[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
Only a few short weeks into the new year and the GOP is busy. The president's recent inauguration speech got them all fired up.
Within minutes of its conclusion, the right wing went to work. The speech was “an ode to big government” (sayeth Chuck Krauthammer) and not outreachy enough, to paraphrase John McCain, a maverick whom the American people didn't find to be commander-in-chiefy enough to put in the Oval Office.
Of all people, Newt Gingrich praised the speech. I can't tell you how much it would please me if he wore his underwear outside his trousers in public appearances from now on.
President Obama had the audacity to say the word “gay” during the speech. This particular orientation check got the low-level Obama haters all foamy. But shortly before that he said something that no doubt pricked up the ears of the more historically informed members of the GOP and infuriated them:
…We the people declare today that the most evident of truth, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall…
It wasn't the civil rights reference of Selma or the gay-awareness nod of the Stonewall riots of 1968 that ticked them off; Afrophobia and smearing the queer are always sure fundraisers for the think-tanksters. It was the mention of Seneca Falls.
See also: Here Comes a Regular
The Seneca Falls Convention in July 1848 was one of the first organized meetings of American women on the topic of voting rights and other matters of gender equality. At the time of the two-day event, the Civil War and the resulting 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were years away. Probably none of the women in attendance lived to see the 19th amendment pass in 1920, which would have given them the right to vote.
By mentioning Seneca Falls, the president told all women in America that he acknowledges their struggle. Talk about elections having consequences.
The GOP grows more and more unpopular with female voters seemingly every time one of its leaders gets in front of a microphone. Misogynist is as misogynist does. The GOP and its bloviating pundits don't like women and they are unable to hide it, nor do they seem to make much attempt to do so. Repeated use of the word “slut,” the parsing of the word “rape” and their insistence that the vaginal canal has the amazing ability to play good sperm-bad sperm did them serious damage.
To anger female voters in America is to tread on the tiger's tail. Women turn out in huge numbers, and they are well aware of how their bodies work and what they need. Any politician worth his or her weight in re-election would be absolutely insane to mess with them.
Efforts are being made to reshape the GOP and make it more user-friendly, (or at least 30 percent less repellent). Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently told an audience that the GOP must “stop being the stupid party.” You could almost hear the attendees passing around the brain cell to figure out what he meant. It's going to take more than just gerrymandering.
Retooling their not-so-endearing adversarial divide will take a lot of work. It would be like trying to get Ted Bundy elected as president of the Audubon Society. If the GOP really is looking to bring voters to its side, it will have to make some sweeping changes in how it communicates to women in America. I don't think its leaders have what it takes.
The first thing they should do is not talk too often. Say. Less. Words. But they can't leave it alone. Right when the GOP should have been sidestepping its hubris-steeped, poorly framed points of view, John Boehner slams the Dark Ages party bus in reverse and hits the gas. In an on-camera statement he made to the March for Life anti-abortion event, he said their job was to “help make abortion a relic of the past,” and, “Let that be one of our most fundamental goals this year.” Men who say things like this should not use the word “relic.”
Rand Paul, dipshit from Kentucky, got on the mic as well. “Our nation is adrift, adrift in a wilderness where right and wrong have become subservient to a hedonism of the moment. I believe our country is in need of a spiritual cleansing. We [must] preach a gospel so full of compassion, a gospel so full of justice that it cannot be resisted. Then and only then will the law again protect the innocent.”
How about the gospel of Roe v. Wade and minding your own fucking business?
At some point, I concluded that the right wing was anti-abortion because it was pro-consumer. After all, those cigarettes aren't just going to smoke themselves; guns don't shoot bullets, people do (hugs!); and what would the next war look like with no one to fight it? All those empty prison cells, all the Big Macs going uneaten — a nightmare.
It's all that, of course, but there is more: These people hate women. To them, women are murderous sluts when they want health care, uppity feminazis when they dare to consider themselves citizens of the republic, yet totally hot when they are working in porn videos. It seems a little conflicted, but not when you consider that it's all coming from the same place.
It almost amazes me with how much energy the GOP hurls itself at defeat. Rick Perry, the slow-thinking governor of Texas, doesn't like that damned Planned Parenthood one bit! He has been able to keep Texas impervious to the $200 million-plus that Medicaid provides for the state to help economically challenged women. Planned Parenthood is doing its best to turn this around.
There is no “gospel full of compassion” for these people. There is anger and control. They keep telling you. You should believe them.
America is full of 14-year-old girls. What do you think a lot of them will be doing in November 2016?