ever buy decongestants, and only promiscuous sluts would ever take hormone pills, right?
Fun fact: based on my mother's own medical history -- she's banned for life from donating blood, because once upon a time she needed cancer-of-the-ladyparts surgery -- I'd guess I have a better-than-average chance of one day needing the same type of medical treatments Fluke discussed. If this happens, I'd certainly want my medical insurance company to cover it (assuming I actually had medical insurance at the time, but that's another matter). So, would I then see my photo plastered over the internets, with captions suggesting I'm just a freeloading slut demanding subsidized sex toys?
I posted variations of that question to the people who posted or re-posted sundry Sandra Fluke slurs on their blogs and Facebook pages, but thus far, none have had the balls to give me a direct answer.
I also read various respected libertarianish blogs -- no names mentioned, no links provided, they'd be largely interchangeable anyway -- blogs and comment threads attempting to be dispassionate, when they explained how Fluke wasn't necessarily a "slut" for talking about her friend's ovarian cyst, but was surely a whiny demander of free stuff because women who want their health insurance companies to pay for health problems involving their gender-specific body parts are just a buncha goddamn socialist Commies, or something.
After awhile, it all started to sound like a thread on Stormfront discussing Obama's dismal record of war crimes, TSA molestation policies and similar problems -- yeah, guys, you have a couple legitimate complaints here, but quit pretending your hatred of Obama stems from your principled love of constitution and country. No: you hate the man because he is black, and the fact that he later went on to do things so odious you'd even criticize a white man for it is just a lucky coincidence.
Politics makes for strange bedfellows but some fellows I'd never bed, despite my being the sort of "prostitute" who believes women's medical insurance companies should cover women's medical problems. For example: no matter how bad TSA and NSA get under Obama, I'm still not hooking up with David Duke and the Stormfronters to fight them ... and it looks like I can't hook up with most "libertarians," either. At least not the ones who'd call me a prostitute for opposing any reproductive-organs exemption to medical coverage.