I have a theory. I’ve been trying to understand why today’s Republicans seem to be on the wrong side of everything. From healthcare reform, financial reform, civil rights, foreign policy, public schools, environmental protection….to rape!
My theory was provoked last year during the controversy surrounding insurance provided contraception, but has been exacerbated (has there ever been a better word?) by recent comments from conservative leaders, like Tennessee State Rep. John Ragan, who said, “Homosexuality is just another bad choice that people make, like murder, rape, overeating and prostitution.”
He isn’t alone in his cavalier dismissal of “bad choices” like rape and murder, many other leading Republicans like Texas Senator John Cronyn have stated that a pregnancy resulting from rape is a “gift from God.”
Former presidential candidate and Mouseketeer, Rick Santorum, laid the platform for Cronyn’s statement by saying, “When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.”
At least he called that naughty choice to rape, something “horrible.”
Republican legislators, conservative pundits and s#!t bags like Rush Limbaugh (that is NOT a negative bias! “Limbaugh” literally means “crap sack”…hang on…I’m lying…it is a negative bias…), continue their handcuffing of women with the assertion that access to contraceptives through insurance, denies religious liberty, even though the reality we see, and the reality that precedes us, shows that it will reduce unwanted pregnancies and disease; a result everyone desires.
Many conservatives are taking the sanctimonious position that this “condones” hedonist sex and teen pregnancies. I have to wonder how many times we’re going to catch arch-conservative-anti-gay congressmen roaming Boys Town in stilettos, or evangelical preachers having sex with everyone except who they’re married to, before we realize that repression leads to hypocrisy (and chafing).
Well…maybe not…even a fresh corpse would feign rigor mortis to repel his sweaty advances.
But that’s, more or less, where it ends. I was in college once and guess what? Conservative kids had sex, liberals (of course!), moderates, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Agnostics, Democrats, Republicans and even a few Libertarians had a sort of agrarian form of sex.
It is happening, it always has been and it always will, no matter how hard conservatives preach to change American “morality” back to their fairytale imagination of what it’s supposed to be. Let me get this straight, however…unmarried sex is reprehensible but rape can fall under acceptable parameters?
Oh, I forgot! So, here’s my theory…
Conservatism is based on an ideological fable. Specifically, a moral for the story but not the story itself.
Let me explain, using a different context for the sake of illustration. If America goes to war against Iraq, the reality is that it’s WAR and soldiers will die, civilians will be casualties, property will be destroyed, hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent and trillions lost. Yet, to many, it is the fable of American resolve that matters the most; America defending her freedom; a noble cause to protect our sovereignty and our citizenry; and it cannot be questioned.
On the other side of this ideological fulcrum, however, are people who say we must address the loss of human life; the moral justification for it; the far reaching ramifications that could make things worse; the reality of war. On this side there is no short hand to embrace the ending without first reading the story itself.
In this “war” on contraception, conservatives are playing the same fairytale version of reality. A good example was when Sarah Palin preached abstinence, while her own daughter was having sex behind the band instruments. I’m not picking on Sarah, either. Her story was not an anomaly; it is reality. Making contraception available doesn’t increase the likelihood of teenagers having sex, it just decreases the chances of pregnancy and disease. Teaching and demonstrating responsibility, not abstinence, is what will decrease the probability of teen pregnancy.
The fantastical ideology conservatives embrace says that “America never apologizes!” It believes that “Those who work hard will always succeed!” and it says, “The American Dream can be achieved by anyone who believes in it!”
Liberal ideology, conversely, is rooted in what is actually happening, the story itself; like 17 million children going hungry in a country where some people are so rich they couldn’t spend all of their money in 1000 lifetimes.
The conflict between left and right comes from the fact that we don’t agree on what is “okay” and “not okay” to allow. Personally, I cannot accept any platform that says there are forms of rape that are more allowable than others or where women bear some responsibility for a violent crime inflicted upon them. It is not a moral ending by calling it a “gift from God.”
Furthermore, how we correct the things that we all agree “shouldn’t be allowed” is always at an impasse, as well. One side says, “Just stop it” while the other side says, “It stops only when we correct the things that caused it, otherwise it will happen again.” On the left we believe that we learn from actually reading the story, not just from repeating the moral at the end.
Contraception…a woman’s rights to her body…foreign policy…immigration…its interesting how our “solutions” all follow the same storybook paradigm. Plug any issue into a comparison between a proselytizing moral and reality and you’ll see what I mean. It’s fun…until it’s frustrating.