There were big doings on the West Coast last week. All hell broke loose around the "FERENGI" of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Washington. For one thing, no one really expected the number of people that showed up to protest the "Ferengi Rules of Acquisition" of the WTO; for another, some folks attended who were more interested in violence and looting than protesting.
The protesters believe that the WTO should consider the goods being traded, who is hurt and who benefits. It should factor in the impact of trade on the environment, communities and workers. In short, they were demanding that the WTO cease being a world-trade-dictator with mega-powers, and include humanity in their plans.
It certainly was not surprising that women would be among the protesters. Women have always been there to protect the environment, improve working conditions and battle for human rights. So, this demonstration was a natural for them to join where they could express their opposition to these Earth-Ferengi who put profit above all else.
It was also not surprising that the media featured a group of women who were toplessly protesting the use of tear gas and incarceration of fellow protesters. "Gas this," it was reported one woman wrote across her breasts.
Well gee! Here we go again. Women in the front ranks on the barricade, women carrying the banners and women exposing all for the cause -- and make no mistake there was good cause for protest of the WTO's Ferengi policies. But this time, DID ANYONE THINK TO ASK THE GUYS IN CHARGE FOR QUID PRO QUO?
Yeah, that's right, quid pro quo -- a Latin phrase that means "something for something" or (excuse the expression) "tit for tat." Our history, such as it is, has always shown women to be there helping out with protests and causes. However, when each battle was won, the "concerns of women" were buried along with the tattered banners and port-o-let contents.
You may recall from reading or hearing about the brave, early members of the WOMEN'S MOVEMENT who joined in to free the slaves. No quid pro quo was requested and for all their efforts they sat back on their *purity of purpose* as white men gave black men the right to vote, ignoring women of all skin color.
Labor Unions never gave high priority to women's complaints of harassment and discrimination. It took the federal government to enforce laws by tying them to economics. Yet women joined in the danger and privation of strikes only to have the settlement made with no consideration for them -- no quid pro quo.
Just two examples, but you can think of many more. Are we to repeat this stupidity over and over or can we learn from past history. Women who are part or wish to be part of the GROWING FORCE to counter the despotism of the WTO Ferengi, must demand quid pro quo. Tell the opposition leaders that there must be FREE AND OPEN DISSEMINATION THROUGHOUT THE WORLD of information on FAMILY PLANNING if we are to support them.
What the Republican Congress has taken away, insist that your anti-WTO groups reinstate! It is time to SEIZE THE DAY. Make it a quid pro quo for your participation in their activities. We should be starting out the new millennium on a positive, strong and confident note. We must put our deeds where our mouth is concerning the rights of *ALL* women to have access to REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND LIFE.
TORI MURDEN is not only the FIRST WOMAN to row the Atlantic Ocean alone, but also the FIRST AMERICAN. HER action gives a great big, wet, sloppy Bronx cheer to the malicious misconception forced on women by our society. To a culture that has been telling us that our gender is weak, helpless and incapable of brave deeds, this young lawyer exemplifies quid pro quo with an "up yours" thrown in for good measure. BRAVA BRAVISSIMO, Tori!
Meanwhile, Floridians are being subjected to what may soon be a problem for the whole country. In a propaganda move worthy of the late Herr Joseph Goebbels, the infamous license plate touting the anti-woman slogan "CHOOSE LIFE" is to be released. It had been held up by lawsuits from various women's groups.
With little brother Jeb Bush as governor, the politics of religion holds full sway so one may expect to see this slogan on cars mainly in Florida but if big brother "W" gets elected prez, we can look for them in every state.
We say, IF YOU CAN'T JOIN 'EM, LICK 'EM. Browse up http://www.evolvefish.com. Buy one of these great $2.00 bumper stickers. Some choices we liked:
Or get out your 'puter program that makes banners and create your own bumper sticker such as CHOICE GIVES WOMEN LIFE. Send your homemade or evolvefish stickers to all your Floridian Friends to initiate a lot of kick a$$ quid pro quo sunshine in the Sunshine State.
Copyright 1999 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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