Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anti-choicers in a heated battle to prove who can hate poor women the most

So now that the Tea Party has proven themselves to be the useful idiots we know them to be by voting the same establishment assholes that screwed up the country back into office, Republicans can now say "thanks, suckers!" and get back to the all important business of hating on groups that don't fit into their definition of "Real Americans".

This week, it's apparently all about the ladies. It started out slow. First it was kind of an amusing "Hey look at this crazy idiot talking about abortion" situation, brought to us by RedState blogger and CNN media whore Erick Son of Erick, who decided to take some downtime from lecturing the Very Serious TV pundits about socialism in order to blog at you because he has something he'd really like you to know: We really need to stop pretending that women are people in this country instead of merely the "physical locations" of fetuses, and if we don't, well, he's totally going to pull out his Photon gun and go all Civil War II on your asses.

Believe it or not, from there it just got worse.

Local governments, empowered by newly elected Republican governors, salivated at the thought of ignoring things like unemployment in favor of passing that anti-choice legislation wishlist they've been carrying in their front pockets for the past few years because fuck you pro-choice liberals that's why.

Even my state, Minnesota, has the culture war fever. Correctly or not, Minnesota is considered a bastion of liberal politics (probably because of this map, which I will admit, is my favorite red state/blue state map ever). But now, for the first time in 40 years, Republicans have managed to take control of both of the legislative bodies of congress. So what will they propose in order to start the dismantling of the entrenched liberal agenda? How about using our favorite emotional knee-jerk issue in order to discriminate against poor women! And the number one issue that is on every Minnesotan's mind: The opportunity to purchase "choose life" license plates in order to funnel taxpayer money away from the state and into the hands of fringe special interest groups!

Republicans on the national level, meanwhile, have decided to pretty much send the "stupid vs evil" meter off the charts by making it a priority to propose the most cynical, divisive, and ugly piece of red-meat legislation we've seen in a while. Redefine rape so that we can force low-income 12 year-old girls that weren't beaten enough during their sexual assault to bear children? Sure, if it pisses of liberals, why the hell not?

The good news is that the language was taken out of the bill. So instead of the requirement that your rape be violent enough to give you financial access to a legal medical procedure, we'll just go back to the old standby that you must get raped in order to gain financial access to a legal medical procedure. Um, yay? You know it's not a great era for reproductive rights when the good outcome is that the language from Hyde Amendment was upheld. Which, guess what? Was the entire point.

See, now that the Republicans have done the reasonable and sensible thing and not redefined the definition of rape, the Democrats are expected to respond in kind and be reasonable and sensible and now support the entire "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act". Never mind that this legislation actually goes farther then Hyde could ever dream of, ensuring that the majority of health insurance plans offered through private employers will not be able to offer abortion coverage. But hey, even if that is an absurd abuse of the health insurance market, they took the forcible rape stuff out, Democrats. Stop being all ungrateful and shit and vote to ensure that abortion will never be covered by insurance and will remain a privilege of the wealthy only.

But where are the Young Republicans? Without them, it's not a real culture war, it's just sitting on your porch and yelling at people to get off your lawn. Luckily for us, James O'Keefe's BFF Lila Rose, who meets the wingnut standards of 'female that is allowed to express opinions by being one part super hot and two parts raging misogynist', has been doing some sleuthing (ie having people dress as pimps again) in regards to those medical clinics that have the audacity to deal with sexual health matters like testing for cancer or STDs. To people like Lila Rose, it's important that these clinics are shut down and leave thousands of women without adequate medical care, because we all know that a purity ring and faith in Jesus will always protect you and there's no reason for anyone to ever see your vagina unless it's to put a baby in it.

It's true, folks. If you loved such hard-hitting journalist triumphs like "ACORN Loves Pimps (especially when they don't and when the pimps aren't actually pimps at all)", "Hey look I can totally make Shirley Sherrod sound like a racist if I edit out the majority of her speech" and "I think it I were to make a rape dungeon and trap some reporter on there it would prove that the mainstream media is totally lame", you are going to love the newest feature featuring a manufactured fake scandal that right-wingers will jump on not matter how absurdly false it is: "Planned Parenthood: Hey look we have footage of one person that we edited the hell out of so that it looks like Planned Parenthood is totally into underage child trafficking".

Sadly, Lila Rose's expose was forced to be released to Fox News a bit prematurely, not fully complete, because wouldn't you know it, that annoying Planned Parenthood that totally aids in child prostitution rings had the nerve to call the FBI to inform them that some crazy assholes were showing up to their clinics talking about child prostitution rings. Bummer. Even worse for Rose, the heavily edited tapes she is slowly leaking out don't actually show the employees doing anything wrong, unless you, like Rose, are under the opinion that (a) clinic workers have a legal duty to withhold information regarding legal rights for minors and (b) it is unethical to not go all John Wayne on people's asses and step into the middle of a potentially explosive situation to perform a citizens arrest.

Not only are these things untrue, they are irresponsible. As Jill over at Feministe points out, this is probably the worst reaction you could have. If the concern was, you know, actually protecting underage girls caught up in sex trafficking rings. But ha! Of course it's not. No one cares about girls once they are born and can't be used to control the sexual behavior of women anymore!

Did I mention that defending Planned Parenthood is on the do list of the Republicans this session? Odd coincidence, that.

And it's only the beginning of February. It was such a nice break from the culture wars for a while, wasn't it? Not that they ever actually went away, but at the very least we got a little bit of distance from the insanity for a few years. But now that Republicans have more political control, it means they actually have to do things in congress again, so of course the culture wars are back. It's all these assholes know how to do. This and tax cuts.

We are falling behind the rest of the world in terms of technology, innovation, and education. Our infrastructure is crumbling around our feet. We are bleeding jobs and no amount of tax cuts are going to bring them back from overseas. We have almost successfully destroyed the middle class in favor of a permanent underclass. We are bound by the whimsy of reckless wall street lobbyists and corporate oligarchies. Yet somewhere, out in the world, there just might be a woman who thinks she can get away with fucking without being punished with disease, pregnancy and forced birth. And this is the focus, which tells you all you need to know about Republican priorities here. Like I've said before - Republicans aren't going to actually do anything about the country's real problems. Because they don't know how. They are incompetent as a governing body. Which is why instead, they choose to go after the weakest, most desperate targets, those in society that are easily thrown aside in favor of scoring some easy, cheap political points. Their incompetence demands that they do so, in order to create the illusion that they can do something.

And they get away with it, time and time again, because this is just one issue few are willing to touch. We are told we have to respect the opinions of those that would re-define rape in order to make it seemingly non-existent, those that use the lives of women as cheap political pawns in order to preserve their own political career, those that lie shamelessly and attack the neediest people in this society while proclaiming themselves to be noble, because, you know, even though they don't seem to care about real, existing people at all, they swear they care about unborn babies.

I just wonder how far we will let them take it.

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