Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Progressive Bloggers and the Abortion Battle
I must admit that when I first saw the battle over abortion raging at Progressive Bloggers, my first instinct was to duck and cover. Because I've seen it all before, and it always ends badly.
It's the kind of fight where the one who tries to break it up ends up in hospital. And everyone loses, except the real enemy.
But now that I've found my courage at the bottom of a bottle. Even though I don't usually drink. And now that I've written my will, I figure I have to say something before it gets even worse.
So here goes.
First of all I get it. I really do. I can understand why so many feminists in the PB blogosphere were pissed off at this post and this one. Because both inhabit the space between the naive and the incredibly ignorant.
Stephen Woodworth's motion is not a reasoned examination of anything. It's a sneaky assault on women's rights.
Woodworth pretends that abortion is somehow peripheral to his motion, but prenatal legal protections are the core foundation and trigger for anti-abortion laws. His motion serves no purpose unless he plans to use it as a vehicle to help re-criminalize abortion.
Woodworth's claim that late term abortions are a problem in Canada is a complete invention.
The system works just fine. The only thing that needs improvement is access to those services. And abortion should remain something between a woman and her doctor. Because this is the 21st Century and women aren't about to go back to the days of guilt and coat hangers.
But of course Woodworth can't accept that. Because he's a religious fanatic, he bases his beliefs on the sayings of ancient hairy desert dwelling patriarchs, who believed that they were the creators of life. And women were only the soil their seed grew in .
Which is so ignorant it hurts eh? Just like it would hurt if men could give birth. For you can be sure they would be screaming from St John's to Victoria. And loudly demanding THEIR reproductive rights.
But having said all that, I also have to say that I have been shocked and saddened by what has happened at Progressive Bloggers. I hate to see my blogging family tearing its guts out, over the opinions of two bloggers. It just doesn't make sense.
It reminds me of what the Roman philosopher Seneca once said.: Anger is like those ruins that smash themselves on what they fall.
The posts may have been ignorant, and even offensive considering the circumstances. But I honestly don't believe they were misogynistic by intent. And they should have been dealt with by the force of argument, and used as a good excuse to educate others.
I also believe that the administrators at Progressive Bloggers should not have been pressured to expel the two bloggers. Because unless the post is clearly and deliberately offensive, misogynistic, racist, homophobic etc. where do you draw the line?
I have had my clashes with PB bloggers who think the word "faggot" is fine, or patronize LGBT people, or don't support their struggles, or think that bullying isn't a progressive issue. Even though it's killing kids and scarring lives. I've been enraged by feminists who supported the destruction of the gun registry. Or by older bloggers who put young people down, or by those who compared young occupiers to "rabid animals." I let them know what I thought of them, but I never called for them to be expelled.
So I didn't think it was right to insult the PB administrators for refusing to act as bouncers. Or giving the offending bloggers the benefit of the doubt.
Especially since instead of insulting the administrators and moderators, we should be thanking them for creating and maintaining such a great aggregator. As far as I'm concerned anyone who is forced to read my posts night after night deserves a medal, not a smack in the face.
And finally, I don't believe Dammit Janet should have quit Progressive Bloggers. And Dave at the Galloping Beaver shouldn't either. You stand your ground, you fight on, you educate, you give as good as you take. This is the internet, not a religious order.
But what is done is done, you can't change the past but you can change the future. So I suggest it's time to move on, and here's what I propose:
(1) We all cool down a bit. As I know too well, anger is natural and may be liberating, but in the long term it's self defeating. We all need to understand that a blogging family is like any other family. We don't all think alike, you can't shove a thermometer up someone's ass to measure their progressivity. And the best way to counter ignorance is by hurling ideas at each other, not insults.
(2) We do all we can to reconcile Dammit Janet and the PB administrators, and convince Dave and the Galloping Beaver not to leave. Because not having them on the blogroll is I believe a loss for all of us. I personally admire all of the above. And I practically worship Dave.
So if they need a peacemaker, or a matchmaker, I'm available eh?
(3) We tell Stephen Woodworth that he should feel free to give birth to as many children as he wants...
But he should not force his religious views on the rest of us. And above all he should keep his wretched motion away from the bodies of Canadian women.
In short, to put it crudely, he should shove it in a shoe, or where the sun don't shine.
And lastly, but most importantly, instead of fighting each other we should UNITE to drive the Harper Cons from power. Because if that foul regime wasn't running things, we'd never be having this angry argument.
And until they are defeated NOBODY is safe.
C'mon everyone. I know we can do it eh?
Anger may be like those ruins which smash themselves on what they fall.
But we have a government to topple.
And we are not the ENEMY..