07 March 2006

where are the south dakotans?

the thing that has consistently amazed me about witnessing the asshattery in south dakota from the friendly confines of the liberal east is the extent to which the blogosphere, at least the left-blogosphere, is commenting on the mess without the input of actual south dakotans.

i'm sure the right wing blogs are all lit up with south dakotans similar to the utterly repellent bill napoli expounding on their power-hungry, virgin-rape-fetishist "family values." but very few south dakotans are in evidence, either in links or in comments, on the lefty blogs. in an effort to figure out why, i googled futilely for many a long weary minute, turning up plenty of south dakota democrats but not so many south dakota feminists or south dakota leftists. (um, and all the bloggers i found were men. which is not to say that y'all shouldn't be commenting on this stuff. you should. but come ON -- somebody show me the angry radical south dakota women!)

most quoted approvingly the dreary statement from sen. tim johnson. listen to this "voice of moderation:"

"The South Dakota abortion legislation would deny individual women, even under the most extreme circumstances, their current right to prayerfully determine for themselves whether to have an abortion. This denial would be without regard to whether the pregnancy has been only one day in duration; whether it has been the result of rape or incest; or whether its continuation would cause profound injury to the woman. I believe this law is an extreme and radical approach to a very difficult and personal subject, and I do not support it. This legislation goes beyond what is acceptable to President Bush...[snip] I do not believe that the judgment of politicians should be substituted for the painfully difficult and very personal decisions of women and their families. Just as I oppose criminalizing abortion for victims of rape or incest, I also have opposed procedures commonly referred to as "partial birth abortion" and I have helped organize a bipartisan Senate caucus on adoption, while promoting programs which assist pregnant mothers. I believe my approach reflects the broad mainstream values of South Dakota, and that our country needs thoughtful moderation over extreme alternatives."

maybe i've forgotten what the mainstream is...or maybe everybody back in flyover country has forgotten what the mainstream could be. johnson's statement is everything that's wrong with pro-choice equivocation. apparently in johnson's world abortion is ok as long as the pregnancy somehow wasn't your "fault," and allowing women to face their own moral dilemmas in late pregnancy is as "extreme" as forcing a twelve-year-old to have her father's kid.

so i'm worried. i'm worried because this "debate" is going nowhere fast if johnson's view is somehow as far left as folks in-state are willing to publicly go (or indeed, as far left as folks in-state have even had occasion to consider). i'm worried because i know how easy it is to be pragmatic and accommodationist to the point of surrender when you're midwestern and middle-class. i'm worried because left bloggers, by and large, have had neither the experience of growing up with well-intentioned, good-hearted religious conservatives nor the experience of growing up with a daylong drive and a two-day wait for an abortion in a clinic that can't keep a provider.

so the patriarchy-blamers and bitches (angry, black, phd, whatev) among us continue to flame away at the idiocy of south dakotan males -- who of course are the visible actors in this disaster -- without regard to whether the rhetoric we're using makes any sense to someone in vermillion or pierre or rapid city. are we only talking to ourselves? and is that ok?

hello? south dakota? anybody out there?