Skip to comments.GOPís culture war disaster: How this week highlighted a massive blind spot
Posted on 07/03/2014 11:51:01 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Why are womens rights stalling even as other societal advances are made? The answer is a disaster for the right.
Progressives often comfort themselves that while theyre losing a lot of economic battles, at least theyre winning the so-called culture wars. New Yorks Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a staunch proponent of both gay marriage and tax cuts for the wealthy, symbolizes that political paradox for the left. But lately its impossible not to notice that even our culture war victories are uneven. They mostly involve gay rights, particularly marriage equality, and rarely womens rights.
In the same few years that one state after another has legalized gay marriage, with occasional help from the Supreme Court, dozens of states have restricted abortion, and contraception has become controversial and divisive in a way it hasnt since the Supreme Courts Griswold v. Connecticut ruling almost 50 years ago. On the heels of the courts awful Hobby Lobby decision Monday came welcome word that a judge had struck down Kentuckys gay marriage ban. There have been plenty of bittersweet days like that over the last year.
I dont mean to pit women against the LGBT community, or suggest one side is winning at the expense of the other. Women make up at least half of LGBT folks, so their advances are advances for womens rights, and many barriers to their freedom and full equality remain. But why, when womens concerns stand alone, are their rights so often abridged?
Ive come to believe that the difference exists because, except for far right religious extremists and outright homophobes, marriage equality is, at heart, a conservative demand letting gays and lesbians settle down and start families and have mortgages just like the rest of us will contribute to the stability of families and society. In his 1989 essay Here comes the groom: The (conservative) case for gay marriage, Andrew Sullivan argued that marriage would foster social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence, particularly among gay men too often viewed through the lens of partying and promiscuity.
Twenty years later Ted Olson updated those ideas in his wildly influential The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage, as he took up the challenge to Californias Proposition 8 with David Boies, arguing same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Not all conservatives celebrate marriage equality, not yet, but many have come to agree with Sullivan and Olson.
That just points up the fact that advancing female autonomy and freedom, by contrast, is still perceived as threatening and undermining to family and society, particularly when it involves (as it always essentially does) issues of sexual freedom. The Hobby Lobby decision, and the conservative reaction to it, made this dynamic particularly and depressingly clear. Some pundits hailed its implications for religious liberty, but a whole lot of them welcomed it as a rebuke to slutty females having sex on their dime.
Sexually insecure sad sack Erick Erickson tweeted, My religion trumps your right to employer subsidized consequence free sex. Utah Sen. Mike Lee hailed the decision for giving employers the freedom not to subsidize something that is largely for recreational behavior, not procreation. Bill OReilly tool Jesse Watters called it a setback for Beyonce voters (Way to get race in there too, Jesse!) who depend on government because theyre not depending on their husbands. (Somebody should tell Watters that Mrs. Carter appears to depend on her husband quite comfortably, thank you very much).
Even the courts decision in Harris v. Quinn betrayed a blinkered view of women as an underclass of workers who lack basic rights especially when they work in the home. Were moving fast on marriage equality, but when it comes to questions of work, family, sexuality and womens equality, we are still fighting the culture wars of the 1960s. And women are still losing ground. Yes, Republicans are also losing political ground, as women recognize the partys retrograde views and flee. But its not clear that women can be mobilized fast enough to protect their own rights.
* * *
In her withering dissent from the Hobby Lobby ruling, Ginsberg quotes the courts 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, which affirmed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives, Justice Sandra Day OConnor, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote for the majority. More than two decades later, both of those abilities to participate equally and control their reproductive lives are still widely contested for women.
Justice Samuel Alito worked so assiduously to narrow the implications of the courts Hobby Lobby ruling that he made its disrespect for womens health, privacy and autonomy even more obvious and outrageous. The decision, he wrote, concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employers religious beliefs.
Oh, thank god: Men wont lose any of their access to healthcare coverage under the ruling. (In fact, Hobby Lobbys insurance covers Viagra and vasectomies.)
