A lot has been happening politically lately. I have strong feelings about a few things and would like to try to get my thoughts in order.
First, the House recently voted to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. The sponsor of the bill doesn't like abortion. Fine. But Planned Parenthood is prevented from using their federal funding to pay for abortions anyway. The funding that has been cut covers a lot of preventive care including birth control that would prevent those unwanted pregnancies that end up being aborted. Um, aren't we trying to reduce the number of abortions? Because making affordable access to birth control more difficult actually does the opposite. Someone is harming a lot of people for a personal vendetta. Much of what federal funding to Planned Parenthood covers are mammograms and other screenings. We'll all end up paying more for expensive treatments for diseases that could have been caught earlier. Because, don't fool yourself, we all share the costs in the long run.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Republicans have also been trying to redefine 'rape'. They don't want women to be paid fairly (by blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act). All the blog posts about how the GOP hates women? There's something there.
And don't forget that the Equal Rights Amendment has still not passed. It sits 3 states shy of ratification before it becomes part of the Constitution. And without it, as Justice Scalia recently remarked, every right women presume to have, with the lone exception of being able to vote, is really just a privilege granted because no one has challenged any in court. With the current trend of legislation coming from the GOP, it's only a matter of time before they try to take away every right we think we have. We REALLY need the ERA to pass once and for all. (It is expected that it will be reintroduced in Congress in March. Contact your Senators and Representative and let them know you support it.)
Frankly, I don't understand how so many women support some of these Republican politicians. It certainly isn't in their best interest. I'm all for fiscal restraint. But those who tout themselves the loudest as wanting to cut the budget also seem to be those who do the opposite - either by wanting to cut taxes or by increasing spending on defense or a pet project. Republicans often claim to want small government, but they really don't, not when they want to make government more intrusive into personal lives. If you really want to cut government, stay out of people's bedrooms.
And don't get me started on all the folks on the 'religious right' who thump their Bibles, insisting we all follow their idea of morality because 'this is a Christian nation' (it's not, but that's another discussion). These same politicians and religious leaders often are the ones caught with their pants down, supporting mistresses, paying for prostitutes, denouncing gays while having gay love affairs.
I'm tired of the hypocrisy. I'm tired of the rich getting richer and protecting each other while making it increasingly harder for the rest of us to get anywhere. Part of the purpose of government is to protect the weakest, providing services so people, our fellow citizens, have food to eat and shelter over their heads. The tiny amount in the budget spent on some of these social service programs is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the programs Republicans refuse to trim, including defense. Yep, can't cut funding for a new plane that is not needed, but we can unfund a lot of programs that actually do some good.
I really could go on and on. This is by no means an endorsement for Democrats. I don't like much of what they do either. I just wish some of our elected representatives could grow up, get off the playground, and actually do something rather than just fight along party lines. But until the electorate decides they want smart people to represent them, that probably won't happen.