Continuing on in the vein of identity politics, last night I went to a meet-and-greet for Rebekah Bydlak. She’s running for Congress to represent her section of Florida. I like Rebekah personally. She’s a nice person, and seems committed to reducing spending.
However, she’s pro-life. And I don’t mean “personally against abortion but realizes the state has no right to deprive women of bodily autonomy.” She supports personhood amendments. As in, a fetus is a person but a woman isn’t.
This is why I don’t vote. It’s not because I don’t take democracy seriously. It’s because I take it too seriously. If I vote for Bydlak what will that mean for reproductive freedom? Women are currently being prosecuted in America for self-inducing abortions because they can’t get access to a safe, legal abortion. In poor, rural Texas it takes multiple 12-hour bus rides to get a legal abortion. And I’m supposed to support forcing poor, pregnant, often non-English-speaking women onto the black market in exchange for lower taxes? I can’t have that on my conscience.
So back to identity politics. On the one hand, I’m not likely to be in a situation where I need an abortion. I’m 30, so I’m past the fertility peak. And I use a method of birth control with 99.5% effectiveness and which I literally can’t fuck up (implant FTW!). I use this method because I, personally, am very against abortion. Like, I probably couldn’t go through with one. I don’t judge women who can, at all. I just, again, don’t want that on my conscience.
So is my support for abortion access “identity politics?”
Again, I’m an anarchist, so I don’t vote. But part of my anarchism is advocating for policies which limit the size and scope of government. Maybe this isn’t the right way to go about things. But I’m not going to have pregnant women’s blood or higher taxes on my conscience.
So which politician should I tell you to vote for, if you’re going to insist on voting? (Not that anyone votes based on my advice, but humor me.)
Well, if I want to benefit myself directly, I’ll say vote for Rebekah. Justin Amash spoke at the meet-and-greet. He says she’s committed to cutting spending. I believe them on this point. Because while I probably won’t need an abortion, I’ll definitely pay taxes.
But I can’t get these poor women out of my head. Poor, pregnant, scared. It’s never been me and probably won’t be. But to force these women to see witch doctors or continue with a pregnancy which might be dangerous (personhood leaves no exceptions for the health of the mother) when we have the technology to end their pregnancies safely and humanely? That, to me, feels like much more of an infringement of freedom, a much more grisly and horrific violation of rights, than taking a slightly higher portion of my paycheck than they’d otherwise take.
Not that lower taxes aren’t important! Reducing spending is a huge issue. It cuts right to why these women are poor in the first place. Rich people can always find safe abortions. I do believe it’s most important at the end of the day to make sure everyone is economically secure because I believe personal freedom flows from prosperity. In short, rich people are harder to fuck with. I’m not saying lowering spending will immediately lead to greater civil liberties. But post-scarcity is coming, and when it does no one will have to live in states where they can’t access reproductive healthcare. They might choose to live in those states, (and then cross state lines when they need an abortion). So that’s the argument for focusing on cutting spending at the expense of civil liberties, to hasten post-scarcity.
But that leaves women to bleed out *today*.
So which to choose? I identify as a woman. So even if abortion access doesn’t benefit me specifically it does benefit members of my identity. But Rebekah is a woman. And as a feminist I want to see women equally represented in Congress. And as a feminist, I don’t want Congress to erode my right to decide what happens to women’s bodies. How do I identity politics here?
I guess the point is
A. Politics is how we decide whom to fuck and how hard.
B. The whole “identity politics” thing is stupid.
Because there’s no way identity doesn’t influence your decision on whom to fuck and how hard. Even if you think you’re being self-sacrificial when you decide whom to fuck and how hard, *who you are* informs *what you value*. And even if you could somehow decide whom to fuck and how hard without having that decision impacted in any way by your identity, you still don’t get points.
Because you’re still fucking someone.
Let me make it clear, because somehow a man can disagree with a man and it’s a discussion but when a woman disagrees with a woman it’s an attack, that I like Rebekah. I think she’s a nice person. I have nothing against her. I wish her well. I think there’s a good argument (which I tried to make here, in fact) that she’d be the best choice for Congress of the available options.
And I think personhood is bullshit.