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On Georgia

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Georgia the state, not the Caucasian Republic, is a fine representation of America. A place where a gorgeous geographical environment meets the ocean and the first mountains in the East. It is filled with southern charm and hospitality and it is a state with long traditions.
Two of which are racism and misogyny.
We will leave racism for another time although it is a simple proposition: any state where one major tourist attraction is a carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson (Stone Mountain) needs some very powerful explanations if they claim that they are not into racism. Drive through Georgia and you will see a Confederate flag before you arrive to your first coffee shop. No need to expand on the subject.
But it is misogyny and sexism that is currently in vogue in Georgia. And this claim is based on the new abortion law passed in the state, a so-called HEARTBEAT law. In summary, it states that a woman cannot have an abortion after a physician can hear a heart beat in the embryo, which can usually be detected within six weeks of pregnancy. The punishments are draconian and cruel to the extreme, with possible decades or life in prison or even a death penalty. Georgia is not hiding in any way that their deep believe is that women are property, wombs surrounded with a transport mechanism. Chattel slavery at its best.
The issue is interesting because not only we are well into the 21st century but because abortion is the ultimate “Not your business” issue. I have yet to find a better expansion of this subject than John Irving’s The Cider House Rules. This book deals with a central issue of the abortion debate: the rules about abortion are set by men (the GA Governor is male, as most of the legislative assembly), on an issue that does not affect them. EVER. Not directly, not tangentially, not in any possible way. Abortion is the ultimate male intrusion into the lives of people that they do not and should not control. In The Cider House Rules, a group of apple harvesters find rules at the Cider House, where no owner ever goes, where no white person enters (they are, of course, black workers) and which are set simply to demonstrate possession and control of the borderline slaves. The rules are for nobody’s benefit and are therefore ridiculous. And the workers know it, in the same way that women know infinitely better what is best for them.
The current abortion proposal, of course, forms part of a larger plot. The whole issue is to take the law all the way to the Supreme Court and therefore, in a challenge, use the new configuration of the Court to ban abortion altogether. The joke has already started running but one must repeat it: the Georgia legislature does not realize that The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction, not an instructions manual. But with other states ready to follow suit, one has to ask: in what way would the United States be different from, for example, Saudi Arabia, if women’s rights are trampled in such atrocious manner? With the precedent of a leader that brags about sexual abuse, a Supreme Court where two justices have also been accused of assault and where women routinely get shortchanged in working wages, earning power and access to positions in government (Stacey Abrams, for example), is there a difference between Islamic Republics and the United States? Because if the sole difference is that women can drive and vote, the difference is then one of quantity, not essence. Women here can do a few more things than in Riyadh but are still facing a mentality of slavery and submission imposed by men. Therefore, at the core, the sexism is identical and if women in Islamic states can be stoned to death because of adultery while women in the USA can be subject to life in prison because of an abortion, the difference is only in the punishment. But the cruelty is the same.
These are dark times in the United States. Times of dire consequences and possible and very real cultural degradation. The USA is becoming authoritarian, a form of capitalistic dictatorship. A place where indeed all men are created equal, if their skin is white, but where the phrase is taken in its full literal version and leaves women out of the equality.
There are dark clouds covering the USA today. And let it be known for future historians that the storm, at least for women, started in Georgia. The racist, misogynist cesspool of America.

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  1. GlennHarman's Avatar
    Good job on this as always, Ponchi. I find it totally disgusting HOW frequently one sees Confederate flags in Georgia, but also in other states. For instance, to me it makes no sense that the state in which I seem to see the highest density of them is West Virginia, a state that exists solely because, 150 years ago, the residents believed so strongly in the things that the Union stood for that they left Virginia to be a separate state. Now a clear majority of the residents seem to want the Confederacy back.

    Back to Georgia.....I was genuinely concerned about spending a couple of weeks camping in the woods in Georgia when I first did the Appalachian Trail. But then I disappeared into the Trail environment, and I had so little to do with the actual Georgians that I really had nothing either good or bad to say about them from that experience. I simply didn't see them. So I've done that part of the Trail several times since then, and that has always been my experience.

    Yes, there is such a thing as Southern hospitality. But all of the bad things you mention are there in such quantity that it remains a place I wouldn't recommend to, those who live in parts of Atlanta or in Athens, or parts of Savannah, can step up and say how wonderfully well it is working there for them. But most of that state remains as you have pictured it in your blog.