It Was Never About Life
With news today that Alabama is primed to one-up Georgia as the most bassackward state in the union, it’s time to clarify once and for all what these recent Draconian laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures truly represent:
A message that women are inherently unequal.
This message has been central for Republican ideology over the past half-century. As women began to leave the kitchen, join the workforce, and burn their bras during the 1960s, conservatives in this country got scared. They got scared that women would push back against traditional gender roles. They got scared that children would be raised in a household where both dad AND mom were working parents. They got scared that workplaces would not only hire but promote women to positions of authority, including working in state, local, and perhaps (gasp!) even federal government. They got scared that women would have a mind of their own and actually see their vote as an individual choice rather than an extension of their husband’s political ideology. And they got scared that women would pursue their own sexual freedom, thereby creating a sense that women no longer simply existed to sexually satisfy their husbands when it was required.
That’s what led to days like today.
With Georgia and the soon-to-be-made-official Alabama ban on abortion, it isn’t because Republicans care about the unborn although they will certainly claim it is. The essence of being pro-life is instituting polices that protect those from cradle to grave. Yet pro-life Republicans do not support universal access to pre-K education. They do not support the use of food stamps for struggling new mothers. They do not support expanding health care options to low-income families. They do not support increasing funding for education so all children have equal opportunities to school resources. They do not support climate change legislation that addresses pollution in populated areas. They do not support student loan reform making higher education more accessible to low-income families. Every single policy that would create economic stability for the parents of a newborn child, Republican legislators oppose and to do unapologetically. In this way, Republicans are pro-fetus but they are certainly not pro-life.
But what they are for is the patriarchy. For White supremacy. For forcing women to give birth, even when their life is at stake. For demanding that rapists have visitation rights. For Republicans, women are nothing more than vessels to carry children into the world. They are unworthy of equal pay and family leave. They should be seen and not heard. Republicans long for the day when women were pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen. For them, when they say “Make America Great Again” there is a clear vision of women in this way. Donald Trump views Melania this way. Mike Pence’s twisted Dominionist views have him refer to his own wife as “Mother” showing exactly how he views his spouse. Roy Moore openly preyed on young girls and this caused prominent Republicans to not only refuse to denounce his behavior but actually double down on their support for him. And let none of us forget that there is still a Republican base who gleefully wants to lock up Hillary Clinton simply because she has a vagina.
Donald Trump will eventually be gone. But the half-century long culture war will rage on. Today’s Republican Party views 51% of the population as less than human. As less worthy of rights. As less worthy of constitutionally-guaranteed protections. As less worthy of bodily autonomy. These views should not only enrage every single woman but every single man as well. What Republicans are saying is that our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters are less valuable human beings. They are saying that unborn babies should be protected at all costs while the lives of women, mothers, sisters, and daughters are expendable. That is the message they are sending loud and clear. It is a message that is sick, twisted, perverted, and absolutely asinine in America in the year 2019.
And it is a message we damn well better take back to Republicans in the voting booth in 2020.
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