By Anonymous (not verified) on November 20, 2012

Last February Republicans may have tried to silence Sandra Fluke when they refused to allow her to testify before a House committee on the importance of contraceptives being covered by health insurance plans, followed by Rush Limbaugh attempting to “slut shame” her, but Fluke was speaking out at the Los Angeles Green Festival on Nov. 18.

“We just saw women pick the president of the United States. There was a 12-point difference in women’s preference … between Pres. Obama and that guy who ran who we don’t have to worry about any more,” quipped the 31-year-old attorney to the delight of the L.A. Convention Center crowd. She also noted “the record number of women elected to the House, over 80, and 20 women to the Senate.”

She called it “a record-setting gender gap,” and she explained: “This happened for a reason, right? … Because someone decided, ‘Oh, if you talk about the issues that matter to women, they’ll vote for you.’ It’s a radical concept, right? Very novel. So this year, in the presidential, congressional and state campaigns we really saw issues pointed to women highlighted in a way we haven’t before, whether it was women’s health care, reproductive health care … or violence against women … or our right to enforce our ability to get equal pay for equal work.”

She pointed out that “60 percent of women said that the affordability of contraception and reproductive health issues were one of their key reasons for voting the way they did this year. I really hope this sends a strong, strong message to those considering running for office and to our elected officials that we have the power to put them in office and we have the power to take them back out.”

Fluke spoke on a GreenFest panel with West Wing actress Melissa Fitzgerald entitled “Women and Girls Leading US Forward!”

After her talk, The Progressive Magazine asked Fluke whether she could respond specifically to the hideous comments a number of Republican candidates made about rape and how she believed that affected the election.

“Absolutely,” she said. She began by pointing out that those comments were “hard for a lot of survivors of sexual assault and their families to hear. So we have to acknowledge that.” Then she proceeded to the political consequences.


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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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