The Slut Vote.

[Cross-posted at The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy.]

Much hay has been made, both before and after the recent election, about the right’s “War on Women.”  If conservative policies with respect to abortion and birth control were not so deadly the whole thing could have been scripted as a comic farce set in the 12th century, the era to which conservatives apparently long for civilization to return.

There was Rush Limbaugh calling college student Sandra Fluke a slut for advancing the outrageous idea that oral contraception is basic health care.  In a tour de force of delusionary ranting entirely untethered from reality, Limbaugh said:

What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.

How is it possible for a man who has been married four times and has no children to hold the incomprehensibly ignorant notion that birth control pills are taken each time one engages in heterosexual intercourse?  Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony, of course, only concerned her friend who requires oral contraception strictly for medical reasons, but was denied coverage by those compassionate Christians who run the Catholic university of Georgetown.  But never mind those pesky facts.  The next day Limbaugh doubled down:

So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.

As it turned out, Rush Limbaugh had nothing against sluts after all — provided they were willing to service his infantile sexual pathology.

99% of American women of reproductive age who have had sex have used birth control.  The figure is 98% for Catholic women.  Gosh, that sure seems like a whole lot of sluts.

Then there were the mandatory rape laws enacted in several states, requiring that medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds be performed upon women before abortions.  (Virginia State Senator Janet Howell proposed an amendment to such a law that would have required men seeking erectile dysfunction medication to first have a medically unnecessary rectal exam.  Strangely, her amendment failed.)  The state of Arizona enacted a law whereby a doctor can now lie to a pregnant woman about serious fetal abnormalities in order to prevent her from terminating, and not be sued for the unconscionable devastation that results.

There was the hideous parade of Republican rape apologists running for office: Rick “accept what God has given to you” Santorum; Todd “legitimate rape” Akin; John “uh, the rape thing…how does it make it better by killing a child?” Koster; Joe “there is no such exception as life of the mother” Walsh; and Richard “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” Mourdock.

But the uproar over the no-copay birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act really put the right’s derangement on vivid display for all to see.  One poor fellow from The Christian Men’s Defense Network (?!) had this to say in the wake of Romney’s loss:

Democrats tried to make this election about a single issue:

The right to slut.

Or more precisely, the right to slut without the responsibility of consequences.  The famous “gender gap” isn’t really a gap based on gender.  The right overwhelmingly wins older and married women.  The “gender gap” should more accurately be called the slut vote.

Okay, then.  The slut vote it is.  If by “slut” we mean “sexually active woman responsibly preventing pregnancy,” I and at least 98% of American women will be quite happy to embrace the label.  All those “older and married women” on the right?  Sluts, the lot of ‘em.  As a matter of fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that all of these guys’ wives are sluts, too.  Well, all of them except for Karen Santorum.  She has given birth to eight children.

Anyway, this whole War on Women thing?  Even if you are not a Vagina-American — i.e., a slut — you still might want to pay attention.  This has not been happening in a vacuum:  it is part of the larger conservative war on Social SecurityUnionsThe environmentEducationFood and waterImmigrantsCancer patientsMuslims.  The poorGay and trans peopleThe oceansPalestiniansThe middle classBlack peopleBrown peopleThe youngThe elderlyThe disabledScienceThe EarthThe godlessHistory.

For it seems that to whatever extent conservative policy is unleashed in one arena, it invariably inflicts its many miseries in other areas, too.  As go women’s reproductive rights, so go civil rights, and ultimately human rights.  And let us not overstate the enlightened liberalism of the Democratic Party on these issues, either.  Both parties have drifted rightward over the years and there are plenty of Democrats who are conservative, not just on reproductive rights but on a whole host of social and fiscal issues.  Those who would posit that Democrats in general or Barack Obama in particular have been unrelenting champions of reproductive rights will need to explain the administration’s overruling of FDA scientists on over-the-counter access to Plan B contraceptives, and the party’s cynical strategy of raising funds on the pretext of “holding Republicans accountable” for viciously misogynist legislation when those funds would be put to use reelecting Democrats who voted for exactly the same bills.

In fact, I think it’s probably fair to say that it was the right asserting their long-held, backward views with such unapologetic brio that benefited the Democrats in the election more than anything that they actively did on these issues themselves.  It came in the form of the slut voter backlash against the right’s medieval views of women.  In light of this, the Democrats would be wise to do some serious housecleaning.  They can stop promoting and supporting anti-choice candidates like Senators Harry Reid and Bob Casey, and start actively pushing forward on reproductive rights instead of compromising with the enemies of women — who are, not coincidentally, the enemies of humanity.

We sluts are paying attention.  There are a whole lot of us.  And we vote.

3 thoughts on “The Slut Vote.

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