The Takeaway: To inaugurate MurnPost's “Voices of Baby Boomers” section, Rosalie Hudnut Wright writes about the “disconnect” in our Presidential primary campaign between women's well-being and social and economic sustainability. Recent rhetoric on birth control provides a cynical example of our impoverished politics, and reinforces power imbalances affecting the sexual and reproductive lives of women—which can lead to deepened inequality and even violence.
The other day I became aware of dangerous disconnects that seem to characterize the state of our contemporary politics these days, a reminder of how untrustworthy are those claiming to serve the public interest at a time when economic and environmental problems dwarf all others. I was watching Foster Friess, a major financial supporter of Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, say during an interview on MSNBC that in the good old days, a gal’s best and only necessary form of contraception was an aspirin held tightly between her legs.
The interviewer, Andrea Mitchell, experienced such a profound disconnect that she had to change the subject. Mr. Friess’s disconnect from women’s reality was painfully obvious—as was the conversation from what really matters these days.
The next day on CBS Morning News a furious Santorum slammed co-host Charlie Rose and the media for asking him for his thoughts on the matter.Santorum said that Freiss’s remarks were a “bad off-color joke” and that he, Rose, was practicing “gotcha” journalism for bringing it up because it had nothing to do with him or his campaign—another smiling disconnect. I thought, That’s like saying I take this man’s money, but I have no responsibility for his speech or actions. I want to be President, but I will take no responsibility for the blunders of my administration.
Friess later apologized for the “joke,” stating that “many didn't recognize it as a joke but thought it was my prescription for today's birth control practices."
Sitting in my tiny living room above Main Street, I, too, intended to disconnect, remaining calm and detached from these comments, but instead I felt numb and then nauseous.
I wanted to believe that my consideration of whom to support for President in 2012 was above so-called “social" or "wedge issue” politics. But I failed. I thought, Maybe the fundamentalists are right after all. It’s ALL about social issue politics.
Before coming to my senses, the last thought that passed through my mind was a violent one involving a gun.
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