Weekly Column by Loretta Redd
The politics of outrage took center stage this week, mirroring the lines from William Congreve’s 1697 play, The Mourning Bride: “Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”
“Love,” in the form of pink ribbon tied to our hearts through the Susan G. Komen foundation, turned instead to “hatred” by their misguided decision to politicize and de-fund breast cancer screenings done through Planned Parenthood health centers. Then, in its’ unfortunate cycle of deceit and damage control, a once honored foundation for breast cancer research and education brought doubt into the minds of thousands of its supporters as to its cross-over political agenda.
More than ever, it seems the ‘cancer’ of ideology is becoming invasive in women’s lives. As each day passes toward our next Presidential election, what a candidate once ‘stood for’ seems of less consequence than which of his statements moves the needle of public opinion.
I watch ‘truth’ devolve into a meaningless mass of message testing, looking not for bedrock beliefs, but rather for the right words to assuage every potential voter’s values. Flip-flopping with Romney on pregnancy planning, bed-hopping with Gingrich on moon-colony fidelity, or hand-washing Cain’s wandering paws, women are feeling justifiably “scorned.”
Unfortunately, board and staff members at the Komen Foundation, like VP for Public Policy, Karen Handel, decided to inject the poison of politics directly into the bosom of health care.
It was Ms. Handel who crafted the policy for Komen not to fund any organization that is under investigation by local, state and Federal authorities, knowing full well that Cliff Stearns (R-Fla) had called for investigations regarding funding for Planned Parenthood. “If we just say it’s about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political,” she was quoted.
The backlash to the organization was a reflection not only of its policy decision, but also its poorly nuanced lies.
The three day, hell-like public fury has resulted in the foundations’ decision being reversed and funding continued to women’s health screening for breast cancer, without exception. When faced with the rage of women ‘scorned,’ Komen’s founder, Nancy Brinker, turned to her friend Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to George W Bush.
But given that Komen had spent three days defending itself with ever-changing justifications, Mr. Fleischer apparently passed on the opportunity to act as damage control adviser, and sent Ms. Brinker to an outside crisis management group.
Hopefully, the Komen Foundation will recover from its deservedly bruised reputation, and other organizations will learn from its egregious mistakes. Their mission should be about keeping boobies healthy, not giving boobs like Karen Handel and other representatives a political platform resulting in women scorned by healthcare oppression.
(Author’s addendum: For those readers who might wish to continue supporting breast cancer research through a different group, check out Army of Women.com, a joint project of the Susan Love and AVON foundations)