Voting for Hillary & the Real Meaning of Sanctity of Life by Marie Cartier


I just don’t trust Hillary,” a friend said. “Give me one good reason why I should vote for her—other than that, you know, she’s a woman—since I know you teach Women’s Studies.

OK. Here goes.

hillary-and-gunsI recently got a request for support from Gabby Giffords, who was shot on January 8, 2011. This U.S. Representative and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called “Congress on Your Corner” in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head before proceeding to fire on other people.

In her recent request for support, Rep. Giffords pondered why she didn’t die and six others had.  There is no answer—save for that, if there is God’s hand in this, she is the one who went on to fight against the all-powerful Gun Lobby who, for years on end continue to use big money to influence Congress.

On November 8th, we, the American people, will decide, for better or worse who is the next leader of the most powerful country in the free world. An important question to ask ourselves as we consider the candidates is: What does it mean to believe in the sanctity of life?

The phrase “sanctity of life” reflects the belief that, because people are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27), human life has an inherently sacred attribute that should be protected and respected at all times. While God gave humanity the authority to kill and eat other forms of life (Genesis 9:3), the murdering of other human beings is expressly forbidden, with the penalty being death (Genesis 9:6).

How is it that the religious right is supporting Donald Trump in this election—rather than Hillary Clinton?  Because in short, they find abortion rights to not be right. Sanctity of life for these leaders means sanctity of the unborn—not the already living who need protection from madmen wielding guns. For them, banning abortion is what “sanctity of life” actually means. Or rather, this is how they utilize Biblical hermeneutics to interpret biblical texts. I choose to approach the Book of Genesis differently.

This is a huge issue in this election. Christian leaders look beyond, among other things, Trump’s three marriages, his failure to pay workers their due, and his support of the gun lobby. Trump believes protecting our “second amendment rights” because, as he describes them, they will “make us great again.” Evangelicals look beyond all this in order to support him because of his stand on abortion and their interpretation of the phrase “sanctity of life.

marie-and-weho-lesbian-speaker-seriesAs you read this on Sept 24th, we are approximately three months past the anniversary of the largest gun massacre in the history of the US– the PULSE gay bar massacre on June 12, 2016 that killed 49 people– all predominately Latino, and predominantly gay (90% of the people killed at PULSE were Latino, 23 of them Puerto Rican). What is sanctity of life then? For Trump, among other things, it is not the lives of people of color, of LGBT citizens, or of LGBT citizens’ civil rights such as marriage.

Recently I had the opportunity to read a version of the column I wrote for FAR after the PULSE massacre for a presentation in West Hollywood, California where I was featured in the Lesbian Speaker Series.

I asked about what is sacred. What is the sanctity of life? Consider: the PULSE massacre. Consider Trump’s support of the gun lobby. His racism. His sexism. His homophobia.

What does sanctity of life actually mean? It does not mean the lived life of the pregnant female who wishes to terminate a pregnancy because of rape or incest in Trump’s campaign. The Trump campaign just brought on a new adviser as a part of his “pro-life coalition” who believes abortion should be banned, including no exceptions for rape and incest – even if the mother’s life is at risk.  And that Trump campaign employee is a woman.

hillary-and-pro-choiceI’ve written here before about why Hillary’s words sometimes fall on ears not willing to hear them—because they are unused to hearing the words of women. Women have been silenced. It is unusual to hear women and to credit them with social change directive.

I have been posting with the hashtag #votingwithmyvagina. I am not just voting “for a woman,” but voting for a feminist who recognizes I have a vagina. I have a right to care about the protection of my life, and the lives of my sisters, nieces, students, friends, comrades, and the world of women who have vaginas and want them protected. That is voting for a feminist.

I have loved Hillary since the 90s when she came to prominence fighting for children and families. I loved her as she spoke about women’s rights—using her First Lady powers for good. I don’t understand the “where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire” concept of not trusting her. What I know is that where there’s media—they’ll start the fire if it’s not already going—and the person they have chosen to roast is Hillary. Why? A possible female president presents the public with a sociological imaginative structure they have no way to assess.

sanctity-of-lifeThis is not about four years of entertainment by putting Trump at the forefront of media (as he has been—see Gina Messina’s column about “Trumpery”). It’s about the “boring” issues: gun control, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and religious freedom. It’s about civil rights. This is reality. Not a reality show—as many have said.