The ruling wont let corporations practice racial discrimination, either, even if their religion somehow justified it, Alito assured us. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal. Apparently Alito doesnt think the HHS contraception mandate is tailored to achieve a compelling interest or a critical goal. Though he notes that HHS asserts that the contraceptive mandate serves a variety of important interests, Alito is unconvinced. [M]any of these are couched in very broad terms, such as promoting public health and gender equality.
Gender equality pshaw! One wonders if Alito also put public health in quotes because he knows HHS is really only talking about womens health.
How did it happen that the only issue on which religious liberty trumps existing employment law, for the courts conservative majority, is the issue that pertains to womens freedom and sexuality? By emphasizing how narrowly tailored the courts decision is, Alito only underscored its sexist radicalism. But thats fitting. From the beginning, the entire controversy over the ACAs contraceptive mandate served to highlight the backlash against womens freedom weve endured in the last few decades.
Discomfort with womens sexuality and autonomy was made plain in the earliest debate over the ACAs contraception coverage. From Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut for supporting the mandate, to Mike Huckabee lamenting that Democrats were using it to appeal to women who cant control their libidos, the outrage and abuse exposed the deep fear of womens freedom at the heart of the modern conservative movement. We saw it throughout the 2012 Republican primary campaign, when candidates competed over who could more alarmingly blame our economic troubles on the breakdown of the family, and particularly, the rising numbers and power of single women who by the way, tend to vote Democratic.
When the family breaks down, the economy breaks down, Rick Santorum told us, as he promised to be a president whod talk about the dangers of contraception, which provides a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. Apparently how things are supposed to be involves a husband, a wife and nothing but sweet, sweet procreative love. Long before Hobby Lobby voiced its religious objections to the contraception mandate, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele opposed it for marginalizing men.
You have effectively absolved the male of any responsibility in the relationship with this woman, he complained on MSNBCs Hardball. Its not just about giving women access to contraception. Its about the responsible behavior that goes with that access. He went on: Its nice for Barack Obama to tell women, I got your back. Here, have a pill But Im saying its also this other piece that doesnt get talked about in terms of the responsibility of fathers, or potential fathers, in this relationship.
To conservatives, the contraceptive mandate wasnt the ACAs only controversial womens health benefit; they also found fault with its requiring that all insurance policies offer maternity coverage. The party that allegedly stands for motherhood and all that is holy was outraged that maternity care became a basic right for the insured, and that women no longer pay higher premiums than men. North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers ridiculed former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for making maternity coverage universal, asking at a congressional hearing, Has a man ever delivered a baby? Ellmers was effectively supporting the transfer of millions of dollars of wealth back from women to men, by pushing to liberate men from having to subsidize baby making or womens health in any way.
But its not that conservatives think women shouldnt get any help at all with the financial burden of child-bearing, or of maintaining all those extra-special body parts that keep the entire human species alive. They deserve help from their husbands. Bill OReillys dudebro assistant Jesse Watters probably put it best after the Hobby Lobby decision, when he trashed Beyonce voters all the single ladies! who depend on government because theyre not depending on their husbands. See, its your husband, not Barack Obama, who should be saying (in Michael Steeles words), I got your back. Here, have a pill. And if you dont have a husband? Well, dont have sex, and you wont need that pill.
Oh, and if your husband is Rick Santorum? You might not get that pill anyway.
* * *
These backward attitudes dont reflect majority opinion. On abortion, on the contraception mandate, on womens rights generally, Americans remain broadly supportive of measures to allow women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation, to use Sandra Day OConnors words from Casey.
But the far right learned to use the fear unleashed by the necessary and long overdue changes that began in the 1960s and 70s to power a political backlash that were still fighting today. The liberation of women seemed to coincide with the unraveling of family life an increase in divorce rates and single parenthood; even married moms left their children for the workplace. Instead of trying to understand the social and economic forces behind those changes, the project of the so-called New Right was to turn back the clock and push those women back into the home. In the reddest precincts of America, the same fear and dread animates conservative voters to this day.
