What is it about American culture that breeds so many misogynistic Neanderthals? And why are so many of them installed in the country’s seats of power?
If you find yourself asking these questions, you are not alone. And if you feel incessantly incensed and perplexed that Republicans continue to support this president, look no further for an explanation than to the issue of women’s rights. While most of us couldn’t take our focus off the horror of the Las Vegas massacre this week, all the president’s Neanderthals were busy stripping women of their rights to health care. And the misogynist in chief was only too happy to support their mission.
Republicans are willing to turn a blind eye to the man who would dare Kim Jun Un to fire a nuke our way, sing the praises of white supremacists and engage in the kind of behavior that turned Harvey Weinstein into an instant pariah, because Donald Trump is busy rolling back this country to the 1950s, where religious zealots like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan think it belongs.
There are many areas of government in which this dangerous rollback is occurring, but none so coolly as in the realm of women’s health. While Americans have been busy worrying about our deadly gun epidemic, Republicans have been busy praying, and voting to limit a woman’s legal right to abortion.
And after the House decided it was its job to tell women when they are permitted to have an abortion, and the perennial single white male Senator Lindsey Graham introduced that bill in the Senate, Donald Trump rolled back President Obama’s birth control mandate, meaning companies can now refuse to provide contraception to women through their health insurance policies. This is age-old Republican insanity: women shouldn’t have abortions, but they shouldn’t try to prevent pregnancy either. They just shouldn’t have sex. Of course, when a pro-life member of Congress has sex with a woman other than his wife, his mistress should have access to abortion on demand.
But to hell with the rest of us.
My daughter once asked what would happen if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and she or one of her friends wanted to have an abortion at some point in their young lives. I would take you to another country, and so would your friends’ mothers, I told her. But if we didn’t have the money, and if I was a girl who couldn’t tell my mother, I wouldn’t be able to do that, she said.
Exactly. As abortions become more and more restrictive in states like Texas, and nationally now that Congress is chipping away at them, it’s young, poor, uneducated women, many of them still girls, who will have children before they’re ready, children they cannot afford to care for.
And of course, as always with the party that defies logic on everything from taxes to the environment, these women may not have access to affordable health care if they work for companies that refuse to provide contraception in their insurance policies. And we all know the disaster that will befall women if Planned Parenthood is defunded and ceases to exist, the wet dream of so many Republican men.
What those men are really saying is that God doesn’t want women to have sex outside marriage. That’s a sin. And if you commit sin, you must pay the price. What they’re also saying is that men bear no responsibility for the sins of women, that it is incumbent on women to keep the wolves at bay, a view held by their Neanderthal brethren, ISIS. What they’re also saying is to hell with the poor. They’re not our problem. And no, we won’t insure their kids, or help their mothers pay for daycare, or raise the minimum wage.
Powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Congressman Tim Murphy and Donald Trump can’t keep their lustful hands to themselves, but they can’t help it: they’re just men. Mike Pence doesn’t trust himself alone in the company of women because women are temptresses, Eves, and men are our victims, Adams. The original sin is the sin of women, and so women must pay with their futures, and sometimes with their lives, according to the Republican playbook. That’s God’s will, that’s the natural evolution of things in the minds of Neanderthals who would govern through their misogynistic interpretation of God’s directives, rather than by the will of a religiously diverse people and the law of the land.
We may not be able to change this culture of disrespect, disregard and disdain for women so easily. But we should at least evolve to a point that women feel safe reporting their abusive bosses. And we can rectify this current political mess we find ourselves mired in ― by voting. In the next election, send the Neanderthals back to their caves, where their dirty paws will no longer have access to our bodies and our health care.