Who do we co-opt? Altogether now: women and gays first, women and gays first!

 My morning routine includes a quick scan of news in three languages: English, Spanish and Dutch. Sometimes I come across news in one language that are not available in another, particularly regional or local news pertaining to one of those languages (for example, I know that I will find little about The Netherlands outside the Dutch press). So today, I came across an article in Spanish that I haven’t yet seen reported elsewhere. Apparently, since Dilma Rousseff has started the campaign for the second round voting that could take her to the Brazilian presidency by the end of October, she has been making press statements. She is now faced with the unsavory situation of having to convince people who have not voted for her last weekend that she is a worthy candidate. So what are the first points she addresses to convince these potential new voters: she states that she is anti abortion and anti gay marriage. How novel! Because no politician has done this before! When faced with the ignorance and hatred of the extreme right, the thing to do is to co-opt the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. Health care reform in the US? Pass it at the expense of women’s reproductive rights. Don’t Ask, don’t tell and Equality in marriage? Even when they were campaign promises? Well, as soon as the heat is on, send the gays packing.

Until last week, Dilma Rousseff presented herself as a progressive candidate, slightly left of center, ready to champion the rights of minorities and women. Now, of course, she does what has become a standard in politics: leave the heavy weight behind. Instead of standing for what is ethical, the first groups that politicians erase are those who need the most help.

Now I cannot take Radiohead’s Idioteque out of my mind:

Women and children first
And the children first
And the children
I laugh until my head comes off
I swallow till I burst […]
Ice age coming
Throw them in the fire[…]
We’re not scare mongering
This is really happening
We’re not scare mongering
This is really happening

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