Friday, 23 January 2009

I can't stop...


I thought it was just going to be Tuesday, when we got to say goodbye to the worst president in the history of the United States and hello to an intelligent, gifted, *thoughtful* man. I alternated between grinning and welling up all day.

Then, he immediately halted all proceedings against prisoners in Guantanamo. Then *he ordered Guantanamo closed*. Then he ordered *the closing of all CIA ghost prisons and the end of the torture of prisoners*. And it went on.

On Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v Wade, he reaffirmed his commitment to a woman's right to choose:

Statement of President Obama on the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women's health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman's right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.

That's right. People who think abortion should be SAFE AND LEGAL don't necessarily think it's the most wonderful thing since sliced bread, capisce (capisci, if I know you)? We recognise it as a necessity, not as something we desire. You are never, ever going to stop abortion by making it illegal. It has been around for millenia in various forms. The way to stop it is by reducing unwanted pregnancies by going after the factors that cause them. Go after the causes, and abortion becomes unnecessary = no more abortions. Makes far more sense than sending women to back streets and coat hangers.

And then, and then...he repealed the global gag rule. *Weep*

And his choice for Secretary of State walked into her office and spoke about women and girls like they were real people, not receptacles for male seed or male playthings. And then she said:

But be of good cheer and be of strong heart, and do not grow weary, as we attempt to do good on behalf of our country and the world.

Finally, someone at the State Department who understands what the true purpose of America's wealth, talent and position is: to do as much good with it as possible around the world and to help those who need us.

And they both spoke of debate and disagreement as part of the normal order of things.

As Rachel said on my facebook status, it's like waking up in a parallel world where the last eight years were just a horrible nightmare.

I won't agree with him on everything, and he'll piss me off, I'm sure. But at least it will be an intelligent, thoughtful man pissing me off, and I'll know there will have been a reason for what he did, even if it's one with which I really disagree. And I think I can trust him to tell us what it was, not just ask us to take it on faith. We'll see.

But I live in hope. And as the 44th president of the United States once said, "There is nothing false about hope." Amen.

I can renew my passport now - with a sense of pride, not shame.

Deo gratias.

1 comment:

Ariel said...

People have said that there's no way he can deliver what he promised in his campaign, and they may very well be right. But he's already done more good for our country in his not-quite-six days in office than has been done here in eight years, and to me (and a lot of other people), that's a damn good sign that he's going to try.

It feels so different to live in a country one is proud of.