Copyright © 2005 Henrietta W. Hay
October 14, 2005
Harriet Miers. Hmmm. Who is Harriet Miers? The Shadow knows and President Bush knows her heart, but everybody else is guessing. Oh wait. Dick Cheney knows, because he told James Dobson. Still, while nobody knows for sure who she is or what she believes, even without a paper trail we are learning very quickly. And I would be happier not knowing, if she were not a candidate for a Supreme Court seat.
You would think a good feminist like me would be jumping for joy, wouldn't you? Another woman on the Supreme Court -- Wow! But it all depends on the woman, and this one doesn't make me jump at all.
The person who occupies the seventh seat on this Supreme Court will eventually have tremendous power over all of us, We need a man or woman with a calm, judicial mind, concerned with the law and the constitution. We do not want an ideologue on either side of current social issues.
So who is Harriet Miers? She is George Bush's long time personal attorney, and personal friend, and she is a member of that exclusive little circle of friends and advisers to the President that Ellen Goodman calls FOG (Friends of George). Born a Catholic, she turned at age 30 to the same born-again Christian faith, which Bush holds. She belongs to the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas where abortion literature is sometimes distributed and tapes from the conservative group Focus on the Family are sometimes screened. I do not like to comment on any person's religion, since it is a highly personal thing, but in this case it has become political.
And former Bush speechwriter, David Frum reports, she remarked that "The President is the most brilliant man I have ever met." Need we say more?
Let's clarify a point. During the glory days of feminism, every step forward meant a major crisis. But gradually women's rights came to be more or less accepted. We have women Senators and Governors and lawyers and doctors and athletes and an occasional C. E. O . We also have
Supreme Court members and the possibility of another one.
The funniest fact, perhaps the only touch of humor, in this major shouting match is the fact that her record is happily under scrutiny by both parties. Even though we would expect the Right to support her, I guess they want her to stand up on television and announce, "don't worry, kids. I am strongly against abortion."
But in the past few years the abortion issue has been used as a major political issue. I do not mean abortion as a personal, doctor/patient medical procedure, but as a Right Wing litmus test for anybody running for office. The one word has come to include chiefly the issues women are concerned with, the right to control their bodies, the right to make choices in their lives. And for all the fancy talk, the key political issue for the Conservatives today is whether Ms. Miers is against abortion.
We are facing a dangerous division in our country. If the Supreme Court becomes owned by the Religious Right Wing, the gains women have made over the years will be set back a generation or two and we will all be faced with the loss of some of our freedoms.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if nobody on either side cared what Harriet Miers thinks about abortion?