Thursday, December 8, 2011

Morning After in America

When I read the news yesterday that the Obama Administration had nixed the FDA ruling that approved over-the-counter purchase of the so-called "morning after" birth control pill for girls under the age of 17, that old Maureen McGovern song started a senselessly annoying run inside my head. You might remember it as the Oscar-winning theme from that cheesy 1972 disaster epic, "The Poseidon Adventure"....
"There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night", etc.
What I did not realize until I hit Wikipedia was that the original title/lyrics were "Why Must There be a Morning After?" This downer of a title was deemed at the time to be too realistic, cynical and depressing by the producers.  Instead of concentrating on the cast of thousands which sank to a watery grave in the movie, they thought it would be better to reflect on the lucky few who were rescued in the end -- maybe one percent of the passengers. This worldview eventually become the Reaganesque "Morning in America" canard: celebrate the good fortunes of the few and  their riches will eventually trickle down upon the rest of us.  

Whether the White House's reason for restricting Plan B for younger girls is also a canard, I don't know.* I am not a medical professional. Then again, neither is HHS Secretary Sebelius, nor is her boss. The scuttling of the FDA rule certainly does seem to be a political one, designed to soothe away the worries of the fence-sitting voters of the religion-clinging class. Its reasoning is also sickeningly close to all those "health and safety concerns" given as reasons for shutting down Occupy camps. It is also in keeping with Obama's totally gratuitous and multiple invocations of Jesus during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week. 

Intoned the president this morning:  "As the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine."

As the mother of one daughter who knows the lingo: "Whatev."  I am sick of talking about him and his paternalistic patter, his calls for shared sacrifice and austerity. Let's get back to that other Morning After theme I started in on before going off my tangent.

The oligarchy and the Style section of the New York Times may not realize it yet, but fully one third of Americans are now at or near poverty.  A lot of us have drastically simplified our lives more out of necessity than choice -- and have found the painful experience to be a gateway to rebellion and resistance. For some people anyway, hard times that don't include an illness or homelessness can be invigorating, a spiritual reawakening, a reassessment of what really matters. We have moved on to our own "Plan B's", our own Mornings After. The Occupy movement encompasses this new philosophy born of necessity. The many heartfelt, thoughtful and inspiring comments from the readers of this blog reflect this philosophy.

The anti-materialism movement is also reflected in a piece by Naomi Wolf posted on Al Jazeera. Wolf, too, sees the glass half-full in the surprising upside to a lousy economy:
After two wars and a half-dozen undeclared conflicts in the past decade, the US has entered a period of unprecedented cultural hibernation.
Gardening, scrapbooking, knitting and cooking have all become newly shabbily chic. In the urban neighbourhoods to which the young and hip are moving, city garden plots and heirloom tomatoes grown in window boxes have replaced Lexuses and Priuses.
Other young hipsters have moved farther out into the country in search of an idyllic new narrative fantasy. The young couple - he with a beard and she in a sundress and rubber boots - are homesteading in the Hudson River Valley with a flock of chickens, or in New Mexico in an ecofriendly straw-bale house. They have replaced the young couple of five years ago - he with the hedge fund, she with interior decorators - in a McMansion in Westchester County.
The Occupy movement is also the outright rejection of despair and a repudiation of politics as usual. As Chris Hedges writes in "Death of the Liberal Class",

As those who retained their identity during slavery, or the long night of twentieth century fascism or communism discovered, resistance will be reduced to small, almost imperceptible acts of defiance. Music, theatre, art, poetry journalism, literature, dance and the humanities, including the study of philosophy and history, will be the bulwarks that separate those who remain human from those who become savages.
Hedges was wrong about only one thing. Resistance is huge, and the defiance is global. Welcome to Morning After in America. It's the sweetest hangover.

*Update: Definitely a canard. At the time I wrote this post, I had not read that Obama claimed girls would be able to walk into a store and grab this medication off a shelf between the batteries and the bubblegum.  I read some of the Times comments and became newly enraged at this pandering politician.


Valerie said...

You know, I was naive enough to think Kathleen Sebilius was acting on her own! The fact that Obama is behind this is one more reason NOT to vote for him. Sure sounds an awful lot like a decision Bush would make. Tell me again why yellow dogs think Obama is that much better than a Republican. Obama isn't even Bush-Lite. He is just Bush II.

I encourage people to read the first handful of comments in response to the NYT article. Some are quite moving. One woman talks about getting pregnant at 14, going to the drugstore and buying bottles of drugs that had labels saying they were bad for pregnant women - and then taking the bunch. She was lucky; she aborted the fetus without damaging her own health permanently. My childhood friend tried this trick and ended up with a brain damaged baby. Not all young girls have loving parents to guide them through an unplanned pregnancy. And twelve and fourteen year old girls can be counted on to make bad decisions that have lasting consequences if they feel desperate enough.

Denis Neville said...

