I repeatedly find myself following the political pundits and updates from the campaign trail. This is especially true with the crucial 2012 Presidential election upcoming. There were two speeches made by Rick Santorum which elicited frustrated responses from me. One thing that amazes me as I listen to the candidates out on the campaign trail is some of the inflammatory remarks that are made which are both untrue and offensive. These comments further stereotypes and alienate historically marginalized groups from the mainstream. The most consistent repeated culprit is Rick Santorum. I want to use this blog post to examine the some of the comments that he has made, question their validity, and put them in the broader context of realities about gender and race in the United States. Furthermore, I will prove how these archaic and bigoted remarks will lead to further inequality in our country which is still recovering from both the civil rights and women’s rights movements.
The first video above provides Rick Santorum’s remarks following a Pentagon decision to allow military women to serve in important roles closer to front line combat. While many would believe that this is an important step towards equality in our country, Santorum immediately communicated “concerns” about this change citing “other types of emotions that are involved.”
Santorum said: “I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country.” He followed that statement up with: “I do have concerns about women in front line combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation where – where people naturally, you know, may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved.”
Santorum continued his shaky defense by saying: “probably, you know, it already happens, of course, due to the camaraderie of men in combat.” He concluded by saying that women serving on the front lines is not in the best interest of any party involved.
Santorum must have ignored the fact that women were already serving in the roles granted to them by the new Pentagon guidelines in temporary positions prior. He certainly didn’t cite any evidence that the “camaraderie” was disrupted or that “emotions” prevented unit cohesion. His claims are not grounded in fact but rather scripture.
To this day, in 2012, women cannot serve on the front lines. The new guidelines further restrictions on women in infantry roles, for example. This begs the question: If women want to serve on the front lines; why can’t they? I know plenty of strong women.
The problem is leadership in this country that clings to archaic and outdated approaches to life which aren’t in line with the current views of the US citizenry. Santorum tries to portray individuals fighting for equality as “elitist academics” instead of looking in the mirror and seeing who truly is trying to enforce their life views on others.
Santorum followed up in another interview that: “It’s not a matter of putting women in dangerous roles.” He mentioned in an interview that women were certainly able to “fly small planes.” It seems like Santorum; however, would like to keep the heavy weapon clad aircraft for the men. It is not surprising that a Santorum continues to employ a staffer that once claimed that: “having a female president is against God’s plan.” The gender roles of men and women are socially constructed and can be reversed.
I was a naïve freshman taking a multi-cultural literature class that was a bit over my head at the time. This wasn’t high school anymore. The books weren’t on SparkNotes. We read a book a week and one in particular sparked my interest – Sons and Other Flammable Objects written by Porochista Khakpour. I was absolutely mesmerized by it. Framed around the time of 9/11, the novel is about a cataclysmic fallout between an Iranian father and his Iranian-American son. Porochista herself is an Iranian immigrant who grew up in Los Angeles, and she often writes Op-Eds in the New York Times and short stories that deal with the identity crisis that is often associated with having a hyphenated name. What drew me into this piece wasn’t so much the plot, but more her masterful use of language.
I was pleasantly surprised when my English professor told us to prepare questions we had about the novel because Porochista was going to come to our class and answer them. My surprise heightened to mild obsession after I got to hear a reading by this author and interact with her in the classroom. She was young, edgy, and a mix of dark and hilarious. When I learned that Porochista herself was a visiting professor of creative writing on Bucknell’s campus, I had to get into her class. I did. And after about an hour in her workshop, I decided to minor in creative writing – something I now consider one of my deepest passions.
So there’s my saga. Now you might be wondering – how is Beth going to tie this into what Jordi wants us to talk about? Well here goes nothing. Continue reading
The issue of politics affecting a citizen’s private sex life is something that I find very intriguing. Whether it’s silly, outdated laws banning certain sexual acts – according to FOX News’ “Sexpert”, only missionary positions for residents of Washington D.C.! – or laws stating who you can and cannot marry, there is no denying that the issue of our government interfering with our sex lives has only grown more complex.
As Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional today (see a neutral news article from the NY Times here), I could not help but find an article I found from a blog about Sexuality and Society especially relevant. Continue reading