Interestingly, if we cant pinpoint the exact moment when progress for women stopped accelerating, we can identify a major one: when Richard Nixon vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development Act in 1972. Until that point, Nixon had gone along with the expansion of government that had its roots in the Progressive movement and the New Deal. He signed bills establishing the Environmental Protection and Occupational Safety and Health agencies. He pioneered federal affirmative action. He pushed healthcare reform that looked a lot like Obamacare. Two out of three Supreme Court justices he appointed supported the majority in Roe v. Wade.
But Nixon drew the line at a bill that would massively subsidize childcare, even though it passed the Senate 63-17. For the Federal Government to plunge headlong financially into supporting child development would commit the vast moral authority of the National Government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against [sic] the family-centered approach, he wrote in a veto message.
If you want to understand the expansion of the low-wage economy, the stagnation of family income and the erosion of the middle class since then, its all there in the attitudes that led to Nixons veto (the message was crafted by Pat Buchanan, by the way). Whether by choice or necessity, women were moving into the labor force, and the country faced a decision: to make it easier for them and their families, or to make it harder. Mostly, we chose harder.
Unlike other developed nations, we never developed any kind of widely available subsidized childcare or preschool. We have no federal paid family leave. Most of the work that women used to do in their own home from childcare to caring for sick or elderly family members is now done by other women, many of color, who dwell in a low-wage, rarely unionized, shadow economy. Until recently, many workplace protections didnt apply to them, because they were working in the home, not a factory. Its as though society said: If women wont do those jobs for free in their own homes any longer, we sure as hell wont pay the women who replace them a living wage, or respect them as workers doing work that we value.
Or at least thats what SCOTUS just said in Harris v. Quinn. Plaintiff Pam Harris was just a mom fighting to stop the threat of unionization in a family home, who sued the state of Illinois to avoid having to pay union dues out of funds she gets from Medicaid to care for her disabled son. Listen closely to the rhetoric of Harris and her supporters, and you could hear echoes of Nixon railing against communal approaches vs. the family centered approach. Harris is a vestige of a time when caring for everybody young, old, disabled was done by women, unpaid, in the home, and shes a hero to people who think things should still be that way.
Of course, Harris is the ultimate free rider, not just on the labor movement but on the womens movement, since shes taking Medicaid dollars and being paid, for womens work, as her sons attendant. The Fox reporter who interviewed Harris about her Supreme Court victory Monday closed his segment by declaring that now, thank god, nobody could say this home on the Illinois/Wisconsin border is somehow a union shop.
Thats just the kind of phony issue the right used in the 70s fear of a world grown cold, a house thats no longer a home, where moms demand money to do work they once did out of love if they bother doing any of that work at all.
* * *
The contrast between the status of gay rights and womens rights was made particularly stark in this Huffington Post piece, In Wreckage of Supreme Court Decision, Gay Rights Groups See Hope. The limited way Alito crafted the Hobby Lobby decision, LGBT leaders believe, meant it couldnt be used to duck anti-discrimination laws or an executive order implementing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) they are pressing President Obama to issue soon. (Although on the heels of the Hobby Lobby ruling, evangelical megachurchman Rick Warren is asking the president to carve out a broad religious exemption from ENDA.)
That the Hobby Lobby ruling doesnt hobble anti-discrimination law is good news for progressives. We all want to see the realm of freedom expanded. But I wish Ted Olsons next essay would be The Conservative Case for Womens Equality. Thirty years ago, it wouldnt have been hard to imagine. Not long ago, issues of womens freedom had bipartisan support. George H.W. Bush sponsored Title X family planning legislation that was signed by Richard Nixon, and Planned Parenthood was once the cause of Republican women from Barbara Bush to Peggy Goldwater to Ann Romney. But now women are scapegoats, the menacing agents of change whove unraveled society. In the neo-feudal worldview of the modern right, they must provide the free labor in the home as well as the force that civilizes men and shackles them to marriage and wage labor.
No less an eminence than Rafael Cruz Sr. put it this way recently:
As God commands us men to teach your wife, to teach your childrento be the spiritual leader of your familyyoure acting as a priest. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many Christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife. Why? Because the man had abdicated his responsibility as priest to his family So the wife has taken up that banner, but thats not her responsibility. And if Im stepping on toes, just say, Ouch.
