Unbelievable! Two representatives in the Michigan legislature have been completely silenced because of what they had to say about a proposed abortion bill. Here are the details from the Detroit News:
House Republicans tried to silence two female Democratic lawmakers Thursday for floor outbursts a day earlier referencing male sterilization and a female sex organ.
The majority party prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech the day before against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.
“I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’ ” said Brown, D-West Bloomfield.
State Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, also wasn’t recognized to speak Thursday for a disturbance she caused on the House floor Wednesday when the GOP majority wouldn’t allow her to propose a ban on men getting a vasectomy unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man’s life.
Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, made the decision to prevent Brown and Byrum from speaking on any of the slew of bills the House was racing to pass before adjourning for the summer…
“My concern was the decorum of the House, not of anything she said,” Stamas told The Detroit News.
“I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far yesterday,” he said.
Speaker Pro Tem John Walsh, R-Livonia, gaveled Brown out of order for saying “no means no” — because it suggested Brown was comparing the abortion legislation to rape, House GOP spokesman Ari Adler said.
“It has nothing to do with the word vagina,” Adler said.
Some male Republican representatives, however, said Brown’s comments were vulgar, “inappropriate” and “offensive.”
“What she said was offensive,” said state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville.
“It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company,” he said.
During a Capitol press conference Thursday, Brown noted “vagina” is the “medically correct term” for the female organ at the center of the Legislature’s ongoing abortion restriction debate.
“If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” Brown said. “What language should I use?
“We’re all adults here.”
House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, would not address the controversy that had become a national news story by late Thursday…
“I followed the House rules,” said Brown…
“The war on women in Michigan is not fabricated — this is very real — and it comes at the highest levels of state government,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing.
From The Detroit News
Okay…where do I start? Let’s start with my opinion on the question. I’ve been very confused about the trend of regulating people’s rights to their bodies and beds over the last few years. The problem is that no one can really define when life begins. There are theories, but they can never progress past the theory stage, so we will never know (until we stand face-to-face with God) when life really begins. How can we justify restricting people’s rights for a theory? It is not the government’s place to decide the issue of when life begins based on the religious beliefs of some. As Rep. Brown said, why do they want the rest of us to adopt their religious beliefs? Is there not a Bill of Rights that specifically forbids the government to create any law respecting the establishment of a particular religion? I don’t remember anywhere in the Bill of Rights that said that this doesn’t apply when it concerns women’s vaginas or other internal organs.
I do think there is a much more pressing issue with abortion – father’s rights. In fact, I believe father’s rights is a very overlooked and important issue starting at conception and going all the way through a child’s life. Men are not given any say in medical procedures such as abortion, men are expected to pay a disproportionate amount of support for a child in regards to the amount of time they are allowed to spend with the child, and are constantly reminded that they are not as important in the lives of the child as the mother in contradiction to what the law actually states. Before anyone tries to argue this point with me you need to know that I am a victim of this problem. I pay two-thirds of the costs to raise my child don’t even get to have her half of the time. I had to fight to even get that amount of time. The system rewards mothers for denying the father more time with their child by giving them more money if the father sees the child less. All of the assumptions surrounding father’s rights need to be changed.
Anyway…I’m not going to go on about abortion here because it’s a useless debate. People hold such strong opinions about it that they will most likely never change their position. So let’s talk about the rules of the House. First, take a minute to watch the actual footage of the situation.
I read through the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives for Michigan. Here are the rules that I found to apply to this situation:
Chapter III Conduct in Debate. Rule 28. When any Member is about to speak in debate or present any matter to the House, the Member shall rise and respectfully address the Presiding Officer, confine remarks to the question under debate, and avoid personalities.
Chapter V Amendments to be Germane. Rule 60. No independent or new proposition or new question shall be introduced under color of an amendment. All amendments must be germane to the main question. When the question of germaneness is raised, the Presiding Officer shall rule on the question.
Let’s start with Rule 28. I have watched the video of the debate. I heard nothing that violated Rule 28. Until Rep. Brown said the word “vagina” in her remarks, no one raised a concern. After, the Speaker stated that he expected the members to respect the decorum. When watching the video it seemed that he was speaking to the people who were applauding her remarks. Either way, I didn’t hear anything that wasn’t respectful, not confined to the question under debate, or didn’t avoid personality. So, Rep. Bolger, under what rule and grounds did you ban this woman from speaking on other bills? I don’t remember reading a “no vagina” clause in the rules.
Now we move on to Rep. Byrum and Rule 60. On the video I saw a woman who was legally and properly elected to represent the people of her state standing and asking to be recognized on the floor of the legislature be completely ignored. Wow. When she stormed off (justifiably angered by the refusal of Bolger to even recognize her) she was told she was out of order. Why? A few seconds before you wouldn’t even recognize her existence, now she’s out of order? This was a childish game played by a boy who is drunk with his power.
So these are the problems I’ve seen with this situation in the legislature. Now let’s look at how these problems have been caused by the people.
When I listen to political talk today or watch commercials for politics here is what I hear: Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, etc.
People have become so polarized in line with their political parties that they have completely lost their voice. The only things I hear the average person saying are almost direct quotes from politicians and political analysts. There is no original thought or questioning anymore. Our country was founded by people who questioned the government. In fact, they wrote the right to one of the most important documents in our nation’s history – The Declaration of Independence:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
One of these founding fathers, George Washington, even warned the people of the dangers that political parties posed to our rights in his farewell address:
However combinations or associations of the above description [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
So when was the last time you questioned those who you feel are part of your political party? Would you question them if they silenced those with an opposing viewpoint? Would you question them if they refused to recognize the person you chose to represent you in government? At what point will you question them? When they start to regulate your body? Your bedroom? Your rights? Your freedom? But, at what point is it too late? I know this quote is used entirely too much, but it is very pertinent to this situation:
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communist and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionists. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.” –Pastor Niemoeler (victim of the Nazis)
It is time for the people of the United States to speak out. Our freedoms are in jeopardy. I don’t care what your philosophy is…you can’t tell me you agree with legislators being silenced because the “majority party” doesn’t agree with what they have to say or doesn’t like the technically correct and medical terms that they use. I have seen so many people since 9/11 stand up and try to say how patriotic they are. They wear their flags and yell their support for the United States and the military. But many of the people that yell the loudest are the most unpatriotic people I have ever seen because they will not only allow this behavior to stand, but will support it because it lets their agenda get passed.
How do you fight this? I’m not saying we need to rise up and overthrow the government. There is only one way the people can voice their disgust with this situation. They need to do their research, find a candidate they can support (regardless of what party that candidate is affiliated with), and place an educated vote that removes the people who are abusing their power from office. Be warned…you will not find a candidate that agrees with everything you want. As another blogger I follow recently stated, “No one will ever be perfect so if you’re holding your breath for a messiah, you’re wasting your time.” If you can find an independent candidate who does not bow to a party, even better!
If you will sit idly by and allow this kind of nonsense to continue in our government then I will tell you that, no matter how loud you shout your support for the United States or whether you shake the hands of the military personnel who fight for your freedom, you are no patriot, sir, and are turning your back on those who have fought and died so that you can elect someone to stand up in Congress and fight for your rights. If you let someone silence your voice Congress then you are spitting on the graves of those same men and women. Either stand up and make these people respect your rights or admit that you are no patriot and have the decency to stop shaking the hands of patriots while you spit on the freedoms that they have fought to preserve.