One of the battle cries of the far right is this: 'We want to take our country back.' Maybe you dismissed that as meaning, back from the Democrats. But you notice, they don't say, 'we want to take our government back.' They say... 'our country.'
And based on the evidence pouring out of state legislatures, that is what the Republican revolution of 2010 has set out to do -- take the country back -- back in time. Back to those golden days before civil rights and gender equality. It was so much easier back then, wasn't it?
So, let's go back to the bad old days with our Republican friends and see what life is like.
It's a bad time for organized labor. Since 2010, Republican-controlled legislatures in 26 states have rolled back workers' rights to collectively bargain. Forget about voting rights gained in the '60s. Republicans have rolled back voting access in 14 states.
And, of course, if you're a woman, the take-our-country-back crowd has nothing but trouble for you.
In this black-and-white, '50s era mindset, the sexual McCarthyites hear the words "contraception," "women's health" and "Planned Parenthood" as "abortion."
Those words are like a dog whistle to anti-choice, anti-reproductive health zealots. Think I'm overstating? Some facts then:
In the country that the Republicans are "taking back," 2011 was a watershed year: more than 1,100 anti-abortion laws were introduced. Eighty passed. That's more than double the previous year.
In Texas, the 80 percent male legislature has been particularly focused on controlling women's bodies.
So focused that they're now turning down federal money if it means keeping those women's clinics open. Women's clinics that provide cervical and breast cancer screens for poor women, not abortions.
Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women's health program for 120,000 poor women in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting one dime of it. This, even though Texas already bars clinics that take such money from performing abortions. And Texas is just the tip of the iceberg.
This week, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia signed the infamous ultrasound bill that's been sitting on his desk.
Virginia joins nine states in forcing women to watch images and listen to descriptions against their will. Violating their privacy, violating their very personhood.
This is not just a war on women's health. Think about this, guys. I know a lot of times men don't consider women's health an issue of importance to them.
But you should.
Because who knows? After the "personhood begins with a zygote" crowd finishes with women, you all may be next.
So let's go back to the future.
Men: imagine that you need a prescription for Viagra. Imagine a law passed by an 80 percent female legislature requires you to get an affidavit from a sexual partner that you are incapable of an erection in order to justify that prescription.
Or, maybe in order to obtain the prescription you are forced to demonstrate to a doctor your erectile inadequacy, right there in the doctor's office.
Or, imagine that you wanted a vasectomy, and that same largely female legislature said that in order for you to have that procedure, a doctor must to do an ultrasound on your private parts which requires you to view the sperm, the pre-humans swirling in your testicles, on a nearby monitor while listening to the doctor describe the millions of potential lives you will be ending.
Today, Congress debated another anti-abortion bill that would make it illegal for a young women to seek an abortion across state lines, if she is not accompanied by a parent. Even if her parents are absent or abusive.
Between Rush Limbaugh, Governor McDonnell and the U.S. House of Representatives, it's been an ugly week in the war on women.
There are some Republican pundits who are saying, 'oh come on all this is just a distraction from the real issues we care about.'
Distraction? It's an obsession. By the Republicans.
So what can you do about this? You can get involved. You can vote. Because elections have consequences. And today we are seeing the consequences of our nation falling asleep during the elections of 2010.
Oh, and by the way, happy International Women's Day.
Follow Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JenGranholm
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