Ouch indeed. Cruz Sr. is twice-divorced, by the way, so that old priest to the family thing is not working out too well for him. No one has bothered to ask Sen. Ted Cruz what he thinks about his father (and mentors) backward views of women.
But such patriarchal ravings arent limited to the pulpit. Just last month the Washington Post published an Op-Ed originally headlined: One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married, by University of Virginia sociology professor Brad Wilcox. Replying to the Twitter activism around violence against women in the wake of Elliot Rodgers misogynistic killing spree, Wilcox and his team opined: The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies. The Post changed the display copy to the not much better One way to end violence against women? Married dads. The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer with fewer boyfriends around their kids.
Not only must women turn to their husbands for contraception (if he deigns to believe in it); they need husbands to avoid being raped, beaten or murdered. A woman cant expect the state to keep her safe, Wilcox is telling us, or men to treat her with respect, if she doesnt have the sense to get and keep a husband. Thanks, Brad.
Of course #notallmen, and certainly #notallwomen, believe that. The GOP backlash against women has now created exactly what they feared. No, Im not saying were all going to stop loving men, getting married and having babies. Most women continue to do those things, even as our rights are eroded. Were patient that way. But the rights increasingly unhinged fear of women has in fact created a big problem for Republicans those Beyonce voters who increasingly vote Democratic. Not because they want gifts from the government, as Mitt Romney crudely put it after he lost the presidency. But because they want respect, and to participate fully in society, as Sandra Day OConnor saw and today only one party wants to make that possible.
The GOPs last reliable female voting bloc is older, married, white Christian women, and their time is passing. It will pass more slowly if other women fail to vote in 2014, but the rights crippling panic over womens autonomy will eventually doom it to irrelevance. In the meantime, though, the Supreme Courts conservative majority will do its best to stem the tide.
You forgot the barf alert!
I’m not a big Erik Ericson fan, but to call him a “sexually insecure sad sack” really seems a bit of a reach.
Anyone ask accused pederast Harry Reid what he thinks about all this?
And I’ll also say this, being a homosexual is not as bad as killing a baby in utero.
(Probably get flamed bad for what I’ve said here, so just let me add: Mitt Romney!)
Another boring diatribe from Joan Walsh. On the bright side, reading her columns do wonders for insomnia!
I kinda zoned out halfway thru reading. This tends to happen when leftists start calling us extremists and homophobes.
Hobby Lobby is giving them fits. Their spoiled adolescent behavior is entertaining, but it is also tragic
Why would you get flamed. Homosexual acts are far less offensive than the murder of unborn children. Both ARE MORALLY REPREHENCEABLE BUT ONLY ONE INVOLVES THE INTENTIONAL KILLING OF AN INNOCENT.
I voted for Mitt. Wished he’d won.
This lady sure has bad communication. skills. The article is literally pointless.
Let me give a very special Viennacon commentary highlight
“one state after another has legalized gay marriage, with occasional help from the Supreme Court”
What the crap? They have ALL been at the behest of radical judges taking advantage of the DOMA ruling. This is just bizzaro fantasy land.
“Women make up at least half of LGBT folks”
Not true. Lesbians are a clear minority in this made up community.
“Not all conservatives celebrate marriage equality, not yet”
Not all squares are circle... not yet!
“Beyonce voters (Way to get race in there too, Jesse!)”
Mentioning Beyonce now somehow racist?
“But its not clear that women can be mobilized fast enough to protect their own rights.”
Sound the alarm! The American Taliban don’t want to pay for your slutty lifestyle!
“we never developed any kind of widely available subsidized childcare or preschool”
“they need husbands to avoid being raped, beaten or murdered.”
No they don’t. According to Democrats, they can just pi$$ themselves, and the rapist will flee in terror.
I am enjoying the rage, as much as I dislike what Alito has written. The carve out for ‘discrimination’ was ridiculous.
