Buried in a recent post, among Digby’s otherwise perfect literary expression is that right wing catch phrase — “abortion in demand”.
Possibly on the part of Digby this was an oversight, I’m imagining that the teevee automatically flipped to Fox News and there was our poor writer — paralyzed by the STUPID and the words just seeped in. Then suddenly, without us knowing it, the re-framing begins.
That and other words such as entitlement — once meant any benefit guaranteed to a citizen based on certain criteria. Now, its an insult, sneered by politicians, rolling off their tongues with all the shame and hatred buried in our culture that we deny exists. Entitlement, as if old age, disability or poverty were some kind of cheat on the American “system”. The system that the elite have tried to re-frame and re-adjust for the last thirty years.
Then there’s “Pro-Choice” which, coined in the 80’s to defend a woman’s right to choose, but turned on its head by anti-choice zealots into “Pro-Life”. The fact of choice no longer plays into the frame. The intellectually lazy media covering protests against choice, thoughtlessly, maybe happily (who knows, no one ever asked them) allow the protester’s language in. They used it in reference to any reporting on a challenge of a women’s right to choose. Possibly the media feels more comfortable considering a zygote more important than a woman’s choice? After all, is it too much to expect that a woman anchor, who can thank her ability to have that job, at least notice that her defense to be treated human stands with the history of the struggle? Is it too much to expect that woman to take pause, think and rephrase that title?
Which gets us back to our first gripe, “abortion on demand”. What visions does this phrase bring? Does it conjure the image of the woman struggling with an unwanted pregnancy, considering the consequences of such? Or does it conjure up a vision of a bunch of women hippies banging on the front of a clinic door, demanding that they be let in and given abortions after a long hard weekend of frolics at an Occupy site?
Or how about the Femi-Nazi theme; mad women forcing their poor husbands or boyfriends with their Rugars to take them to the embryo extermination camp post haste? Wherein we assume, these wild, hippies and Femi-Nazis will make other demands, like child support payments, equal pay for equal work and freedom from sexual assault? Will they demand entitlements too, like public healthcare, nutrition subsidies for children, daycare assistance, paid maternity leave, access to male dominated work?
Messaging, words, propaganda, rhetoric, lies, innuendos; we know them all. But we need not justify them by using them in our speech, lest we succumb to and accept the largest artillery the right has thrown so far.