It’s one of the tragedies of contemporary American politics— women’s health issues are never just about women or their health. This unfortunate reality has seldom been more visible than in recent weeks, with conservative religious institutions’ reaction to the Obama administration’s decision that the Affordable Care Act will mandate that contraceptives be covered by all health insurance policies.
Reflecting on Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13)’s sweeping victory in the GUSA Executive election, I can’t help but think of a similarly successful campaign waged just four years ago by the current occupant of the White House. The savvy use of social media, the left-leaning rhetoric, the brilliant marketing strategy and distinctive campaign symbols and images, the dedicated campaign staff, the massive turnout of a previously apathetic electorate that became enthusiastic about change, and, of course, that vague sense that something new and different was on the verge of being realized—haven’t we seen this before?
In my one and only brief foray into electoral politics, I spent the summer of 2008 volunteering for Darcy Burner, who was running for Congress as a Democrat. Because of the party structure, this also entailed going door-to-door for then-presidential candidate Obama and the rest of the Democratic ticket. It was an odd situation; I was interested in politics and had started to self-identify as a libertarian, but Ron Paul unsurprisingly didn’t win the Republican Party nomination. I liked Burner’s strong anti-war stance, and managed to convince myself that Obama was at least marginally better than McCain.
On September 9, 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on the need to overhaul health care in the United States. In this speech, President Obama said that the United States’ “collective failure to meet [the challenge of health care reform] – year after year, decade after decade – has led [the country] to a breaking point.” (more…)