By Kate Clinton on March 12, 2012

It has been twenty years since that Year of the Woman thing. No one would ever tell who she was. And they announced it in late June, so it wasn’t even a full year.

At only three months into the year, I propose we name this year The Year of the Woman Legislator (YOWL). I nominate four women for the formerly anonymous position of the Woman:

Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, for introducing a bill that would require men to undergo psychological testing before acquiring drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Janet Howell, Virginia State Senator, for a bill requiring a man to undergo a rectal exam and cardio stress testing to qualify for ED drugs.

Kelly Cassidy, Illinois State Representative, for a bill requiring men to view a video of the medical treatment of erections lasting more than four hours.

Yasmin Neal, Georgia State Representative, for a bill that would outlaw vasectomies, because to quote Monty Python, “Every sperm is sacred.”

Each woman has said that the constituent reaction has been mostly positive and evenly divided between women and men.

The YOWL home office is soliciting your ideas for bills. We will forward them on to the appropriate legislator. Send to kateclinton.com. (Please nothing involving blood sport or references to bobbitizing.)

If you liked this article by Kate Clinton, a columnist for The Progressive magazine, check out some of her other pieces by clicking here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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