In the late 60’s, Andy Warhol said that in the future, “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” I have always taken Warhol’s statement as an ironic comment on how the modern mass media creates so many fleeting celebrities, like the couple who crashed the White House dinner or one-hit wonders such as A-ha and Mungo Jerry.
Sandra Fluke, the woman who was refused the opportunity to testify in front of a Congressional hearing on contraception and was then viciously and repeatedly slandered by Rush Limbaugh, sure looks likes she’s going to be a one-hit wonder, whose face time in front of the American mass psyche officially ended yesterday when she gave a speech in front of the Democratic National Convention.
But I stand up and give her long applause for what she has said and done during the time she has so far spent on stage. Her speech nailed the differences between an Obama and a Romney-Ryan victory so well that I want to reprint large excerpts:
“During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women—and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past…
In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don’t want and our doctors say we don’t need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don’t. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it’s the America we could be. But it’s not the America we should be. It’s not who we are.
We’ve also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we’d have the right to choose. It’s an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families. An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice. That’s the difference…
“We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to choose.”
There are many complaints that I have about Barack Obama’s presidency. We’ll save those for another day. For now, let’s look at this one major contrast. The Republican Party from top to bottom wants to control the private matters of private citizens by imposing on everyone their own literally medieval social views regarding marriage, sexuality and a woman’s place in society. The Democrats support an open, secular and diverse society based on equality and freedom to choose.
As Fluke so poignantly puts it, for this one reason all free-thinking Americans must vote for Obama and every Democrat who explicitly favors women’s contraceptive and reproductive rights.