Wife, Midwife, Witch

I am not here to moralize about sex. The idea that there must be two sides to any issue  is a dogma we enforce socially, except where and when there are not two sides, but one. There are still too many of us in America who are puritanical enough to moralize about sex; we almost cannot help ourselves, and almost in direct ratio to how much our popular culture also cannot handle sex or sexuality in a healthy way. Have we watched television lately?

For all moralizers there are never two sides to an issue, but one. There are far, far too many Americans who are closer to Salem and the Witch Trials than to a full understanding of human rights and equality for all when issues like abortion or gay marriage come up. Two sides to any issue does not mean that one or the other have to be true, or right, or accepted, or of equal weight, or equal quality–and we are talking about quality when we enter into any discourse. Let us focus on Truth and not whether there is arithmetic correctness in there being two sides presented. A rock and a hard place are two sides. Opinions do have quality, reason and argument have quality, ideas have quality; we cannot reduce morality, ethics, epistemology, other branches of ontology and metaphysics to arithmetic, the quantifications of counting, adding and subtracting our way along the lines of our civilization. Never mind what the popular culture says, it talks out of both sides of its mouth, thus the two sides of any diametrics simultaneously. How we think we are liberating ourselves by how pop culture responds to sex and sexuality is beyond me. We are no more liberating ourselves than Weimar liberated Germany; Weimar excesses were responses to a collective unconscious fear of sex and sexuality. German license in the 20s was the flipside of the Nazis who followed and were just as repressed if not more so. Every coin has two sides while remaining one coin.

Theocratic Christian fundamentalists are the flip side of our popular culture’s inability to handle the power of human sexuality.  Each side feeds the other; a policy ping-pong about the only game American politics can play. The same was true for Weimar in the 20s into the early 30s of the last century. As for me, once more I must announce that sex is normal, but who doesn’t really know this? Yes, sex is healthy. It is natural for sixteen year olds, for instance, to want to have it and to do it. Just say no to sex does not make it, no pun intended–no, the pun was intended. Nevertheless, there are other ways to manage the sexuality than complete repression, but in our culture, we still fear it so much we are far from liberated about it in our minds, let alone our actions. Bodies do feel more deeply than minds, but we have no clear idea what we are feeling without the words we put around or beside our feelings. Salem is almost now; it recurs again and again in variegated forms.

Where we fear something, anything, we recoil, but then unconscious drives and motivations do rise like Abel’s blood to God. We make of sex a dark force when it should be a force of light. We fear it and in that fear reject it as soon as we embrace it. We throw it off, we do not hold on for the ride. We must denigrate sex as something other than love rather than take the responsibility of sex being love because when anyone anywhere wants to fuck another human being, that is in itself love and must be handled as such. Instead, we take the word fuck and make it vulgar, respond as if it were vulgar, to fuck or not to fuck should be everyone’s question, but it seems to be more what is done on Wall Street than in our beds.

We take the word for sexual intercourse and use it as a word to do harm to someone, financially, emotionally, professionally, et cetera. We confuse sex and harm, and sex as something other than love and wonder how men can still use the penis as a club as a weapon in the act of rape. To fuck becomes, when rape is the concern, to do violence to another; and that there tells us everything about us we need to know. But knowing in itself has come under attack, and the possibility of knowledge is in doubt. So, the highest wisdom any of us can achieve is now to doubt what we know, doubt that we have learned, everyone faces a tabula rasa every day they greet the world anew, and we think this blank slate is something we should want rather than have tablets carved atop Sinai. It’s as if we are the Israelites waiting for Moses and down the sides of Sinai he comes with smooth uncarved tablets and says By the hand of God to your hand, carve upon these your commandments, but tomorrow you will have to do it again as you will all the days of your lives and your children’s lives and so on and so on and so on.

I am not here to consider the psychopathic, whereby a woman’s, or a girl’s, life or limb is in jeopardy from those who say they love her when she becomes pregnant without marriage. Supporting a woman getting married and having a baby she does not want to save her from physical injury is not an argument. Situations where she would be shunned by family or community for getting pregnant out-of-wedlock are not rebuttals for abortion.  We do know of too many instances from our world thesaurus of emotional response and variations on violence, that women suffer for their choices and for their lack of choices. There have been too many girls who had to suffer the compound disaster of going through an abortion without emotional support and the psychic trauma of estrangement from family and friends. These circumstances should not be fodder for either side of what we call a debate.

There have also been those girls pressured to get an abortion when they thought they might want to have a baby. There are still forced abortions in China, but that’s almost invariably when the fetus is female. There are 37 million more men in China than women. Boys are worth more than girls in China, unless it’s into prostitution the girl can be sold. China remains one of the world’s largest marketplaces for women as sexual slaves. Five hundred women kill themselves every day in China. Misogyny could seem to be Chinese, but politically incorrect assertions aside . . . we should look at China the next time we want to stereotype Islam as being misogynist. In fact, muslims everywhere can attest to how Islam has always represented an improvement in the treatment of women, which in turn tells us how horribly hateful toward women social history has been. The Koran is a giant moral leap forward.

A woman’s decision to have a baby in face of a family who wants her not to have the baby must be entertained in any argument that supports pro-choice. It is the flip side of the singularly minted coin of pro-choice. A woman has the right to have a baby even if she has no spouse or the father is absent. Family or peer pressure not to have a baby when a woman wants to have a baby are equal to any anti-abortion supporter wanting to block a woman’s access to a safe medical procedure should she need one in the event she wants to have an abortion. In other times, a woman’s human need to control her body was labeled, as were other normal and natural impulses on the part of women, witchcraft.

Witch in fact is another term corrupted.  Midwives were always somehow suspect, and any miscarriage could become the work of the devil, the midwife one of Satan’s helpers. Either carrying to term or having an abortion; these are the beginning and end of Pro-choice.  However, I make no assumptions for how progressive we are. As far as I can see, opposing abortion in itself is a giant step backwards. I am for supporting universal Human Rights irrespective of gender, of sexual orientation, of religion, of race, of ethnicity, of class, of caste, of whatever we have in the ways of dividing and adding, subtracting and multiplying our human existence or existences.



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