It's about that time in the summer to begin looking for the slapstick comedy that usually appears in theatres around the Fourth of July weekend. You know the plot: a couple of wacky friends decide to help their out-of-the-mainstream friend who isn't invited to the cool kids' parties because he/she just doesn't fit. Think Clueless, Bring it On, Can"t Buy Me Love, or one of my favorites, Dumb and Dumber.
Come with me as I work through this movie metaphor.
Consider the recent attacks against Sen. Barack Obama by Tony Perkins and James Dobson of the Family Research Council your summer movie preview. And yes, John McCain is the clueless one who just doesn't get how out-of-the-mainstream he really is.
Dobson and Perkins are attacking Barack Obama on his support for a woman's right to choose safe, legal abortion. Perkins' Family Research Council announced today that it's launching an attack ad on Barack Obama in several media markets over the coming days - beginning with Cincinnati and adding Dallas and Atlanta. If it were a movie, think of it as a rolling release coming to your town soon.
Hypocrisy, thy name is John McCain. And meet your two new friends: Dumb and Dumber - otherwise known as Tony Perkins and James Dobson. But here's where the hypocrisy catches up with them: John McCain, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life Committee and a host of other right-wing anti-choice groups are also against birth control, sex education, emergency contraception, Title X, and a host of other prevention measures that would actually reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy, thereby reducing the need for abortion.
It's not hard to drive the hypocrisy express right up the middle of their anti-choice attacks: John McCain, James Dobson, and Tony Perkins want Roe v. Wade overturned, thereby outlawing abortion in the United States of America. John McCain, James Dobson, and Tony Perkins have supported bans with no exceptions for rape, incest, health or life. So okay, we get it: the three of them want politicians - not women and their doctors - to control the health and well-being of women and their families.
John McCain voted to eliminate Title X, the federal program that provides birth control to low-income women. In fact, McCain has voted 22 times against birth control. Birth control?!! Seriously? The Family Research Council signed on to a lawsuit that would have blocked the FDA from allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription. Once again in case there is any doubt...we're talking about birth control - a basic form of health care for women!!
John McCain is against providing medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education and instead favors abstinence-only programs. His sidekick, James Dobson who heads Focus on the Family strenuously opposes sex education, but promotes such things as "purity balls" and abstinence-only lectures as ways to prevent unintended pregnancy among teens. And people actually wonder why it was recently reported that one in four American teenage girls have had a sexually-transmitted infection? And why the United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world?
It's time to make it clear that every time John McCain, or Tony Perkins, or James Dobson, or some other anti-choice, anti-birth control zealot tries to attack Barack Obama or any other pro-choice/pro-prevention candidate running for office with baseless, crass, in-the-gutter attacks about abortion, we're going to respond by issuing a challenge: Have the guts to stand up and speak the truth about your position on birth control. Before they're allowed to lecture pro-choice Americans about abortion, we get to ask them about their opposition to birth control.
So as you see these attacks during the next four months, whether you're pro-choice or not, ask yourself this: What is John McCain for? He's opposed to abortion; he's against birth control; he's against accurate sex education in our schools; he's against providing emergency contraception to victims of rape; he's against Roe v. Wade; he's against Title X. Makes you wonder if there's anything he's for that would actually reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy in our country, doesn't it?
James Dobson and Tony Perkins, and John McCain don't have the guts to stand up and speak the truth about their radical, out-of-the-mainstream views. Voters should take them for what they are: three guys who once again think that they know better than women and their doctors what's best for them. And frankly, there's nothing summer-movie-slapstick or remotely funny about that.