So, my friend, if you are reading this—perhaps I have given you a few good reasons to vote for what I believe is the real sanctity of life.

And just in case you need more—here are 112 more reasons to vote for Hillary. #HillYes 

 

MarieCartierforKCETa-thumb-300x448-72405Marie CartierDr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013).  She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University.  She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.

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Categories: Activism, Ethics, Feminism, Feminist Ethics, Gun Control, LGBTQ, Politics

Tags: , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. This November 8th election in the US is about a lot more than guns and abortions

    It’s more to the ability of keeping America’s Sovereignty and not turning it into a One World Government

    As we should all be aware of by now is that Hillary Clinton is a part of the Globalist Elite funded by George Soros

    A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for America to loose it’s Sovereignty

    To be Government ruled by a One World Government which would take away America rights of abortion and gay’s to start with

    Hillary Clinton has been in Government for 30+ years and has accomplished nothing

    Oh she talks the talk but has had no actions to back her words up

    A woman riddled in investigations and corruption her entire life

    And I would presume that you have read Hillary Clinton’s Sect of State emails that she intentionally deleted to hide from the American people her actions or in some situations lack of actions

    As in Benghazi where Ambassador Chris Stevens contacted Hillary Clinton 600 times for help because the situation in Benghazi had worsened

    Hillary Clinton never answered one single email from Chris Stevens

    The man died at the hands of the terrorists he begged Hillary to get him away from

    Which fell on Hillary Clinton’s deaf ears

    A vote for Trump is a vote for Americanism 󾓦

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    • Brava! As Carol said a couple days ago, a vote for Trump is a vote for white man’s rule. Marie, I’m voting for Hillary for the same reasons you are. Excellent post!

      Mr. HocusPocus, you seem to be a troll. You’re merely parroting the alt right, which is anti-American in the sense that all of us citizens have rights, not just white men like The Donald.

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      • Exactly, Barbara!

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      • Years ago I swore never to vote for Hillary Clinton.

        There was just no way I could vote for her.

        In the summer of 2015 I changed my mind.

        I am still not a fan of HRC, but she is an experienced leader – even Bush Republicans acknowledge that.

        In contrast, Donald Trump is a reactive misogynist.

        Trump calls to mind H. L. Mencken’s idea of a demagogue:

        “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”

        Trump himself calls to mind Senator Joseph McCarthy. Indeed, they shared the same attorney, Roy Cohn.

        Despite my differences with HRC, I’ll vote for her.

        Trump?

        He’ll wake up the morning after Election Day with a message from Americans: YOU’RE FIRED.

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    • HP13, you are making a lot of statements with no backup facts. Actually you sound like a troll spouting off unproven nonsense. If you have documentation for your statements, please provide it…from independent and dependable, preferably multiple, sources.

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  2. Namaste, Rox

    >

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  3. In response to hocusposu: I am not a nationalist. When I hear Make America Great Again, I wonder to which America Trump is referring: the one when we started and were ruled by elite slave owners, the southern America full of slaves for whose lives few cared, the America of the Depression when many lived such horrid poor lives, the America where black men routinely were hung from trees for such a simple thing as looking at a white woman, the America with separate restrooms and where people of color cannot go to any restaurant they choose–I could go on and on, but I do not want to go back to that America. America includes the entire Western Hemisphere. The correct term, actually is the Unites States of America. Are we really better here than other countries in the Western Hemisphere? We could be perhaps, but we are not there yet. I want a United States of America where everyone, yes, everyone can prosper, where equality for all reigns.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Namaste, certainly, “HP13,” but there’s a distinction between opinion and misinformation, smears and utter nonsense.

    Marie, your piece is right on the money. Hillary’s big disadvantage is most certainly that “hereditary medical condition” one tongue-in-cheek editorial writer wrote about, and which you understand so well: she’s a woman.

    So one can vote for her, or — although it’s mystifying to me why anyone would — vote for a phony package like DT, full of misogyny, racism, hatred, pride, false piety, arrogance, self-seeking and ignorance.

    I think the choice is clear. As a woman, a feminist, and an informed voter, I’m voting for Hillary. So is my retired Army, now police officer, husband.

