Forewarned: no synchro here.
There is something compelling about Joe Biden. I have always liked this man, liked his voting record, his personal biography, and his ability to discuss issues in a powerful yet grounded way. Joe is….well, Joe. Middle class. His name pretty much says it all.
He has lived through tragedy that would kill lesser mortals – the death of his wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, shortly after Biden, 29, was elected to the U.S. Senate, one of the youngest people ever elected to that position. As a sudden single father of two young boys, he did what any parent would do, devoted himself to them unconditionally.
Joe understands that any country is only as strong as its middle class and this point came through strongly during the VP debate this evening. Ryan was clearly in over his head when it came to foreign policy, Medicare, Social Security, taxes, the right of a woman to choose, and just about every other issue covered in the debate. When the moderator, Martha Raddatz, a correspondent for ABC News, asked him a pointed question, asked for specifics, Ryan sought refuge in talking points.
Martha was fantastic, a terrific moderator in that she didn’t allow these two guys to take over. Better than Jim Laher, for sure .
MSNBC’s Laurence O’Donald felt it was inappropriate for Raddatz to ask the candidates, both of them Catholics, how their religious beliefs influenced their policies – particularly on abortion. O’Donald feels that religion shouldn’t enter the debate because of the separation between church and state. But the fact is that the separation between church and state has been eroding for years, Religion has been a factor in politics since the Nixon/JFK debate in 1960, when JFK’s Catholicism became an issue. And in the first twelve years of the new millennium, religion has gained a foothold in politics that is unprecedented.
For instance, Paul Ryan co-signed a bill with U.S. Congressman Todd Akin that would declare personhood upon a fertilized egg. Akin, by the way, sits on the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and wants all of you women out there to know that pregnancy from rape is really rare. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Really? And this guy is sitting on a science committee?
That’s a whole other post. The point here is that Ryan co-wrote this bill with Akin – and is now struggling to distance himself from it. When Joe Biden answered this question, he pointed out that his religious beliefs tell him that its right for the government to take care of those who can no longer take care of themselves – the poor, disenfranchised, elderly, sick – the very people, in fact, whom Ryan’s budget would dismiss completely. In terms of abortion, Biden said it isn’t up to government to intervene in such personal decisions, that he wouldn’t interfere in Roe v Wade.
Ryan would appoint supreme court justices who would overturn that ruling and basically render any woman and/or doctor involved in an abortion a murderer. Nice, huh?
An abortion is not an easy choice for any woman. And it’s shocking that decades after the supremos ruled on Roe v Wade it’s still an issue, that we have candidates who actually believe the government should have the right to dictate the choices a woman makes about her own body. But there is no corresponding proposed ruling about what men do with their bodies.
Years ago in college, I remember having this discussion with Dr. Millet, a professor of English Lit whom I absolutely adored. He was trying to convince me to stick with English Lit as a major (rather than Spanish). “You women, Trish, always hold the upper hand because you are the ones who birth life.”
“Uh, we don’t do this alone, Dr. Millet.”
“Well, no, but because you’re the ones who actually give birth, you’re the ones who come under under scrutiny by those in government who seek to control your bodies.”
This conversation happened around 1967, before Roe v Wade. I was a 20-year-old hippie who was against everything the government stood for. And here I was, having this surreal conversation with a professor at least 20 years older than me who nonetheless understood the stakes. “Go write your novels and books, Trish,” he said. “You will always follow the path of your heart.”
It sounded nice but it took me many years to understand what he actually meant by that statement, the greatest compliment I ever got from any professor. And right now, my heart tells me we are still a country where racism is prevalent, where many people who are going to vote for Romney/Ryan will do so simply because Obama is black. Reactionary voting is often a vote against your own self- interest.
Here’s what I’m sure of: Any woman who votes the Repub ticket needs extensive and profound psychiatric intervention.