I am continually surprised at how some elected individuals are willing to insult almost half of the voting population. I’m not weighing in on whether there is a “War on Women” by the conservative party, I’m looking into ‘why’ there is such a concerted effort to turn back the clock when it comes to women. It either shows how little respect they have for women, or how much they are beholden to the religious right, or how low they’ll go to keep the white, redneck voter.
First, I don’t for a minute believe that (most) republicans don’t have respect for the women in their lives. Easily half of the republicans I have known have been women.
Women who believe in equal rights, fair pay, and equal protection under the law for the fairer sex. I’ve known both sides of the GOP base, the wealthy and educated, and the low to middle-income, hard-working “we-don’t-need-no-education” side. They are all, as with people everywhere, (mostly) good people, and I’d say that less than a quarter of their men slap them around these days. Forty years ago that number was much higher.
Now granted, while recent republican actions show a great dis-respect for women as… a group, or a concept, they don’t really carry it over to their own wives and daughters. See Dick Cheney on same-sex marriage. Or see the ‘blue collar patriot’ guy whose wife works as a nursing aide in a catholic hospital and has to pay cash for her migraine medicine, which, because it can also be used as birth control, the insurance doesn’t have to cover.
I know this quote was shocking to many. I’m not shocked at all. I know lots of Lindsey Graham’s angry white guys who think that date rape isn’t rape at all, and moreover they think it unfair and highly prejudicial to hold them responsible for using Rohypnol (roofies) or alcohol to incapacitate a girl before using her. Seriously. Here in America in 2012.
You know them too, they are the ones who cheer at the thought of letting an uninsured accident victim die by the side of the road. They are the ones who boo the Marine who fought three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, but is also gay. Or especially if lesbian.
So Todd Akin’s comment stems from his threatened republican male psyche, reeling from the social progress of the sixties and seventies, resenting the changes in societal norms, yearning for the good ol’ days of the ‘50’s when men were men and women did what they were told and then kept their mouths shut about it. Akin’s type, bolstered by hate trumpeter Rush Limbaugh, is sure of the notion that “feminazi’s” are now taking our jobs and then taking advantage of us by crying rape after the fact, when it really isn’t rape at all (well, from the rapists point of view, anyway).
And that BS about doctors telling him that the female body “has a way of shutting down a pregnancy from rape” (if legitimate, wink-wink)… that’s just the continuation of the abortion fight. After all, there’s no need for abortion in case of rape if there’s no pregnancy that can result. Facts are beside the point.
Combine the two in a public speaker, the GOP and the Religious Right mentality, and you get quotes from Todd Akin, Pat Robertson, Michelle Bachman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum ad infinitum, that make absolutely no sense at all in a modern age. Here’s one that both fits and makes a nice segue:
“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.” –Pat Robertson
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but among other things this year (not jobs), the republicans in Congress have:
– failed to renew the Violence against Women act;
– vowed to repeal the Ledbetter Fair Pay for Women Act;
– introduced more bills designed to limit a woman’s choice over her body than any other Congress in history;
– attacked Planned Parenthood because low-income women are the main users.
This years Republican Party platform calls for the end of the Federal Student Loan program. The fact that women now outnumber men going to college might just be coincidence.
But I don’t think so.
Why pick on girls? See the Pat Robertson quote above. There are others.
But I am a male, so these things aren’t about me. Yeah, right.
I’m a father, and I have daughters. So these things really set me off.
Call me crazy, but I think my daughters should have the same rights as my sons; the same opportunities, the same consideration before the law, the same protections in society and the workplace.
Know what? Dick Chaney does too. Todd Akin does too.
Pat Robertson… not so much.
It didn’t happen for my mother’s generation, and even between siblings in my family there are big differences in the gender opportunities and access that were available to us during and after high school.
But our kids deserve better. Our parents believed that, and we got better than they had. We believed that, and our children got better than we did.
Now that our children are adults, they need to believe it as well. The clocks should run forward, not back.
The Religious Right
In the late 1970’s, a Christian based political movement gained momentum and even ran candidates for President. Their goal was to transform our government into one that ran on the principles of the Christian interpretation of the Bible.
Around the same time, the GOP picked up most of the southern white males (and by default, their women and subsequent generations) who couldn’t stomach the thought that blacks had equal rights, and they blamed the Democrats for giving them away.
“But here’s the thing about rights-they’re not actually supposed to be voted on. That’s why they’re called rights.” — Rachel Maddow
That also means that rights can’t be ‘given’ away, only recognized. Now think about that for second…
Anyway, when the Moral Majority couldn’t get elected by the majority of the people, they threw in with the GOP, in a grand bargain to reshape America in their own image. They wanted Roe v. Wade gone. They wanted mandatory prayer back in the schoolroom, the Ten Commandments back in the courtroom and the Bible in our bedroom. The GOP had the political organization to make it happen.
