I was in a cafe in Seattle a few weeks ago, chatting with Jim Woodring, the creator of the pantomime-cartoon Frank, about how Mitt Romney’s infamous comment that “corporations are people” was really an understatement, because lately, corporations seem to enjoy all the benefits of individual personhood, while retaining none of the social responsibilities. “‘People,'” I observed, “would be a downgrade to their social status, as far as treatment under the law goes!”
Woodring chuckled ruefully, and replied, “Yeah, they’re more like… GODS!”
Needless to say, it came as little surprise to me when the majority of the current Supreme Court once again demonstrated their commitment to PROFITS OVER PEOPLE by ruling that “closely-held,” for-profit corporations and private companies cannot be required by Federal laws to pay for their female employees’ birth control and contraceptives, if the owners of the corporations or companies in question can cite objections based on “deeply-held religious beliefs.”
Prominently-featured in oral arguments before the Court was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which some of you may recognize as the same law often cited in defense of bigoted business owners refusing service to gays and lesbians.
Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, which slitheringly attempted to argue the narrowness of the ruling by pointing out that it only applied to a few forms of birth control which it specifically addressed… even though he surely already knew the Court would shortly afterwards order lower courts to rehear similar cases pertaining to other forms, and even though the impracticality of establishing precedents on vaguely-defined, inherently-irrational concepts like “deeply-held religious belief,” not to mention those precedents’ potential for abuse, should have been obvious to him.
I guess it just goes to show that Alito will throw his support behind even the most ill-conceived interpretation of the law, as long as it promises to oppress women! I can almost picture him writing the opinion with a pen taped to his crotch, while downing a cheap-ass bottle of malt liquor and high-fiving his braws Scalia and Roberts. Kennedy awkwardly tries to join in, and Thomas lies sprawled on a pube-covered frat-house couch nearby, his consciousness drowned in the vomit of a beer bong-induced stupor.
Outside, on the steps of the Court, a crowd of abortion protestors reacted jubilantly to the ruling–blissfully unaware that their efforts and their cause, well-intentioned or not, had been hijacked by idolators of the Invisible Hand and the Almighty Dollar, and that their small victory did more to further a campaign against their own best interests than it did for any of the dumb/illogical goals they hoped to achieve.
I noticed a lot of photography covering the event seemed to focus on the large number of women apparently present. While I would like to think this was the photographers’ way of commenting on the irony of so many people working so hard to restrict their own rights, I assume it was instead the result of a cynical ploy by organizers to “prove” that women actually want to be completely submissive to men, just like that Ann Coulter dude says!
See, this particular case was never really about “saving babies,” at least not to anyone capable of distinguishing an infant from a sperm and an egg: it was about depriving women of free agency, by reinforcing the notion that one who makes her own decisions, without the expressed involvement and consent of a man (or her
pimp boss), is doing something shameful. Then, even if she refuses to be personally affected by this shame, it can still be firmly leveraged against her (not to mention others who might follow her example) by convincing her community to shun her, stone her, or burn her at the stake.
It also represents similar conflicts in other social institutions, where the powerful continue to assert dominance by tradition, or simply by virtue of itself–the C.E.O. who lives according to the Just World Hypothesis, merely the latest form of a monarch claiming the Divine Right of Kings. In a society where greater individual rights and liberties are granted to corporate (or religious) entities than to actual people–even the people who perform the tasks on which those entities depend for their very existence–we are ALL women, being taken advantage of by a few, elite men whose absolute power allows them to rape with impunity, then blame their victims for being so “easy.”