Monday, October 31, 2011

Mississippi Goddam!!!

Miss Nina Simone was one of the most profound musicians of her time. Whether she was singing jazz, blues, gospel or rhythm and blues, she often incorporated social and political themes from the Civil Rights movement into many of her songs. 'Mississippi Goddam' was written in 1963 in  response to two events that symbolized the escalating violence occurring across the country- the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama which left four little girls killed.

Well the country has changed significantly since this song was written, with extreme racial violence being considerably less common. And while Mississippi is included in that progress, the state is currently engaging in politics that could endanger the lives of many of its citizens, albeit way different from the days of race riots and lynchings. These citizens are women and the attack is against their (our) bodies, ostensibly their privacy. This is attack is being carried out by "Yes on 26," a campaign that to amend the state's constitution, defining life at the start of conception.

Mississippi Goddam!!!

This upcoming election, voters will be proposed this question: "Should the term 'person' be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof?"

Seriously. An itty bitty zygote chilling inside of the uterus, a freakin' cell, will be considered an actual person. If this godforsaken anti-abortion bill passes, all abortions will be illegal including those that are the result of rape and jeopardize the health of the mother. Some forms of birth control methods including UDs and “morning-after pills" will also be made illegal and the destruction of embryos created in laboratories will be barred.

Mississippi Goddam!!!

Conveniently, both the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor support "Yes on 26." Democratic hopeful Johnny DuPree offered this thought-provoking explanation:

"The reason I have to say that is because my wife and I were pregnant when we married. We were teenagers. We married. Didn't abort. We married. My daughter who we didn't abort has a 4-year-old son. He is an in vitro baby. So, can you see why? Personhood ... starts at fertilization. If we didn't feel that way, we wouldn't have had our baby. And if we felt that way, I wouldn't have my grandbaby."

Exactly how does your shotgun wedding or test tube grandson justify the criminalization a woman's right to decide when she wants to have a baby??

Its too easy to write Mississippians off as a bunch of country bumpkins and other stereotypes against southerners so I will not. Considering my obvious ideological differences from most of these voters I recognize the disconnect between people like me and people like them. However, with my Southern roots, I hypothesize that the importance family and tradition has in Southern culture influences much of their politics with abortion viewed as an attack on family. I share many of those same values. I believe times were better with family-ran farms, nuclear families and Motown music.

But I would be more sympathetic to that view point if we had better support systems for poor families, particularly children. How many of these "Yes on 26" voters support universal daycare or health care for all? Hell, if it was up to me, all "pro-life" voters would be forced to adopt foster kids. Mississippi has one of the worst public education systems in the country, as well as poverty and teen pregnancy rates. Where are the proposed amendments that would address these issues?

Nobody wants women to have abortions. Moreover, no women want abortions. It's an unfortunate, yet needed option for us to have. Taking away that right, in addition to other family planning methods is radical, immoral and counterproductive. Strong, in-tact families are not created by forcing more unwanted pregnancies. Your state is suffering, Mississippi, so you need to get your shit together. In the mean time, get your hands off my uterus!

Mississippi Goddam!!

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