This past week, the state of Wisconsin passed an anti-abortion law which forces unnecessary ultra-sound medical producers on women who want to get an abortion. Also this past week, the state of Iowa passed an anti-abortion law that gives power to the governor to decide on the availability of abortions through Medicaid.
Other than the draconian, jihad on women laws that Republican legislatures have passed in both states, the two states have something else in common. They both border Illinois. Wisconsin to the north, Iowa to the west.
Women of Wisconsin and Iowa -- come on over the border! Welcome. Set a spell. Have a good time. Glad to have you.
Mind you, I'm not saying "Welcome" to my home state because you might want to have an abortion -- though you might -- just that it's probably nice to have a state available to you that treats you with respect and decency, and doesn't consider you a second-class...well, I was going to say "citizen," but human is probably more accurate.
The three states have long had a fine old time chiding each other. Wisconsin and Iowa considering people of Illinois to be corrupt, while Illinois has ragged Wisconsin for being cheeseheads who drive tractors down the freeway, and Iowa for being lackluster farmhands with the sophistication of a cornstalk. It's all in good fun -- but who would have guessed that Illinois was right?! Hey, Wisconsin and Iowa, don't blame me, you did it to yourselves. You elected these people.
By the way, lest anyone on the religious far right try to lambast that heathen, radical Illinois, it's worth noting a few things. The Father of the Republican Party is from Illinois, and all the state's license plates proudly say, "Land of Lincoln." (I still have an Abraham Lincoln coffee mug that I got at the Smithsonian.) Illinois is also the home of the Patron Saint of Modern Conservatism, Ronald Reagan, who was born in Dixon. (But no, I don't have a Reagan commemorative anything.)
Illinois may have been the first state to declare a moratorium on death penalty executions -- but it was a Republican governor, George Ryan, who did so. And one of its two U.S. senators, Mark Kirk, is a Republican.
It is the world headquarters -- still -- of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, in Evanston.
(When I went to Northwestern there, the town had a big fight to allow wine and beer in half a dozen restaurants. The WCTU fought it tooth and nails, claiming our young people would be in the gutters. And no, this wasn't 1893. It passed.)
So, no, Illinois is not just the home of Barack Obama, Adlai Stevenson, Jane Addams, Michael Jordan and Oprah. And Richard J. Dalely and Rod Blagojevich. And Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
It's a well-rounded, thoughtful state that looks across the borders to its neighbors on the north and across the Mississippi River to the west and says, "Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, and any women interested. And any men who care about women. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Women of Iowa and Wisconsin -- come on down!!!
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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