Men can help in the fight for abortion rights
George Carlin once said something to the effect that Conservatives aren’t anti-abortion; they’re anti-women. And of course, women’s rights are human rights. Even people without a uterus will find that this erosion of human rights will soon be nipping at their heels. In fact our very democracy is on the brink of failure. Often the fight for abortion rights can seem like it’s women’s territory, but it’s not. If you guys are feeling a little left out of the conversation (and don’t mind taking advice from a puppeteer), here’s how men can help in the fight for abortion rights.
Understand the nature of this war
About fifty years ago, during his 1972 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon realized that he couldn’t get re-elected by using racism, war-mongering and petty burglary alone. He needed to bring social conservatives (and especially evangelical groups) into his coalition. And to do this he turned the subject of abortion into the political football it remains today.
Conservatives have been playing the long game on abortion since then, throwing one batshit-crazy idea against the wall after another and finding not only that some abortion restrictions stuck, but that after accumulating so much crap on the wall, they were able to normalize looking at that crap for everyone else. For women in red states, abortions have been growing harder; everyone else became complacent (what difference does it make if I elect a misogynistic grifter as president—he’ll shake things up, and what’s the worst that could happen?).
For the next fifty years, conservatives organized, told the world what they were trying to do, and fought like hell (excuse me, heck)—and now they’ve done it. Undoing it is going to take a similar fight. Get used to the fact that you cannot fix this by yelling at Biden for an executive order. You cannot fix this after one election, or two. You cannot fix this at all. It will be your children and grandchildren who will finally right this wrong. It is our job to take the first steps, continue fighting for the rest of our lives, and then to teach our children how to carry on the fight. This is the war we must engage in.
So what are the first steps?
Be a voter
Being a voter is more that just voting. It means taking personal responsibility for the health of our democracy.
The process of becoming a voter begins with educating yourself about candidates, incumbents, policies that affect you, and facts about the world around you. Get this information from more than once reputable news source. (Do not get your news from Facebook. News sources like Fox News and Brietbart contain misinformation and disinformation—they are not reliable.) As you educate yourself, remember the following:
- Elections have consequences: Understand that whether you vote or not, you are making a political choice. If you sat out the 2016 election because your were disillusioned by both candidates, then you are directly responsible for the seating of the three justices that made the overturn of Roe inevitable. Even if you feel you have to choose the lesser of two evils, you still need to educate yourself and make the choice.
- Pod Save America: One way to keep abreast of progressive politics is to listen to the podcast Pod Save America. It’s the best antidote we have to the misinformation and disinformation on the right. The hosts are truthful, transparently progressive, and funny to boot. They can help educate you about the news items you should know about and that you can do something about. (I know this can sound specious—listen to a podcast and change the world! But we’re talking first steps here.)
- Demand answers: If you live in a purple Congressional district and have the bad luck to have a Republican representative, attend their town halls and demand answers. Briefly share a personal story of how their votes have harmed you or someone you love, and ask what they intend to do about it. Don’t know how they voted? Educate yourself!
Go to VoteSaveAmamerica.com to find out how to participate more fully in defending our democracy. Making phone calls, sending texts and donating money are only the beginning. I understand many people don’t have the personal resources (time, money) to take this step. But there will be events even you are able to join, and you can have an impact with even a small donation if done correctly.
The best part is that you don’t have to live in a battleground state (or district) to join in the fight. You can fight from afar! Right now you can join their Midterm Madness campaign and pick one of four U.S. regions to support.
Do I even have to mention this? If you’ve committed to being a voter and you’ve educated yourself about the facts in your districts, you’ve got to finish the job and vote. If you live in California, there’s no excuse—you get a ballot in the mail, and you can drop it off weeks before Election Day at a community drop box or mail box. Elsewhere find out how the process works (see Educate Yourself, above) and get your ballot in.
And none of this voting at the top of the ticket and leaving the rest blank because you don’t know anything about these people. (Because you’ve already educated yourself.) Voting on every level has been part of the conservative playbook for a couple of generations now, and this next election might see people who support Trump’s Big Lie actually running state and local elections across all the battleground states. Did I mention our democracy is at stake?
It’s a choice, not a referendum
If you’re feeling disillusioned by the current democratic administration, you may feel that the election is a referendum on how much they’ve achieved or simply how much you like them. Thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s easy to vote the bastards out because you’re unhappy with them.
But elections are not referendums, they are choices. Not voting for one candidate is the same as voting for the other. You’re going to have to live with the fact that, as poor as the progress is that Democrats have made so far, the Republicans will turn their back on people who work for a living every chance they get. Their platform includes tax cuts for their super-rich donors, cutting regulations for huge corporations, and a nationwide ban on abortion. We need tough leaders who won’t give in to the millionaires and the lobbyists, but will fight for good jobs, good wages, and guaranteed health care for every single American. Oh, and democracy. They’ll fight for democracy.
Numbers and noise get noticed. Find a rally near you. Do what you can.
Ask your woman
She’ll know what to do.
I would add the following: The Biden Administration has made great progress in reducing the unemployment rate, adding millions of jobs, lifting wages, and reducing the deficit. Democrats have not achieved all we had hoped for and a big reason for that is the filibuster which has stopped important legislation such as the Women’s Health Protection Act, and threatens voting rights and so much more. With more Democrats in the House and Senate this November, we can actually make progress toward meeting real needs of real people. Without those majorities, we’ll see our country slide further into minority rule and authoritarianism. Everyone of us can take action in some way. Despair is not an option. I’m in it for the long haul and I hope you are, too.