It became clear to me shortly after writing my last article (1) that among the many crazy ideas espoused by many of its Tea Party candidates, the Republicans have a special focus in mind if elected. Republicans have simmered in anger for over 40 years at the progress of the women's equal rights movement. Finally, now, in 2010, they feel comfortable enough to run on a broad spectrum of policies that are blatantly anti-women's rights.
My last article mentioned that:
"While we are accustomed to Republican candidates being against a woman's right to have an abortion, five high-profile Tea Party Republican SENATE candidates, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ken Buck of Colorado, Joe Miller of Alaska, Sharron Angle of Nevada, and Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, are even against a woman's right to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest! Women would have to have their rapists baby. Girls raped by an uncle or cousin or their fathers would have to give birth to a child from a resulting pregnancy."
There are a few updates to that. I also found out that the GOP's NY Governor hopeful, Carl Paladino, is also for outlawing abortion for women even in the case of rape and incest. The reason that is so important is that if somehow, Roe v. Wade were overturned, the states would have the right to allow or prohibit abortion. With Paladino at the helm, New York's women would have no right to an abortion in virtually any situation. To say that this is out of touch with the wishes of the women of New York is an understatement.
I also found out that several Republican candidates, Ken Buck running for Senate in Colorado among them, want to limit the contraceptive options available to women.
We already know from data that the reason that women do not get equal pay for equal work has to do with family issues and planning. Women tend to outperform their male colleagues in pay up to the time they start a family and then they fall behind. Women who opt to never have families go on earning more than their male colleagues.
If you add restrictions on abortion and contraception to that equation, you are going to push the progress of women's equality back to what it was in the 1950's. Women are going to be reduced to having no choice but to be stay at home mothers taking care of their families. There is nothing wrong with that role for women AND men who choose it, but to have it forced on anyone because of restricted family planning options is criminal.
From their rhetoric, it's also clear that Republicans are back to wanting to punish women for having sex outside of marriage and want to trap women into having children if they dare to have sex either inside or outside of marriage. They want to destroy women's ability to plan a family and thus plan a career around their family plans.
By now some of you probably think I am exaggerating. It isn't possible, some of you are thinking, that Republicans really want to punish women for pre-marital sex. You would be wrong. This is what North Carolina Senator Jim DeMint had to say on the subject:
"[I]f someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend -- she shouldn't be in the classroom." (2)
First I should mention that DeMint, who is a Tea Party favorite, also opposes a women's right to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest but let's take a look at something that immediately jumped out at me in DeMint's statement here. The unmarried woman is singled out as someone who shouldn't be allowed to teach, but DeMint said nothing about the man. The Republicans are back to considering unmarried women who have sex 'whores' but unmarried men who have sex are just fine and probably in the GOP world considered good old boy studs.
As batty crazy as they seem, DeMint, and Angle and Paladino and Buck are far from alone in the GOP in having these positions. Compared to some other Republicans, you could even consider them more moderate. Republicans like Daniel Webster who is running against incumbent Democrat Alan Grayson in Florida's 8th congressional district. Webster belongs to a religious institute that:
"seeks to impose stoning as a form of capital punishment for crimes including murder, adultery, "heresy," and "witchcraft." (3,4)
I thought Republicans were against Sharia law? They seem to bring it up a lot as a bad thing, particularly on the big Republican blogs like Free Republic. Now they want to bring a Christian version of Sharia to life in the US?
Bill Gothard, the head of this group Webster is a member of called "Institute For Basic Life Principles" says that "women must be "submissive" and "obedient" to their husbands." and "The man's wife and his children are to submit to his authority... A man is the lover and leader. (The wife's) role is to trust God to supply her needs through the leadership of her husband and to serve with him and fulfill his needs." (3,4)
Regarding Gothard, the St. Petersburg Times notes that Webster is "...an enthusiastic supporter. His six children learn at home, taught by his wife, Sandy, using the institute's curriculum. The family, which also is active in its Orlando Baptist church, has participated in numerous institute seminars over the years.
Now, we have all been down this road with crazy churches and pastors. I am willing to completely discount this issue with Webster if he comes out and says that while he likes some of what the church teaches, he disagrees with the role the church ascribes to women. I would accept it if he says that and so should everyone else in my humble opinion. The question is, will he say that? I don't think he will. I think this years crop of loony Republicans believes in things like what the "Institute for Basic Life Principles" teaches and they think they can get away with openly advocating them.
As I am accustomed to dealing with right wing talking points, I know that one of the counterpoints to this article will be that Republicans are running a fair amount of women's candidates this year. We're supposed to be impressed by that even though Democrats have been running women longer and have many more elected to the House and Senate. You don't get points for running candidates from a discriminated-against class if those candidates are advocates for continuing the discrimination. Candidates like Nevada's Sharon Angle and Delaware's O'Donnell are for all of the worst of the anti-women initiatives. This kind of thing is nothing new, slavery had overseers, the concentration camps had Kapos, South Africa had black policemen, etc. There are always traitors to a descriminated-against class seeking equality. So no, any GOPers reading this, that counter-argument will not work.
There is no question that the Republicans also plan to attack the poor, the middle class, Hispanics, Muslims and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities if elected and those attacks should not be minimized nor am I attempting to do so here. However, the Republicans/Tea Partiers have a special place in their hearts for the systematic dismemberment of all that has been done to try to ensure women have equal opportunities at a career and equal standing in the home and society. Republicans aren't even trying to hide that they intend to do this. If women do not want to lose everything they have achieved in the last 40-60 years, they need fight to ensure that as few Republicans win seats this year as possible.
(1) "2010 Election - A Democratic Momentum Shift Begins to Materialize", OpEdNews, http://www.opednews.com/articles/2010-Election--A-Democrat-by-Steven-Leser-100928-552.html
(2) "DeMint addresses conservative issues at Spartanburg church rally", Spartanburg Herald Journal, http://www.goupstate.com/article/20101002/ARTICLES/10021004/1002/SPORTS04?p=2&tc=pg
(3) "Alan Grayson's GOP Opponent Directly Tied to Christian Group That Wants Permanent Subordination of Women", Alternet, http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/09/29/alan-graysons-fl-republican-opponent-tied-to-biblical-stoning-movement-aka-christian-reconstructionism/
(4) St. Petersburg Times, Feb 16, 1997