Saturday, April 09, 2016

Unthreatening Outrage

Bruce Springsteen has canceled his show scheduled for April 10 in Greensboro, North Carolina. In a statement released Friday, the performer cited the recently-passed HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which "dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use."   Additionally, the legislation

also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.

Springsteen and his band want "to show solidarity for those freedom fighters," the "groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments." The band recognizes "some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them."

The performer is convinced "it is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."

In a stroke of good luck, Springsteen is scheduled to perform only two days later, on April 12, in another state determined to push the nation backward.  In another stroke of luck, the concert is due to take place in the capital of that state. And in a third piece of good luck, all of them together comprising a trifecta, the governor of that state is a presidential candidate. On February 21, the Huffington Post reported

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday signed a bill that effectively defunds Planned Parenthood in his state.

The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote “nontherapeutic abortions,” including Planned Parenthood facilities.

You recognize the GOP line. Nonetheless, Staff Editor Marina Fang adds

While the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women’s health programs.

For example, the $1.3 million in state grants that Planned Parenthood is slated to lose was allocated toward HIV testing, cancer screenings and programs that help prevent domestic violence and infant mortality.

There will be a steep price to pay for a lot of people in the seventh largest state in the country. Consequently

In a statement, the organization’s president, Cecile Richards, denounced the bill, arguing that it would have “devastating consequences for women across Ohio.”

“John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care,” she said.

“It’s clear Kasich has no regard for women’s health or lives, and will stop at nothing to block health care for the tens of thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood,” Richards added.

The man falsely labeled "The Boss" will not play North Carolina, safely joining the multitude of actors, businesses, and governments ensuring that the state will pay a considerable penalty for a bad bill. However, it's a safe bet he won't be issuing a satement about how women of modest means in Ohio will be deprived of health care because of the state's legislature and governor.  He won't be talking about how poor women are especially vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, as well as about the impact of breast cancer on women.   Nor will he equate the struggle to end domestic violence with the fight against prejudice and bigotry.  Evidently, some things are not more important than a rock show.

None of the above makes Bruce Springsteen a hypocrite. We all have our causes and priorities. Selective outrage is not a crime, nor should it be, though in this case no sacrifice is made because Springsteen is not alone in his criticism, some of which should be employed in confronting the popular rationale of "religious freedom" behind the attack on Planned Parenthood in Ohio and elsewhere. That, along with a declaration of support for women in Ohio, would be a greater act of courage from a guy who is likely to keep his date in Columbus on April 12, 2016, and keep his mouth shut.

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