Inside the Grotesquerie

Sep 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The Republicans hate women; even Republican women hate women. And no, it’s not a contradiction – it’s co-optation. And it’s not all that out of the ordinary. The ultra-patriarchal Nazi Party managed, after all, to co-opt the feminists of 1930s Germany, so it’s been done before and by as misogynist a group as we’re dealing with here. Having women in your ranks does not mean you are not anti-women. It just means women can be as stupid as men.

This war on women is visible all across the spectrum, from women’s health to voting rights.

Much of this unrelenting assault is disguised as being beneficial to women, like South Dakota’s H.B. 1166 “informed consent law,” which informs women of a bunch of lies formulated by an ideologically and religiously driven legislature. A similar attempt to force doctors to lie to women was made in Indiana (House Bill 1210). It doesn’t matter what medical science says; only what ideologically driven legislatures want medical science to say.

But none of these acts are meant to be of benefit to women – not at all – no more than stripping away workers’ rights to collectively bargain protects workers. We are being told all across the political landscape that the way to protect rights is to take them away, that freedom is found in repression, and that just doesn’t make any sense – no person with two brain cells to rub together is going to buy it, either. Which leaves out the Republican base and their candidates.

I call them collectively the grotesquerie, as in a “ludicrous or incongruous unnaturalness or distortion” both in terms of how they attempt to define reality and in respect to the doctrines of their political theology. There are a lot of them – they are not limited to the photos above because there are millions of others, the rank and file, the Republican base ridiculed by Jon Stewart the other day, which must be taken under consideration for membership in this tent full of uglies.

There is no room here to go into the full panoply of Republican and Tea Party “reform” – the crazy pieces of legislature they have put before this country since 2010. In any case, we have done that elsewhere. But a few things stand out. Emily’s List provides what they call “Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women”:

1. Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t yet. Shocker.

2. A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3. In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5. In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6. Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7. And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9. Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10. And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).

I thought I’d add a couple of other items to this already shocking list of outrages.

In Virginia, RH Reality Check reports that “Governor Bob McDonnell found time to issue regulations for first trimester abortion providers that go well beyond any existing regulations seen in other states, including South Carolina, according to the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health.” Apparently, these “draft” regulations “were formulated under an emergency process that bypasses public review and comment periods and standard economic assessments for new regulations and is undemocratic on its face.” They will be put into effect up to 18 months to 2 years in advance of any permanent regulations.

In a blatant attempt to eliminate first trimester abortions, reports RH Reality Check, the regulations “contain what can only be called ridiculous mandates for abortion providers, such as requiring specific sizes of rooms and lengths of hallways which have nothing to do with either patient care or safety.” See also the article in Mother Jones about how these new rules would affect the Falls Church Planned Parenthood Clinic.

It is difficult to see how such obviously punitive laws help women in any way – why does a hallway in which a procedure is not going to be done have to be of a certain length or width? And if it helps women, why the secrecy? Why the Star Chambers where Republicans and Tea Partiers feverishly work to undermine our rights without opening procedures up to public debate?

More recently there is the move in Congress to finish Planned Parenthood off once and for all. All previous attempts having failed, Florida Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns pulling a McCarthy by “using his position on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to launch a full investigation of the reproductive health provider,” including a demand “for twelve years worth of documentation ranging from financial audits to billings to internal company policies and memos.”

As reported by Huffington Post,

After Republican lawmakers tried and failed to defund Planned Parenthood during federal budget negotiations in February, the anti-abortion activist group Americans United for Life released a 30-page report that accused the family planning provider of misusing federal funds, failing to report child sex abuse, assisting sex traffickers and a host of other illegal activities, though similar accusations were made against Planned Parenthood and debunked earlier this year. The purpose of AUL’s report was to convince Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood and revoke its taxpayer funds.

Stephanie Shriock of Emily’s List calls this “the Republican War on Women in its rawest form.”  Watch their video:

Conservatives can claim, as they have in the comments section of this site, that because “two of the most celebrated people in the Conservative movement are women,” and because “Obama did everything he could to destroy a female opponent” that it’s absurd to claim the Republican agenda is to oppress women. They can ask, “Where is the proof of this Republican agenda?”

The proof is all around us. It’s there for all to see. The only options are that the Republican in question is uninformed, ignorant, or dishonest. It’s difficult to see any other options, and none of them are one’s you’d care to hang your hat on. Why anyone would willingly join the grotesquerie is beyond my ken; I can only work to expose their ugliness as I have done here. The rest is up to the voters.

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