Fall is here, the season for schoolteachers and apparently stock markets as well. There is honestly nothing going on in the world of politics right now that does not make me want to commit suicide immediately and keep my child-bearing instinct from bringing another human into the world.
I guess there was one tiny little thing--finding out that health insurance companies will now be forced to pay for contraception and breast pumps and yearly exams for women, helping both women and babies be healthier. Of course, Steve King would have to go and ruin my tiny glimmer of hope at that. He is the representative from western Iowa whose visit to my high school, ten years ago, started me on the path to becoming non-conservative and non-Republican when he told a room of very, very white girls to have lots of American babies for our country. Anyway, now he says that if we (women) have access to birth control, America will be a dying civilization, we'll lose a generation, because heaven knows no one ever wants to have children, and we all use he nasty birth control because we don't care about the future and want to kill America.
The thing that makes me so furious about this is that I desperately want a child or two or three, but because of the policies that King and his ilk support, my husband and I must either enter poverty or prevent having children for several years. See, we are one of a very few countries in the world that offer absolutely no paid time off to women for child-bearing. And if I were to have a child right now, I would have to choose between having a roof over that child's head or purchasing health insurance for that child. Yes, health insurance for one child would cost nearly as much as our mortgage, that is how ridiculous this scenario is. On one and a half professional salaries, there is no way we could raise a child with any level of financial security right now. (I am not saying that it is always impossible to raise a child on one and a half professional salaries--there are a lot of special circumstances for us. People raise children in all kinds of much more adverse circumstances, and often the kids thrive. It's just impossible for us now. But still.) So King doesn't want me to have children (or at least for me to be able to provide them with health care, or be able to stay home with them, or be able to feed them breast milk if I'm not with them at every waking moment), and he doesn't want me to prevent having children. I guess women are just not supposed to exist? (Also, I'm not really trying to build an airtight case here, so don't jump on me about the leaps in logic. I am just too frustrated and angry to be completely silent.) Oh yes, and it's great that contraception will be covered, but WHEN will the day come when all women's delivery costs will be covered? Now that would be a truly pro-choice and pro-life action--acknowledging that a woman doesn't get pregnant all by herself, and bringing a new life into the world shouldn't be something women must go deeply into debt to do, and that a safe birthing process is good for our entire society. Talk about unpaid labor--that's paying enormous sums to work very hard.
Recently when despair about the political situation covers me, though, I'm able to garden away the despair. But thanks to the squash bugs, my garden now makes me more depressed. The vines are dying, my sweet vivacious plants are fading away, their fruits rotting, and I can never massacre enough squash bugs to make up for their deaths. My carrots (which I planted late and suffered from the intense heat) have been wilting away as well. But the cucumbers are still doing well; the tomatoes are producing despite a pretty bad case of blight; and I have hot peppers up the wazoo. Some of the pepper plants I had given up on have risen late and started making fruit as well, so the garden news is not all bad. Just bad enough to stop filling me with joy.
Bah. Humbug. I went back to work today, and at least that was pleasant.