    Thank you for the great piece, Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I voted for Bernie in the primary, and I am voting for Hillary in November. To people who have qualms about voting for Hillary, I say vote for the people she will stand up for who will be grievously hurt if her opponent wins. This is not a personality contest. There is too much at stake. As Bernie himself says, this presidential race is not the time for a protest vote and not the time to stay home. I am not voting for a lesser evil, I am voting for a greater good. I am voting for Hillary.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. But she has no problem dropping bombs overseas on vulnerable brown people. Look at the state of Libya, a country that once provided free health care and education to its citizens. Now it’s a terrorist safe harbor. What the use of getting rid of a dictator if what replaces it is worse? And Iraq, Honduras? The assasination of Berta Caceras? Her role in destabilizing Syria? And the support for Israel?
    No thanks. This is not how I vote for the first woman president.

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    • I agree Kitchen Rants, and if we didn’t have a two party system and the electoral college, I might consider voting for Jill Stein, but when Trump is the alternative, I will vote for Hillary, not because she has the foreign policy I support, but because she is sane and because she will support women’s rights and abortion rights and hopefully will strive to implement the Democratic platform. And yes, because she does not hate the way Trump hates. As for a progressive foreign policy, I do not expect her to have one, but no elected President in my lifetime has. As Eisenhower warned, the military industrial complex has become too powerful and is nearly impossible to challenge.

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      • Funny Eisenhower said that, considering he promoted and reinforced it. It’s done by design, the MIC was put in place so America can achieve its imperialistic aims when it needs to. I suppose I just do not subscribe to the notion that one vote for a third party candidate is like a vote for Trump nor do I believe that people are ‘throwing’ away their vote if they don’t vote for Hillary Clinton. Someone’s vote is highly personal and sacred to them, to dismiss is because of politics or worse to scare someone into voting for you isn’t all that inspiring either. This idea of getting along by going along isn’t going to work for me either. And I don’t mean to dump on here but I have read one too many articles, essay and think pieces on *sigh* despite all of Hillary Clinton’s problems, we have to vote for her or else we are all doomed.

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      • Concur, Carol!

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      • Exactly, Carol, i feel just like you do. I cannot forget that Clinton’s hawkishness has a high cost in human life outside the USA, or her hobnobbing with the likes of Kissinger and Madeline (“the cost in Iraqi children’s lives was worth it”) Albright. But Hillary does have some social justice points going for her, and Trump must be stopped. That is the most important consideration, because the destruction he could wreak is incalculable.

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      • Carol, I respect your right to vote for Hillary in spite of supporting Jill Stein. But that is not my choice. I only have one vote. I want that vote to say something. I want it to say that sanity must be restored to our political system. I want it to say that people, you and me, really do matter. I believe Jill Stein can do that better than any of the other candidates. Yes, I know that some will immediately fault me for not supporting Hillary, for “taking votes away from her”, but in truth I am not. Remember that B. Clinton won with only 43% of the popular vote; but he won the Electoral College. I believe Hillary will do the same. She won’t win the popular vote — and justifiably so — but she will win the Electoral College. So I am voting for the one person I can actually respect. (I do wish Bernie had the nomination — I’d be out pounding doors on his behalf myself.)

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  7. Perhaps another way to look at this is to look at party platforms. I rarely vote for a personality even though, in this case, given Trump’s, it does matter. I look at party platforms and since the only with which I agree to almost all of it is the Democratic Platform, I will vote based on that. The Green Party’s is too anti-real science for me and too impossible to implement in this country any time soon. I find almost everything in the Republican Platform somewhat horrifying and regressive. The only part of the Libertarian I agree with is the Personal Issues part. Too many people in this country are too obsessed with personality and looks and too little with data, issues, facts, and consequences over the long haul.

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  8. Very nice article, Marie! To say that Hillary has “accomplished nothing” in thirty years (HP13) is to minimize the enormity of the task that Hillary has taken on behalf of women and girls around the world. As those of us who work in complex fields know, it is a long term project to navigate and negotiate the needs of and solutions for women in diverse cultures under various regimes today. As Secretary of State, Hillary visited dozens of countries in which women lack basic rights. She stood up to male leaders of regimes oppressive to women on their own ground. Here at home, she has worked tirelessly, and I think we can count on her endless support for women’s reproductive rights and for the equal education of girls and equal pay for women. Where she is less reliable is on environmental and military issues, and these are extremely important. Given the two party choice, however, she far surpasses the opposition, and there is no doubt in my mind that she has the necessary skills to be an effective president.

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