Are you baffled? I'm baffled. The Blunt amendment and the recent attacks on a woman's right to contraception seem so out-of-place, so outrageous, completely surreal. Since when have Republicans become so sex-fearing, women-fearing, freedom-fearing? Wait—they always have been. But what madness makes Republicans think this will help them in their presidential bid? What madness makes them think they can return the country to some mythological Beaver Cleaver world, before Martin Luther King, bra-burning, and the pill.
Republicans have been on the defensive for years. First, there was the attack on their integrity—Watergate, Vietnam, Bork, Iran-contra. Then the attack on the white male culture with civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights. With the advent of the pill (1960), and Women's right to choose an abortion, Roe vs. Wade (1973), women soon were free to do everything a man could do.
Republicans are attempting to repeal the 1960s. Isn't it a bit late in the game?
In 2008, Rick Santorum said “Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. They prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom. All of the things are about sexual freedom, and they hate to be called on them. They try to somehow or other tie this to the founding fathers’ vision of liberty, which is bizarre. It’s ridiculous. That’s at the core of why you are attacked.”
In Santorum's mind everything wrong about “liberals” is about sexual freedom. The question is why the entire Republican party has glommed onto this idea.
The Bork amendment was not really about contraception, but about religious freedom versus government—should the government demand that all insurance companies pay for female contraception. But Rush Limbaugh got involved, personally attacking Sandra Fluke, a young woman who desired to testify before the congressional committee considering the contraception mandate, referring to her as a “slut” and “prostitute.” Now the whole country has the impression that Republicans hate women.
When men feel that they are losing political and economic control, they resort to sexual repression.
In 1494, Charles VIII of France took over Florence, Italy, and used the conservative cleric Savonarola to solidify power. Savonarola purged the city burning books, outlawing homosexuality and sodomy, torturing women and other misfits. Eventually the city had enough, and executed him in 1497. Take the Spanish Inquisition of 1480, fueled by the monarch's desire to increase political authority, weaken opposition, suppress Jews and Muslims, and to profit from confiscating the property of convicted heretics. The Counter Reformation in 1545 was not merely the Catholic church's reaction against its loss of power, but against the sectarian city, independence, and progressive thinking. Or the Salem witch trials in 1692, born of local politics, a desire for power.
What other regressive culture is anti-women, anti-gay, anti-sex? Islamic fundamentalism. Both ideologies seem to be growing despite the prevailing culture of the world.
All forms of tyranny start by suppressing freedom of speech and sexual freedom.
Now the Republicans are defending the police handling of the Trayvon Martin case, a clearly indefensible case of homicide and racism.
It suddenly becomes clear to me what this attack on women is all about. The white male dominated culture is terrified of losing power. They cannot attack blacks and Latinos directly, so they attack women. They cannot overtly say they hate Obama because he's black, so they shoot down even his most modest proposals. Repeal of tax breaks for oil companies? Republicans in the Senate shot it down.
Desperate, the Republican party has gone further right than even its most conservative constituents.
Republican ideology has been gasping for air since the sixties. With Bush and the tea party, they hoped to make a comeback, but it won't happen. Women are not going to give up their rights, nor are minorities, nor are gays. The US will not become a theocracy. We will not stand by and let good-ole-boy law enforcement protect racist crimes.
Get over it guys. The world has changed.
The paradox. The United States is still the country with the most freedom and most opportunity. Yet, it is also the most puritanical and sexually repressed of the western countries. Noodle on that one.