Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ideology Running Amuck

As of July 1, barring a stay from a federal court, if a woman wants to get an abortion in Kansas, she may well have to leave the state in order to get one. The state has passed a new law that imposes strict regulations on abortion providers – many of them unnecessary in order to perform their basic functions – that is nothing more than an attempt to accomplish legislatively what the Right has been unable to do judicially: overturn Roe v. Wade. Behold, some of the new requirements of the new law.

All facilities must be set to a temperature between 68 and 73 degrees; have a janitor’s closet at least 50 square feet; have an operating room 150 square feet; feature separate dressing rooms for staff and patients; have 13 different types of drugs on hand; require the patient to stay in the recovery room, which by the way must have a temperature between 70 and 75 degrees, for at least two hours after her procedure, even if the procedure doesn’t require anesthesia. Oh, and the final kicker, all private insurance providers are prohibited from including coverage for abortions in their general policies (except when the mother’s life is in jeopardy).

From the assault on collective bargaining in Wisconsin, to the birther bills that have popped up in no less than ten states, to the voter-id law in Ohio, and now Kansas passing what will undoubtedly be the first of many copy-cat laws to prevent women from gaining access to birth control, the Right’s Sherman-like ideology march on anything it opposes is as predictable as it is dangerous. And you thought this was about fiscal prudence.  Yeah, and that bridge in Brooklyn is still for sale.

Republicans know the clock is ticking on them. While the country may be somewhat right of center on financial issues, when it comes to social issues – gay rights, pro choice – it is crystal clear that it has come a long way since the days of Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best. No matter how loud the Right shouts about family values, it ends up looking like a bad situation comedy that is about to get canceled.

And it isn’t just the social issues where Republicans are running out of time. A careful look at the nation’s demographics reveals some rather disturbing trends that don’t bode particularly well for the Grand Old Party. By the year 2050, white, non-Hispanics will comprise only 52.5% of the country’s population. In 2000, that percentage stood at 75.7%. Considering that whites comprise almost 90% of the Republican base, this is a major problem; a problem that Republicans are attempting to cure at the ballot box. After all, it really doesn’t matter what percentage of the population minorities constitute if some or all of them can’t legally vote, right?

And that is why this next election is so vital. Republicans know full well that if the economy improves enough by next fall, they are finished. They are counting on a financial meltdown over the debt ceiling issue to build on the gains they made in last year’s midterms. If they hold the House and win the Senate and White House, they will be in an excellent position to ostensibly undo everything that threatens them and their grip on power. Imagine environmental laws, financial regulations and the like virtually wiped out of existence. Imagine the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being challenged and subsequently reversed.  As John Lennon might say, it's easy if you try.

Imagine children being taught that creationism is a science, or that the South’s secession from the Union during the Civil War was simply about state’s rights, or that America’s treatment of its indigenous population wasn’t nearly as horrific as they have been led to believe by the liberal elites. It’s already happening in many schools in the South. Don't think it can't happen elsewhere.

The only way the Right can prevent their inevitable slide into oblivion is through one of two ways: changing at its core what it stands for and represents, which, given the proclivities of the majority within its ranks, seems highly unlikely; or suppressing the multitudes who stand to challenge its primacy. Guess which path they’ve chosen?

Watershed years are rare indeed. 2012 is shaping up to be the motherload of them all.

No comments: