Listening to the Vagina Voices --They're Only Going to Get Louder
LANSING -- If it’s political drama, it’s got a cast of thousands.
But you wouldn’t necessarily know that by some of the media reports and rhetoric from Monday night’s rally and “Vagina Monologues” performance at the Michigan Capitol.
In my trolling of the media coverage, I’m amazed at the number of photos, which showed only a smattering of early gathers, and not the masses that were there, dare I say, during the climax of the show.
Because at that point, people packed the Capitol lawn from either side of the storied building and extended to the street.
They were young, old, middle aged, of all races and yes, genders. They held creative, sarcastic and urgent signs. They cheered, cried and called, presumably filling Gov. Rick Snyder’s office voice mail with messages of opposition to the regressive, dangerous and irresponsible abortion-related bills the House passed last week. (When I tried to call his office at 517-373-3400 a couple hours after last night’s event, the mailbox was full…)
The so-called Right-to-Lifers, their Republican lap dogs and the few silly Democrats who kowtow to them, will tell you this is “political drama” and that the censure of Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) was not about her utterance of the word “vagina.”
But the truth is the rally and the ongoing, energized, sustained backlash is truly more about the bills and how the House passed them than perhaps juvenile thrill of the Monday night’s crowd chanting “cunt” en masse at the Capitol.
(That was part of the artistic palette of the actual Vagina Monologues in a scene that attempts to re-define “cunt” from a nasty word into one with much nicer meaning. The Monologue skits, by the way, deal with many other topics related to the significance, threat, power, powerlessness and mystery of vaginas. The skits are sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, sometimes reflective, and always insightful mini essays about topics including childbirth, orgasm, rape, self-discovery and politics.)
Among the thousands on the lawn last night was Dr. Tim Johnson, the chair of ob/gyn at the University of Michigan. I saw him at the beginning of the rally and thanked him for his support and comments at the Health Policy Committee June 7. He thanked me for coming to Lansing and then shook his head. He apologized that he, as a man, was chosen to speak at that committee when so many women had requested to.
Don’t worry, Dr. Johnson. They’re hearing us now. And while they might be discounting the voices as hysteria and drama, well, many of us know far better.
For all you critics who think Monday night’s rally was some evidence of the “hysterical woman” dynamic, you’re selling us – and our male compatriots -- short.
What the rally was about was being heard. My presence represented at least two dozen Detroit-area friends who said they would have been there if they could have gotten the time off work or broken other commitments. And that’s just from the ones I directly messaged. I’d put the number at a couple hundred, really, when you count the out-of-staters who have expressed support in this fight.
What the rally was about was letting those who would restrict our health care and make decisions for us know that that’s not acceptable, that we will voice our opinion about that, and that we will contribute, campaign and vote.
What the rally was about was letting the politicians know that they should get back to the state’s real political business, and that should not include restricting women’s health care.
If 5,000 people can assemble on 48 hours notice for last night’s rally and performance, I shudder to think of the script we’ll write if the Senate passes these bills and Snyder signs them.
Now that will be some drama.