by Tess Adair
Kim Davis isn’t real, and I wish we would all stop talking about her. Sorry, minor correction--Kim Davis as a problem isn’t real, and I wish we would all stop talking about her.
I get the appeal, of course--for both sides. To that genius Mike Huckabee, Kim Davis is The Last Great American. To the other 5,000 Republican candidates, she’s an easy person to disavow so they can pretend to be moderate and in-line with the popular opinion among Americans that every human being should be allowed to marry the human being they want to marry. (To be fair, I don’t think these candidates are lying. I think their pre-2015 anti-gay opinion was just as calculated and meaningless as their new indifferent-to-gay one.)
And to those of us on the left, there’s a certain satisfaction in watching a dumbass spewing hate nonsense getting legally shut down over and over again, in a way that never could have happened before. The “moderate” Republican disavowal of her is even more satisfying, because it’s the clearest nail in the coffin of the fight for marriage equality. For once, we got to win. Kim Davis can beat it all she wants, but that horse is dead.
To the media, of course, Kim Davis represents page views. In a sense, she’s the politically charged equivalent of Honey Boo-Boo: she has the mean-mug look and out-of-touch stubborn attitude we used to see primarily in Springer-like daytime talk shows, which has since bled into the rest of the reality TV quagmire.
And I’d like for us all to stop now. News should not be the same as reality television. Mocking Kim Davis’s four marriages will get you clicks, but for the sake of slowing our long cultural slide into pointless vapidity, could we just not?
If you want to write about human rights in America this week, I suggest you ignore any news related to marriage equality. For now, that one’s in the bag, and nobody with any real power has plans to challenge it.
Let’s focus instead on a right we thought we’d won decades ago, which seems to unravel more every single day: the right to an abortion.
I know, I know: it’s so much harder to write about this one. Abortion is a hard topic, and if you support the right to choose it, the truth of the matter is depressing. Every day, another state or another senator introduces some new, possibly horrifying bill to restrict access to it (and, in many cases, to punish any woman who dares to exercise her right to it.)
It’s hard to write about. It’s hard for me to write about. I get so angry about some of the things I read in relation to it that I feel complete paralyzed, made impotent by the sheer cruelty behind so many anti-abortion bills.
But unlike marriage equality, the fight for choice is far from over. And our silence on the topic makes us complicit in the losses we suffer.
So I’d like to start in a simple place: I support the right to an abortion. I understand why some people don’t, and I disagree with them. Abortion is about the question of bodily autonomy, nothing else. Either we have the right to decide what happens to our bodies, or we don’t. Just like we cannot mandate that people donate blood or organs to someone who might need it, we can’t mandate they perform the function of life-support for anything else.
If someone truly wants to prevent abortions, there’s one statistically sure-fire way to do it: increase access to birth control and scientifically informative sex education. And yet Pro-Lifers have no coordinated agenda to do either such thing. It’s not a part of their platform. In fact, the actions of most Pro-Life activists would actually prevent greater access to birth control. It’s the sort of thing that might make you question someone’s motives.
So, for now, that’s my piece. I’m in favor of the right to a safe abortion, and I think we should talk about it more. The more we talk about it, the easier talking about it will be.
And the less we focus on meaningless distractions like Kim Davis, the more we might have the chance to talk about those things that really matter.
And now here’s a link to a much more in-depth article that may depress the crap out of you (or make you celebrate, depending on your point of view):