Last night, I watched Barack Obama deliver his farewell speech, ten days before Donald Trump takes office as the new President of the United States of America. I can’t believe I just typed that. The crowd chanted “FOUR MORE YEARS” and I wish it was a possibility. President Obama said:
“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It has been contentious. Sometimes it has been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.”
He kept things classy; when he said that “in 10 days the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy,” the crowd began to boo. He urged them to stop, saying that the peaceful transfer of power will occur, just as former President Bush did for him eight years ago.
President Obama said that he left the stage even more optimistic than when we started. “Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.”
President Obama asked us to believe, but not in his ability to bring about change. He asked us to believe in our own ability. “I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written. Yes, we can. Yes, we did.”
Re-reading this amazing speech brings tears to my eyes once again. I am terrified of what is to come once Donald takes office. This is a man who has no idea what he is doing. He is appointing people who want to tear apart all the work that President Obama has done in his years in office. This is a man who is grossly unqualified for the position he is about to fill. Can you imagine Donald delivering the speech that Obama did? Neither can I. He can’t do it.
I am trying to believe. I am trying to have hope. But it’s difficult to see when we’re losing a fantastic President and replacing him with a bloated orange sack of hot air. Donald got elected because he knew how to rile up a crowd. He could say the right things to incite a riot, and people bought into it. The American citizens elected Hillary Clinton, but the system elected Donald. And now we’re stuck with him for the next four years, unless an impeachment occurs and succeeds.
I am a woman. I am a minority. I support LGBTQ+ rights, am pro-choice, and am everything Donald hates in a person. This is a punch in the gut to know that we’re going from such a classy President to one who is simply an ass.
Half of the country voted this circus peanut into office, but I hope that they realize their mistake and take President Obama’s advice. We have a voice. We have the power to change things. We don’t have to sit back and try to survive the next four years; we can speak out and take action and do our best to keep this train from derailing. We have to. America won’t survive if we don’t. I’m absolutely terrified, but I have half the country on my side, and together, we can and we will bring about change. In all sincerity, thanks Obama. Your shoes are impossible to fill and you will be missed more than you know.
The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that Hobby Lobby will no longer be forced to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees due to their religious objections. Specifically, Hobby Lobby’s case targeted birth control that they considered to be abortifacients that would cause a miscarriage or abortion in an already pregnant woman. Plan B and Ella, both emergency contraceptives that simply prevent implantation and do NOT cause abortions, are being blocked. Two IUDs are also being blocked due to the misinformation that they too cause abortions. The internet has exploded with Hobby Lobby’s supporters and opponents attacking each other with spit and venom. The decision has been called both a victory for religious freedom and an attack on the freedoms of us all.
Hobby Lobby’s website, in response to the question “Is Hobby Lobby imposing the religious views of its owners on its employees,” states:
Of course not. The Greens and their family businesses support the individual liberties of all their employees. The very notion turns the facts and the law on its head. In fact, it is the federal mandate that violates the deeply held religious beliefs of the Greens by forcing them to violate the law or violate their belief that life begins at conception – a choice no company should have to make. And by threatening extensive fines, the mandate would place a substantial burden on the Greens’ practice of their faith under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That’s why a federal appeals court ruled in their favor. Meanwhile, Hobby Lobby offers coverage for 16 of 20 drugs and devices included in the mandate in its health plan, and the four objectionable drugs and devices are widely available and affordable, and employees are free to obtain them.
There is obviously no law that is forcing any business to offer health care coverage that would include abortions. The four birth control methods in question do not cause abortions to occur and seriously toe the line on when life is actually created. To the woman using them, the IUDs are no different from any other birth control method. Plan B and Ella are fantastic options for couples who experience an emergency such as a broken condom, or even a woman who was sexually assaulted and wants to ensure that no child results from the involuntary union. It’s unfair to say that any woman who has used any of the four methods in question has potentially received a number of abortions. It’s incorrect to compare the two. Preventing implantation and removing a fetus are two VERY different things.
The biggest issue for me here is that the Supreme Court just allowed a company to make a health care decision for their employees. Hobby Lobby is not directly handing money over to their employees per request for doctor visits and medications, but using United Healthcare (I believe) to provide coverage. Their religious beliefs should not be allowed to have this long of a reach, and certainly should not be reaching into the health and well being of their employees. The life begins at conception argument is a fine argument to make, but it’s not right for the religious standing of the people on top to affect the type of care that every single woman on the bottom will receive from their doctor at a reasonable or at no cost.
I’m worried about what this decision will mean for the future. If a gay couple adopts and requests maternity leave, can that be denied due to religious objections to homosexuality? Can an employer decide that no medications will be covered due to their religious belief that medicinal healing goes against their God’s will? Those seem like ridiculous notions, but then again I thought that it was ridiculous for Hobby Lobby to object to those four “evil” forms of birth control. And here we are. God trumps law. God trumps employee rights. God trumps insurance companies, doctors, and individuals unable to start their own business and play nicely with the people they employ. Maybe I’m off base here but in my opinion, if I’m not having an abortion on company time and/or on company property, it is none of my employers goddamn business what I choose to do and certainly not their right to control the quality of my health care.
Please weigh in! Leave your thoughts, knowledge, opinions, and rants in the comments section.