F’ing DemocRats need to be tarred and feathered.
If it’s Salon, HuffPo or the Daily Beast, then it’s a post by 2ndDivisionVet.
I’ve only posted one or two threads from HuffandBlow since I found out we can post from there now. I do Daily Caller far more often than Daily Beast and the Breitbarts much more than Salon. I am one of the few that posts from Thy Black Man, the Atlanta Black Star, News One, the Grio and New York Amsterdam News. I also do al Jazeera and the Gulf News from time to time.
“I voted for Mitt. Wished hed won.”
Me too, me too. Seems like many agree with us now, now that it is a moot point.
Oh, and speaking of Salon, keep an eye out for my next thread. It’s even worse than Joan, but thankfully it is shorter.
Yesterday I heard it described as “LGBTQ”.
“Q” for questioning.
Oh, I thought the “Q” was for queer. Goes to show how much I know. Where’s the “P” for paedophile?
Hiding behind the “B”.
The shift of single women to the Democrat Party to pay for their goodies is a matter of what they perceive as their short-term self interest, and is not "cultural" except in the sense that dependency is no longer regarded as deplorable.
That's really where we lost the "culture." Persuading the dependency class that handouts are neither in their real short- nor long- term interest is where we are failing. Nothing is free. Too many people lack fathers who used to impart that very simple instruction.
All they can talk about is sex, abortion, and race. They’re in a whirling frenzy because they have to face their delusions and are terrified.
Joan Walsh lives inside her own head. It gets lonely there.
What would you expect? Really? They don’t have much of a brain to speak of. All they can do is b!tch. They don’t have the wherewithal or smarts for any kind of hobby or [ugh] a real job.
Their only avocation is blithering blather they seem to think actually constitutes reasoned discourse. God gave them certain tools. A brain, logic, reason, emotion. They really only seem to be working with emotion devoid of logic and reason, and the other stuff God gave them, a body-reproductive organs, etc. they can’t even seem to use those as God intended.
In a sane, rational world they are unarmed, so they have to reshape the battlefield to fit their strengths.
How can you tell?
Sexually insecure sad sack Erick Erickson tweeted, My religion trumps your right to employer subsidized consequence free sex.
The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it.
- Sigmund Freud
Ted Olson supporting gay marriage was ‘wildly influential’?!?
He was universally shunned, actually.
Joan Walsh apparently believes women’s rights are valued at $9/month - the cost of buying their own pills. Cheap!
I forgot two of your other favorites: Slate and MSNBC. SEIU must have a publication of some sort. You might find something "worthy" of posting from it also.
So you post more from Daily Caller than Daily Beast. How nice. That's like saying "I support freedom more than I oppose it."
At what point do all these articles from extreme left wing sources simply become trolling?
comment? the obama lobbyists have been handed their playbook for the summer....check out this article from the National Journal yesterday: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3175734/posts
Long live the subsidizers!
When did you take over Free Republic? How much did Jim charge you, if you don’t mind me asking?
Well, that figures. You can't justify posting this endless stream of hard left propaganda, so try distraction instead by getting personal. But the Salon/Slate/Daily Beast/etc. etc., ad nauseum, posts with your name beside them are there for all to see regardless of the juvenile attempt to change the subject.
I have posted 22,957 threads as of right now. You could probably spend a year or two analyzing them and draw about 100 different conclusions. When you get to 500 threads ping me.
We’re in our second generation of folks brought up in “progressive” education. It has been pretty effective.
You think 2DV is a troll?
You are on my IGNORE LIST.
Of course, if you wish, you are always free to stalk.
Makin’ a list..
Checkin’ it twice..
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice...
The ideologically insecure left is at it again.
Thinking reality will readjust itself based on their second-rate readjustment of language.
How do I get on their ignore lists, HG? Any tips?
Well.. you've already made it to "troll"...
I reckon just try harder, study your poop sheets and keep your brass shined.
Prolly has patent leather low quarters too.
Or those stupid Wellingtons. I have my MI brass on my baseball cap and they still haven’t tarnished a bit.
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