Current Events: Elections, Facebook, and the War on Women
Hello, my dear Sparklers! Lots to talk about today. But first, I’d like to address some comments about the bias in my previous columns. Um, note I said “column.” That means that I can put my opinions in if I want. And I want. BUT. I understand how it could be frustrating to see a “news” column that’s not straight news, so from now on, a new policy: I'll give you the news as unbiased as I can, and if I’m putting in my opinion it goes in a separate paragraph. Example:
News: J.P. Morgan reported a 2 billion dollar loss recently.
New paragraph with my opinion: They ought to regulate banks more strictly.
Does that work for everyone? Yay! Now on to the week’s stories:
-First, let’s give a warm SparkLife congratulations to Egypt for having their first ever democratic presidential elections yesterday. So: CONGRATULATIONS EGYPT! This is coming after 15 months straight of economic crisis, protests, and unrest. In other words, to all the news nerds (moi), this is a big effing deal. There are five major candidates competing for the vote: two rival Islamists, two officials from the previous government, and a Nasserite socialist. For the most part, the elections occurred in a peaceful and orderly fashion, an impressive feat considering all the past unrest and the fact that there have been no accurate polls to predict a winner.
However, the role of the president is, as of now, still undefined. The position will have to do in large part with the military council, which will issue an interim constitution, and Parliament. Despite that, it seems that many Egyptians are in awe simply to have the opportunity to decide their fate in the government. This election has sparked far more debate, far more knowledgeable voters, and far better voter turnout than any American election in recent years.
What I take away from this (warning: opinions ahead!) is, aside from the beauty of a country discovering democracy, how much we take our own democratic process for granted. Folks, compared to Egyptians, Americans are uninvolved, uninformed, apathetic voters. So please—this November, get people you know (or, if you’re old enough yourself) to vote. It’s incredible—we, the ordinary plebeians, decide the fate of our own government. Don’t take it for granted. Moving on...
-Y’all are familiar with Facebook; well, up until last week it was a private company, meaning that it was owned by a single group of people, and its stock was NOT up for sale. On Friday, Facebook went public, which prompted a frenzy of eager investors wanting to buy in. This caused some trouble with Nasdaq (think of it as a stock marketplace) as there were some electronic issues. Facebook stock did not perform as well as was expected. However, Nasdaq officials say the technical difficulties did not affect the stock. Ether way, mazel tov, Zuckerburg!
-Let’s talk about the Church. And let’s talk about women. Hopefully you remember all the conflict going on between the women of the Church, the men of the Church, and the government. Debate was sparked afresh by an invitation for the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to speak at Georgetown’s commencement ceremony. Sebelius is Catholic, and had a son graduate from Georgetown. However, she also fought to pass a part of the healthcare bill that would provide contraceptives to people. The Church was outraged by Georgetown’s actions, comparing the invitation of a pro-birth controller to the invitation of an anti-semite.
Before I give you my take, let’s talk about women. Specifically, this so-called “war on women” you may have heard about, and the Violence Against Women Act. Here’s what’s happening: recently, John Boehner, the speaker of the House and Republican House majority leader, got passed a bill weakening certain parts of the Violence Against Women Act. In general, women’s rights are being debated in three major areas: abortion, domestic violence, and health care.
Several states have passed measures making the cutoff for abortions earlier (going against Roe v Wade standards in the process) and requiring women to go through more extreme measures before obtaining abortions. Many of these laws do not include exceptions for cases where the mother’s health is in danger or for cases of rape or incest. Many of these laws require the mother to obtain a certain type of ultrasound that requires the HND between mom and medical device. This procedure, by the way, constitutes the legal definition of rape—insertion without consent.
The new version of the Violence Against Women Act, which is designed to protect and help abused women, omits many protections for gay, Indian, immigrants, and students. It ends existing protections for illegal immigrants who report abuse and cooperate with police. This makes it a lot more likely that women who fall into those categories would decide not to report abuse.
The House of Representatives has ended funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood that help women obtain abortions. They would also deny funding for programs like family planning and cancer screening.
Here’s my thinking. I firmly hold the belief that the Church and state should not intersect; it is one of the many sacred tenets our country is built upon. But when I read about legislators denying people access to abortion or contraception, or generally involving their religion with their day jobs, I think, “how do they possibly get away with this?” Because to me, it’s preposterous that the government could deny a woman an abortion or a contraceptive because a religion is against it; religion is not supposed to be involved in government. At all. The Violence Against Women Act is, to me, a no-brainer: protect women from abuse. Period. End of story.
Finally, on the subject, I’d like to add that there are many more men in government than women. MANY. In fact, remember how we were talking about D.C. and abortion? A house subcommittee denied a female delegate a chance to testify on abortion. They wouldn’t allow a colleague to simply state her opinion.
But that’s just my thinking. What’s yours?
Post by dianamer994!
What's your take on the recent goings-on?
Related Post: Current Events Series