Seven panelists spoke on Thursday about what is at stake in the election. Mary Berry central claim was that the courts are at stake. She argued that the courts are vital for social movements. Obama has appointed a few more liberals to the court in that past month that would support issues like women’s rights and LBT rights. If Romney is elected, social movements would have a difficult time getting through the courts with the people he would elect. Roger Smith, another panelist, made the central claim that the power of the central government might be at stake. Romney wants to give more power to the states with social issues like healthcare, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. Many analysts who are deeply skeptical about giving power back to the states, and it is uncertain if all 50 states would cover preexisting conditions, permit parents to have children on their health plans, and advocate for LGBT rights and women’s rights. One provocative point made by one of the panelists was that America has a fascist police. He experienced this at Occupy Philly, and it is evident through the fact that country currently has the highest incarceration rates in history. He argued that this brutality effected poor communities and communities of color. I found this interesting because it was so radical. I never went so far as to think America had a fascist police. His point also made me aware of how poor communities are the most effected by an increase incarceration rates. The panelist would like to lower incarceration rates by changing our policy on drugs, saying “A war on drugs is the war on the poor.” I absolutely agree with his point. Most of the people that get caught for selling marijuana are poor people and people of color. If the laws are changed, incarceration rates would significantly drop. I think it’s a little drastic to say that our police system is fascist, but changes do have to be made in the area of police brutality. The violence he described at occupy Philly is outrageous, and laws need to be put in place that ensure this type of treatment does not happen again.
One question I would like to pose that is related to what we have discussed in class, specifically Lorber’s writings on the stratification of classes, is the following: Are people (especially men) who are against abortion trying to control women? One of the panelists argued that abortion is one of the most important women’s rights issues. She claimed that men who are against abortion are trying to exert control over women and their bodies. However, I’m not sure if that is the aim of most men who are against abortion. I think they are against it morally, believing that it is murder. Most conservatives that are against abortion are against it for religious reasons. Therefore, I don’t think it’s very accurate to say that most men against abortion are trying to control women and their bodies.