I have to first apologize to Danielle, she was subjected to a prolonged rant on this very subject last night. But the more I think about this, the more it bothers me.
The right-wing in this country has won. They have won because they have become masters of pushing the conversation in their desired direction. Let me give a few examples.
In the early 2000’s, we had, and in many ways continue to have a debate over the methods of torture that our country engages in. The right-wing was able to push the conversation so far to the right, that we began, as a nation of laws to debate not whether we would engage in torture, but which methods we were OK with. The Right Won.
We see this same dynamic taking place with the debate over abortion. The United States Constitution, affirmed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, guarantees the right of choice. Regardless of your personal beliefs on abortion, the ultimate decision lies with the woman who is carrying the pregnancy.
What the right-wing has successfully done is push the conversation so far to the right, thanks to Todd “Legitimate Rape” Aiken, Richard “God intended for you to get pregnant, even if you were raped” Mourdock and Paul “It doesn’t matter how it happened, pregnant is pregnant” Ryan, we as a nation are talking about which/any exceptions (rape, incest and the health of the mother) are acceptable for a woman to seek an abortion. By framing the debate in a way that the discussion isn’t about a woman’s constitutional right to a safe abortion, but should we outlaw all abortions, or allow them only in certain cases.
There are at least 15 people running for the U.S. Senate this year who would seek to make it illegal for a woman to abort a pregnancy, regardless of the manner in which she became pregnant. My problem, and the purpose of this post is to point out the success of the right win in framing the debate on these topics.
A separate, and equally important aspect of this debate is the hypocrisy of the right-wing as it relates to the role of government in our lives. The right-wing position on the role of government requires an incredible feat of mental gymnastics. Republicans would simultaneously seek to shrink the role of government in regulating the economy (the exact thing that led us to the brink of complete financial collapse in 2008) and growing the role of government in regulating what takes place in a woman’s uterus. The party of personal freedom and individual responsibility would seek to take the choice out of the hands of the individual in place it in the hands of the government. In what universe does this make sense?
I went off so loudly and forcefully on this subject yesterday that this post feels like a cheap carbon copy of what I had to say. I edited my thoughts intentionally. I am not seeking to debate whether a woman should or should not have the right to choose, I am not that stupid. There are two points to this post, and neither of them is to argue the right of women to choose.
Point one is that the right-wing has mastered the art of pushing the debate so far to the right that what we ultimately end up debating is something that initially would have seemed unthinkable.
Point two is the hypocrisy of “small-government” Republicans.
When Danielle and I talked about this yesterday, it is safe to say I went on a rant. I am glad I didn’t write then what I said.