Saturday, September 06, 2008

The sexual is political

I am standing up to be counted, and I'm telling the world: "This is my voice. There are many like it. But this one is mine." (Inspired by "This Is My Voice"--Shane Koyczan's performance poem on politics.)

Humanity is a political body. And we seem to politicize everything that touches our lives, because every aspect of our lives that involves social interaction/relations also involves the acquisition and/or application of power via social/societal influence. In understanding this, I understand that politics is innate and thus deeply personal. Each person wants to be Right, and wants others to recognize that Rightness, and thus begins the application of influence in order to attain acknowledgment of that Rightness, which translates directly into power via the "mandate from heaven" archetype. Proof of this is easily observed in any schoolyard.

Sexual relations and all that it touches is deeply political because it is deeply personal. While two or a handful of people may arrive at an agreement regarding matters of sexuality, it is truly impossible for a large social body to achieve a consensus regarding issues of gender and sexuality, because it is impossible to establish a transparent, democratic dialogue. Dialogue itself is the primary battlefield for power relations, a venue for attempting to influence others (to control/modify their perceptions) in order to gain access to their power and thus wield power over them. The current Campaign 2008 here in the States is an illustrative example of this in action.

In general, I avoid discussing politics of the interpersonal and cultural types, for a variety of reasons. But the politics of gender and sexuality, seeing as they directly affect my personal life, often cause the Libertarian in me to rise up during elections, saying "keep your laws off my person." So here I am, looking into the eye of the hurricane-in-a-teacup that Campaign 2008 is, and wishing I could read tea leaves. But augury is not my talent. There is no guarantee that any person elected will have the ability or intention to follow through with the things they've promised. Thus, I rarely vote for a person, but rather, against specific ideologies. Every person in politics thinks his/her ideology is Right and is looking for the majority mandate that will empower them to act upon that ideology "for the greater good."

Ours is an imperfect world. And mine is an imperfect country. Don't get me wrong, I love my country. But mine is an imperfect country. Mine is a country in which worker productivity has increased dramatically in the past two decades and yet the profits of that productivity have been passed on to corporate executives in the form of $100 million compensation packages while their employees earn less in today's dollars than they did two decades ago. Mine is a country in which women comprise the majority of the workforce and heads of households and yet they still earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Mine is a country in which most women exchanging sex for money are criminals, but women marrying a man for economic security (hah!) are not. Mine is a country in which you have the right to starve and be jailed for panhandling if you beg for food or money. Mine is a country in which most of the Christians seem to have forgotten Christ's mandates to love one another and to give aid to the less fortunate. Mine is a country in which we have the right to bear arms and yet few who are terminally ill have the right to die with dignity and ease unless they want to use a gun to blow their brains out. Mine is a country in which corporations have all the rights of individuals, even to the point of buying votes, and none of the responsibilities. Mine is a country in which some would have us guarantee fetus' right to life without thought to guaranteeing the quality of that life.

People come to me. They say, "Kay, you are a smart woman. I respect your clarity of thinking. I'd like to know how you will vote, and why?"

To them, I say:
Anyone who upholds or favors the implementation of laws that interfere with my ability to do what I want with my body, or with my partner behind closed doors, or who would interfere with other's rights to live free and happy lives, will be voted against, no matter how good their rhetoric is, no matter how kind or fiercely protective they seem. The sexual is political, and this unchaste unmarried woman will never spread her legs to a man or woman who promises to deposit a little godliness in her womb in exchange for her power and amenability. Never. Never fucking ever.

(podcast: listen here)

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Anonymous sacredtouch said...

You've got me smiling here. I love it when you flex your intellectual muscles. The libertarian in you speaks directly to the libertarian in me: Keep your laws off my person. I like it. I like it a lot. Like you, I look forward to that day when the sexual is merely the personal.

- SacredTouch

4:29 PM, September 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Right to Life is expressed in the political discourse as a Duty to Live.
But what is a Right to Life without a Right to (Affordable) Medical Care? It makes Pro Life turn into Pro Suffering.
When people have right to life, they should also have the right to decide when enough is enough.
Death with dignity is great act of mercy.
I am very pleased we have it here for all who want and need it, and I hope that the States and other civilized countries get it, too.
You deserve more than the right to bear arms and shoot yourself.

3:41 AM, September 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and of course the Right to Quality of Life that should be associated with the Duty to Live. That sentence must've gotten lost somewhere.

1:37 PM, September 07, 2008  

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