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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Contraception Tango

You could almost hear the Obama administration humming "I won't dance, don't ask me."

The last Republican debate featured, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, "Four White, Wealthy Men Talk(ing) About Contraception".

Actually, they were stepping all over each other, trying to get the radical right-wing nut vote - and, money - so one of them could be, ironically enough, 'Leader of the Free World'.

They did this for over fifteen minutes. In a nationally-televised debate. About access to birth control. In the year 2012. From four rich white guys who are also opposed to abortion.

You can't make this stuff up.

Rick Santorum wanted to talk about "the increasing number of children being born out of wedlock in America" and "children being raised by children."

Ron Paul spent some time explaining his belief that "immorality creates the problem" of Americans wanting access to birth control.

Newt Gingrich, saying that he prefers to discuss Obama's support for 'infanticide,' sometimes served as a referee between the other three candidates. "If we're going to debate about who is the extremist on this issues," Gingrich said, "it is President Obama, who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies."

Mitt Romney then did a daring arabesque and, putting his foot right in his mouth (again) said, "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama."

Which is rich, when you think about it for one red-hot second.

Here are the facts on the ground: As part of a plan for preventative health care, the Obama administration is including contraception coverage. This is a decision a clear majority of the country heartily supports - including the majority of Roman Catholic women who use some form of birth control.

Statistics from the CDC and Planned Parenthood report that 98% of women of child-bearing age in this country have used some form of contraceptive method at some point in their lives. One would assume (since no actual figures are available, this being a 'privacy issue') that, since the RC Church likes to tell us that they are the largest Christian denomination in the world, a significant percentage of that 98% are Roman Catholic women.

This would also include women who are part of the movement among conservative Evangelicals known as "Quiverfull" which promotes procreation, and sees children as a blessing from God, eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization.

The administration is exempting churches and other houses of worship, and has crafted a compromise so that religiously-affiliated employers will not have to pay for contraception coverage directly. Instead, insurance companies will have to pick up the bill. If - and that is a big IF - the woman is fortunate enough to actually HAVE a job that actually provides health insurance.

So, this is the biggest "attack" on religious freedom in the history of the United States?"

Reality check, Mr Romney. This is why you're losing your bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

Paul, Santorum, Romney & Gingrich
During the debate, Romney added that Obama is "requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable."

It's unbelievable, sir, because it's not true.

Perhaps you were sitting too close to Mr. Santorum, who, by your own admission, "has a history of making statements that aren't grounded in the truth."

So, let's tell the truth here, shall we? The issue isn't about contraception. Neither is it about a so-called "attack on religious freedom".

It's about votes and money. It's about power and control. It's about selling your soul - or, your mother, or your youngest child, or your dog, or whatever you need to do - to regain the crumbling foothold on the rapidly dwindling dominant social paradigm of "man on top".

What we're witnessing, folks, is the awkward dance between religion and politics which has animated this country since our inception. It's in our DNA.

We've also seen the Feminist Fandango, the Racism Rag, the Abortion Fuge and the LGBT Cha Cha.

It's always performed with a bible in one hand and a fist full of Super-PAC money in the other, all dancing furiously toward the ballot box.

This particular presidential race provides us with our very own version of "Dancing with the Stars".

Actually, it reminds me more of a scene from the movie, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

As Maureen Dowd recently put it, “Every election has the same narrative: Can the strong father protect the house from invaders? That question is burning now that intelligence sources are warning that Iranians might be coming to strike on U.S. soil. And, this time, we’re also asking: Can the strong father save the house itself from going into foreclosure?”

The message of this political-religious dance step is that leader who cannot or will not protect religion appears too weak to protect us from the dangers of the unknown in this age of uncertainty and blurred boundaries.

We want "God the Father" to protect and defend us. We also want "God the Mother" to nurture and tend to us. What we're getting is testosterone on steroids.

These guys are bound and determine to prove that they can protect us from ourselves - which seems to mean protecting us from the full and equal rights of women.

It's embarrassing, really, to see grown men - intelligent, white, well-educated, wealthy, heterosexual men - behave in such desperate ways. You can smell the desperation in every encounter and in every political speech. It smells like the inside of an old running shoe.

At the end of the debate, the candidates were asked how they would describe themselves in one word, the candidates replied with the following:
Paul: 'Consistent.'
Santorum: 'Courageous.'
Romney: 'Resolute.'
Gingrich: 'Cheerful.'
Cheerful? Cheerful? Well, I suppose he had to say something that didn't make him sound too desperate.  I guess he proves the old saying that, "Ignorance is bliss."

Places, everybody. Lace up your dancing shoes. The bad news is that the dance is far from over. In fact, it's really only just begun.

The good news is that, if you pour yourself a stiff bourbon or open a bottle of wine, you might even enjoy parts of the show.

Meanwhile, you can find the President and his administration, over there. On the sidelines. They would be the ones looking cool, calm and collected.

And the women? Well, there will always be the over-enthusiastic cheerleaders with their pom-poms and pony-tails, urging their boys to "Go team! Go!".

The others - the smart ones, anyway - are sitting on the other side of the room, waiting to be asked to dance by the cool guys in the room when the slow dance begins.

Some of the really smart ones have already started a graceful, elegant dance with each other. 

And, a five, six, seven, eight.....


Alan T Perry said...

I like this tango much better.

What are the four guys doing in the photo? Checking themselves for breast cancer?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I LOVE Tom Leher and I had forgotten all about this particular song. What a hoot. I think the political tango is very much what Leher was singing about.

The four clowns are showing how patriotic they are. At least, that's what they want us to believe while simultaneously laying out plans to ruin this country.

Better they should check themselves.