I’ve never been a very patriotic person. Sure, I love being back in America, but I am not naive enough to say “It’s the greatest country in the world!” It gives me hives to see families wearing matching American Flag outfits, probably purchased at Old Navy, knowing they were made in Cambodia under sweatshop conditions. We certainly have a knack for celebrating freedom yet not actually believing in it. Woman in America are watching their rights be stripped away. Gays can’t legally get married. (There are 18 countries in which it IS legal, including So. Africa and Uruguay. But not America.) Let freedom ring! Throw on that flag shirt and light up the grill!
And that’s the America that I know and love. It’s the country that boasts the loudest and the proudest. With not much in recent memory to boast about. Let’s see… in 2014 we were number one in divorce rates, 23% of us can’t read, we are number one in defense spending, we make about the same amount of money as folks in Ireland, and we die just like everybody else does. And don’t get me started on maternity leave. We are not special, and we certainly are not the greatest country in the world. We just shout louder. We belittle those who disagree with us. We shun and disgrace the poor. We are pompous and arrogant. We don’t care about gays. Or women.
It’s hard for me to want to celebrate The Fourth of July when just last week the Supreme Court declared (in a 5-4 ruling) that for-profit companies can use religious objections to avoid paying for contraception coverage required under Obamacare. Hobby Lobby is a corporation. Corporations get certain benefits that people, actual human beings don’t: protection from criminal charges, tax breaks, etc. If Hobby Lobby would like to be a PERSON with religious beliefs, then Hobby Lobby should not get the protection of a corporation. It’s a case of you can’t have it both ways.
First off, The Hobby Lobby claims to be a christian company with conservative beliefs when at the same time they sell products made in China. This is straight up hypocrisy. The companies that HL deals with in China that have a reputation for labor rights violations and rock-bottom wages. Employees often end up working ridiculous hours in conditions you would never even dream of working under. They will never earn enough money to escape the cycle. Not to mention China’s dark ages, one child policy. This policy leads to the arrest of women and forced abortions. Not very Christian. Yet HL turns a blind eye to this.
HL also invests in companies that make the morning after pill. This from a company who claims to operate in a manner “consistent with Biblical principles”. Whatever that means. Hell, Hobby Lobby cited their religion as defense to explain why they don’t sell Hanukkah decorations. But I digress. Hobby Lobby’s founders have made it clear that any abortion and certain contraceptives are unacceptable in their eyes. Yet HL invests in numerous companies that manufacture birth control (like Mirena and ParaGard). Can all companies claim religious beliefs as reason to deny coverage of other health care needs like blood transfusions, vaccines, or organ transplants? No. According to the decision, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, it’s really just about preventing women from accessing certain health care coverage.
‘Merica! ‘Merica! ‘Merica!
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a descent and it is well worth the read. She says it better than I ever could. This ruling will impact millions of American women who don’t share their employers beliefs. This ruling tells me that some beliefs are more important than others and that men are still deciding what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. Some women take birth control to help them with blood pressure or acne. Some women need that medication. And you know what? It isn’t anyones business why they need it. Nobody is going through Sam Alito’s medicine cabinet deciding which medications HE should or should not be allowed to use. “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,”Ginsberg said. And she’s correct.
So have a happy Fourth of July. Enjoy your grilled hot dogs and potato chips. Enjoy the freedom’s that this country decided you could have, but remember all of us who don’t get the same consideration. We still live here too.