“The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture.”
— THOMAS PAINE
July 2022

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Remember Lysistrata

This column is called Common Sense for a reason. It begs the reader to use common sense to resolve what’s bothering them, and in the world today that is quite a lot. This very brief message ventures into the thicket of the abortion issue. In particular:

  1. A majority of Americans favor a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue her pregnancy. That majority divides in many ways when it comes to particulars, like exceptions to the right, timing within a pregnancy, health conditions, et cetera. Women and men agree, though, that a woman should have a right to choose and the government should stay as far as possible out of the way.
  2. Laws limiting abortion are being made largely by white Christian men on behalf of the women of America. All women are affected, the poorest and most vulnerable the worst.
  3. The U.S. Supreme Court has gone completely bonkers and is mired in the misunderstood history of the 18th century. Forget them, they are useless.

Many of us see things as they are, wonder about things that have not been, and ask, why not?

To some extent the answer is invariably partisan. Right now, the Republican Party is wrestling with its MAGA wing and seems to oppose abortion, gun control and many other policies that would normally be centrist and obvious. Another answer would be to boycott Fox News and hit the Murdochs where they live.

But an idea born of the Sixties is also worth mentioning. In 1968 I wore a button that said, “Remember Lysistrata.” The reference is to a woman of Athens in the fifth century B.C., celebrated by a play Aristophanes wrote in her honor. Lysistrata led a sex strike, organizing women who were tired of their men fighting during the Peloponnesian Wars. They vowed to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until such time as peace broke out.

Simple, right? Why shouldn’t American women deny men access to the bodies those very men aspire to dominate?  A Wall Street aphorism says, “Screw me once, shame on you, screw me twice, shame on me.” It is so simple.

Right wing jurisprudes might then have to conjure up new rights, like the right to subjugate women. Would they dare?

One need not be feminist or left wing or progressive or any wing at all to embrace this tactic. Your power-mad men are at war with you, determined to deny you a basic freedom. Fight back, with no need for a single bullet.

Self help is so American.

Remember Lysistrata!

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