Morning after O’s Great Populist Moment

“I believe Obama will only say what he thinks he has to say to remind the public that he's not as crazy as the Republicans - and not one bit more, because he doesn't believe in those values any more than the GOP leadership does...Washington is infested with people whose ideology is to shun the very idea of democracy, of government by, for, and of the people. Obama is one of them.” – Charlie Pierce, The Politics Blog

Obama's Romance with the CIA

“Obama’s tepid support of Arab democracy protesters...His passions appear to lie elsewhere. What Obama seems enthusiastic about is the use of hard power - lethal force. And the more precise and deadly, the better.”

“As long as it’s done covertly. And that’s the key.”

Is this the president we elected?

The Manchurian Candidate has no clothes.

Who knew that his biggest legacy would be the ability to “rain targeted death from the sky?”

As Avedon Carol wrote, “Obama is an adept deceiver who can make some people feel all warm and fuzzy while he gives them the shaft, the very essence of a successful con man.”

“Embrace the energy of the Occupy movement, Mr. President, but stay the hell out of the damn drum circle! - the fact remains that the effectiveness of the ‘We Are the 99 Percent’ argument is completely dependent upon its independence from the anesthetic stupor brought on by ameliorative political rhetoric.” – Charlie Pierce

miketcha said...

This was part of the statement released yesterday by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. on Plan B One-Step:
"The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) completed its review of the Plan B One-Step application and laid out its scientific determination. CDER carefully considered whether younger females were able to understand how to use Plan B One-Step. Based on the information submitted to the agency, CDER determined that the product was safe and effective in adolescent females, that adolescent females understood the product was not for routine use, and that the product would not protect them against sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, the data supported a finding that adolescent females could use Plan B One-Step properly without the intervention of a healthcare provider."
Our science based President appears to have lost his way. What a disappointment that our populist president lacks an appreciation for the real world consequences of incest, rape and unintended pregnancies

Ken Sulowe said...

The man who stole my vote has turned out to be a cynical, hypocritical, pandering wall street wannabe who sold us out. No principles and no soul. His only saving grace is, he wasn't McCain or Palin. And even that is wearing thin.

O Canada! Take me now. Please.

Denis Neville said...

Power concedes nothing without a demand.

Obama list of routine betrayals of his base grows.

O’s war on women’s reproductive freedoms continues.

King John of England did not sign the Magna Carta because he wanted to. If it had been up to today's progressives, he never would have.

“On days like today, I think that I need to start a campaign to have this quote - ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’ - by Frederick Douglass stamped on the foreheads of progressive activists in reverse, so they can read it each morning when they look in the mirror. It's certainly not a concept they're familiar with.”

Sadly, even that wouldn't be enough. However, one has to begin somewhere.

And our alternatives?

Richard Dawkins is not a big fan of this year’s crop of Republican presidential contenders.

“These people are know-nothings, and it would be a tragedy if any of them was elected. …It’s almost as though the American electorate is splitting into two species, with the civilized, educated ones on one hand and the total ignorant know-nothings on the other, and it’s terribly sad that a large number of voters seem prepared to vote for somebody because he’s like them rather than because they think he’s actually qualified to lead the country.”

Denis Neville said...

O’s Priorities

Sensitive to attacks by GOP candidates that he is a “food stamp President,” the O administration this week announced an aggressive campaign to crack down on SNAP fraud.

Trips to Hawaii courtesy of O, the "most successful food stamp president in history"


“Going after SNAP beneficiaries who try to convert their meager benefits to an even more meager amount of cash? I imagine some people who do this are using the money for Things We Officially Frown Upon, but some are probably trying to pay their damn bills.”


The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion.

But wait! We don’t need them. Rick Santorum promises to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps because the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.

Anne Lavoie said...

To all those who wondered why Obama would pander to Independents, I think it is clear now that it wasn't Independents he was trying to woo, but Republicans.

He is clearly the best Republican candidate, and I think he is making a good, solid case for why they should vote for him. Even David Brooks is back in the Obama fold after wavering for awhile. I believe that Obama's strategy will pay off and he will be re-elected with the help of Republican voters. There is even a good chance he will eventually make his way to Mount Rushmore after all, especially if he keeps up the Warrior persona. Seriously.

Of course that leaves Democrats without a candidate, but what else is new? It didn't take most of us 3 years to figure that out.

@Valerie - I agree with you 100% with regard to this Plan-B topic and other comments recently by you and Will. Don't get thrown by those who swoop down only once every blue moon to practice their craft. All I can say is that I hope everyone still feels free to express themselves honestly, because many of us came here because we value hearing the unvarnished, unfiltered truth for a change. And that's all I can say!

Kat said...

Oddly enough, I took someone to the pharmacist the other day and while waiting with her, there was a woman picking up plan b 2 step. My thoughts were "what a godsend". I don't have to worry about such things now, but what a gift for those that do. This is something that Obama just can never understand. Period. And to use his daughters to justify his actions is tasteless.

Will said...


Thanks for the kind words and support. It means a lot to me.

Anyhoo, let's get back to my raison d'etre: Barry-bashing! ;)

Here's Obomber showing everyone who's the Warrior Boss yesterday. (Helpful hint: Read the comments if you really need to throw up today and there's no ipecac in the house.)