The GOP wanted, as always, breaks for the corporate and wealthy, mostly in the way of deregulating governmental oversight of business practices. The kind of business practices that used sweatshops and child labor. The kind of business practices that caused Love Canal, and the BP oil spill. Business hates regulations, because safety, ours and that of their employees, cuts into profits. It’s not personal or anything. It’s just capitalism.
The GOP’s problem had been there were not enough voting American’s that benefited from perks to the wealthy and corporate. They needed votes, and Moral Majority ones would be just fine. Or so it seemed at the time.
Since the normal democratic process wasn’t working for them, they would attack through the back door. The fact that the majority of Americans didn’t want what they were peddling was of no consequence, because they believe they know what’s best for all of us.
The key for both was to fight a progressive Congress by stacking the judicial system with religious conservative minded judges who would rule in their favor against ‘liberal’ laws.
The key was to get a President elected who could appoint Supreme Court Justices that would decide for conservative and religious causes, and last for years after that President was gone.
Then they both started screaming about ‘left wing activist judges’ who were turning America into a godless, socialist State.
There’s a word that describes what the Religious Right is trying to do: Dominionism. No, it’s not trying to be like Canada. If only…
It’s trying to change our government, from the inside, to one that governs according to Biblical concepts. Think Sharia law (laws and justice based on Muslim holy scriptures), only with Evangelical Christians for Imam’s and Ayatollahs, and with the Bible instead of the Quran.
Both call for stoning people to death in a number of rather minor instances.
I’m all for living by Christian values, a quick read through this blog reveals that I believe in feeding the hungry, and in charity for the poor, and in helping those in need.
But then there’s this:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
That’s the First Amendment to the Constitution, the first of what is known as the Bill of Rights. Our rights.
Which makes Dominionism more than un-Constitutional. It’s anti-Constitution.
Which makes it anti-America… so I’m 100% against it.
Here’s a little bit why…
The Pilgrims (1620) came here to get away from state enforced religion.
Protestants under Roger Williams (1636) did too.
As did most of the Irish. We were taught in school that it was the potato famine (1840) that brought them to America. They didn’t tell us that the ‘famine’ only affected the catholic Irish, or that most of the food grown in Ireland during the famine was shipped to England, by the Protestant government, intentionally, in an effort to literally starve more catholics to death, in the name of both God and Country. Today we’d call that genocide.
It was State religion, in this case Anglicanism, which drove our ancestors here to found a better place.
The Founding Fathers were open in their expressions of their individual faith, and clear in their intention that religion has no place in the governing of a free people.
The Constitution is clear that we are free to worship as we please, and that there will be no State religion to say otherwise.
The concerted efforts by the GOP to pass legislation and use judicial activism to press their religious views on the rest of America crosses that line between individual religious freedom and State enforced religion. Their actions are, at their core, un-American.
Joseph McCarthy never found the Red threat he thought was trying to take down our American system of government from the inside. I say he was just forty years early and looking for the wrong Reds.
In America, we are free to go (or not) to the Church of our choice, even one that uses an interpretation of the Bible of it’s choice, or even no Bible at all.
In America, we are free to proselytize, preach, give testimony, or witness to anyone who will listen.
But in America, we are not free to force others to listen, to make others go to our church, to make others say the Lord’s Prayer our way, to tell others who they can’t marry, or to make others also keep their women down.
Those that champion laws that enforce religious belief are free to live here as they believe, yet they would force our compliance with laws when we do not share their belief.
They are even free to make laws making the rest of us live their way. Even bad laws can and have been passed. But they should not stand. The First Amendment is quite clear and the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.
We have a judicial system that is designed to protect the majority from the whims of a minority. As we’ve seen above, that system has been the target of an agenda that has the clear goal of subverting the Constitution in order to make all Americans live their way.
And that’s where the grand bargain falls apart. The “I’m a little bit business, I’m a little bit evangelical” marriage between the GOP and the moral majority hits the wall right here.
You see, the people who make up the wealthy and corporate GOP base are Catholics and Methodists and Agnostics and Presbyterians and Mormons and Lutherans and Jews and various flavors of Baptist and Christian other than Evangelical. They could tolerate the fringe ideas as long as they were walking down the same path to mutual power. But now that they’ve come to the ultimate fork in the road, taking the step to Dominionism leaves them out in the cold with the rest of us masses.
And you know how much the wealthy and corporate hate being mingled with us masses.
Some of the uncharacteristic dysfunction we see this year from the GOP is, in my mind, a result of the growing divide between the religious right and those traditional conservatives who have begun to realize that they’ve been working against their own interests by helping those who, in the name of God, want to infringe on other people’s rights.
Thomas Jefferson said,
“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty.”
…. yes, even that of the wealthy and corporate.
Meanwhile, know whom you vote for, know what they stand for, and vote for those who believe in a diverse and free Country over those who want us all to be the same.
Because there is no freedom in all of us having to be the same.