Get Your Choice On

Once the location of the 2016 Democratic National Convention has finally been decided (more on that later), we might finally be able to focus on the actual content of that convention. Certainly, I’d love to see Senator Elizabeth Warren delivering the keynote address (assuming, of course, that she will not run herself), emphasizing the need to address income inequality and pointing out the role that 35 years of Reaganomics played in widening the wealth gap. Certainly, I’d love to see another stemwinder of a speech by Bill Clinton, reminding America of the sinister nature of the Koch-controlled Republican Party. However, the DNC needs to do something memorable, something unforgettable, something that will burn into the minds of viewers just how important this election is. The DNC must emphasize, as never before, the importance of reproductive rights in this contest.

What I’m specifically thinking of is a segment at the convention in which women from a wide variety of backgrounds talk about their decisions to have abortions, and explain why it is so important to keep choice legal. America needs to hear from the victim who was sexually assaulted and could not go through with a pregnancy that commenced due to the most vile of criminal acts. America needs to hear from the impoverished worker who knew she couldn’t bear the financial and emotional responsibilities of being a parent. America needs to hear from the rising corporate executive who feared that pregnancy would shove her under an impenetrable glass ceiling. America needs to hear from the vulnerable young woman whose boyfriend broke his promise to stand by her and support her. America needs to hear.

I get so frustrated when I hear about people having tepid support for Hillary Clinton. “Oh, she’s too corporate.” “Oh, she’s too centrist.” “Oh, she’s not really a Democrat.” Oh, stop that nonsense! I’m ready for Hillary because I know that choice is on the line in this election. I know that if Hillary loses, and Democrats fail to win back the Senate, it’s only a matter of seconds before the coat hangers come back.

I want the DNC to highlight the importance of reproductive rights in this election. I want the DNC to show America the faces of choice; women who support reproductive rights because they understand that those rights have secured the full blessings of liberty for women. I want the DNC to tell America clearly and boldly: our party trusts women, and the Republicans simply don’t.

Yes, I’m sure the right-wingers will accuse the Democrats of being “pro-abortion” if they air such a segment during the convention. So what? I am “pro-abortion,” in the sense that being “pro-abortion” is being pro-full equality for women.

I want the DNC to air this segment in prime time. I want the DNC to confront America with the hard reality of what a Republican President and Senate would do to women. I want the DNC to ask American women: “Do you want Ted Cruz making YOUR health care decisions?”

I want the DNC to boldly defend choice. I want the DNC to call out the radical anti-abortion movement and condemn members of that movement for what they are–fifth columnists and sleeper cells making plans to terrorize every woman in this country, bloodthirsty fundamentalists every bit as repulsive as the folks who shot up Charlie Hebdo. (After all, (Rosie O’Donnell was right nearly a decade ago: radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam. Just ask Dr. George Tiller. Oh, I forgot: You can’t, because one of the Christian jihadists murdered him six years ago.)

2016 must be the choice campaign. Democrats must remind the electorate that one more right-wing Supreme Court appointee would send women right back to the back alley. Democrats must step to the front of the line and make it clear they will be warriors for choice. The 2016 DNC convention must emphasize this point—or else that convention will be pointless.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.