The Universal Notebook: GOP is the party of Grumpy Old Patriarchs

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Last week, I sent an e-mail to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell that read in part, “As a husband, as the father of three young women, as an American, and as a Christian, I loathe and despise what you are trying to do – prevent abortion by letting the state rape Virginia women.”

I’m guessing McDonnell got a lot of e-mails and letters along those lines, because he ultimately backed down from signing a new law that would have forced women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound as a condition for obtaining a legal abortion.

The ultrasound initiative is part of the conservative Christian attempt to intimidate women into not having abortions by requiring them to see the fetal life they are about to end. The fact that these ultrasound laws amount to state-sanctioned rape doesn’t bother the right-to-life zealots in the least. Texas already has such a state rape law, but then Texas is a Third World country that would be better off as part of Central America.

This state-sanctioned rape case is just part and parcel of the sexist agenda that is part of the virulent new Republican Party. GOP may once have stood for Grand Old Party, but in 2012 it stands for Grumpy Old Patriarchs. The GOP is the party of angry white men. Only self-loathing would explain why any woman, minority member, or working person would support the GOP today.

I understand just about everything on the conservative Republican agenda as a function of grumpy and greedy male chauvinists desperately trying to preserve the privileges and power of the past.

Contraception, too, has been a political football lately. I applauded President Obama’s effort to require church-associated institutions to offer free contraceptive coverage as part of health insurance plans, but he backed down when faced with complaints from Catholic and fundamentalist Christian leaders and his potential GOP challengers (four grumpy old white men) that he was attacking freedom of religion.

I can understand a religious objection to abortion. I cannot understand a religious objection to contraception. You prevent abortions by preventing pregnancies, not by inserting an ultrasound wand into a woman’s vagina against her will. Yeehaa, welcome to Texas!

Of course, it’s not just reproductive rights and freedoms that are under attack from the patriarchal right. No doubt, the GOP, the Roman Catholic Church, Mormons, and fundamentalist Christians will join forces once again to battle against marriage equity when same-sex marriage appears on the ballot.

We see the GOP attempt to defend the power of the Boss Man in the unconstitutional Citizens United decision made by five corporate stooges on the U.S. Supreme Court. We see it in their willingness to fall on swords to protect the wealthy from paying their fair share of taxes. We see it in the attempt to gut public employee pensions, destroy collective bargain rights, and blame the failures of the free market on unions and public employees. We see it in GOP plans to private Social Security and Medicare. We see it in the attempt to send Maine tax dollars to religious schools. We see it in the way Gov. Paul LePage functions as Bully-in-Chief. And we see it most clearly in GOP voter suppression campaigns.

Republicans know that if they just keep enough people from voting, they might be able to hang onto power. So it was wonderfully ironic and entertaining to see the same Maine GOP chairman, Charlie Webster, who was the shrill voice behind all those bogus voter fraud claims last year, making national news this year for his complete and utter inability to count a mere 5,000 caucus votes in an honest and accountable way.

Please, ladies, let’s get rid of these anachronistic old bulls.

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Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Yarmouth. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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