Most human beings have personal priorities that affect their ‘personal’ lives and unless they are dyed-in-the-wool evangelicals, their priorities affect only themselves. The same cannot be said of Republicans, whether in state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, or governor’s mansions who are in the bad habit of imposing their personal religious priorities on their constituents instead of dealing with problems that are intrinsic with Republican leadership. Plus, religious Republicans are wont to use their personal religious priorities to distract their constituents’ attention away from reliably failed policies that should prompt any sane human being to crusade tirelessly to get Republicans out of government and into the tax-exempt preacher business to terrify the faithful and control evangelical women’s lives.
The latest Republican governors anxious to use their Christian bona fides to distract their residents from bad policies are Ohio’s John Kasich and Sam Brownback of Kansas. The news out of Ohio on the heels of a second-place finish to big-time wrestling celebrity Donald Trump in New Hampshire is that Kasich is just giddy to sign theocratic legislation defunding Planned Parenthood. In Kansas, Sam Brownback distracted his state’s residents from his trickle down disaster driving the state deeper in debt every day by making defunding Planned Parenthood a primary topic of his “state of the state” speech a couple of weeks ago.
Both men have important issues that should be their highest priority, but with an easy target and a superstitious citizenry is so easily distracted, leave it to religious Republicans to take the low road and discount the importance of women’s lives; it is, after all, biblical precedent. The big theocratic push to attack women via Planned Parenthood at the state level is solely because the theocrats in Congress are unable to get past a strong women’s rights advocate in President Obama. The latest ploy is using legislation to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in a federally-funded program, Medicaid. It is something that Kansas and Ohio learned from five other theocratic Republican legislatures that used religion and hubris to interfere with and control a federal program since last July.
Many Americans complain that these theocratic machinations and ploys to control women’s lives is due to a religious organization’s highly-edited videos to portray Planned Parenthood in a terrible light, but that is not the case. Oh, may be a really bad excuse, especially after everyone and their dog knows Planned Parenthood was completely exonerated from any wrongdoing, but it is not solely why Republicans are taking action. It is, besides a great distraction and a means of controlling women, recompense for the evangelical vote that keeps failed Republicans in office.
In Ohio’s case, Republican Governor Kasich feigns “high regard” for women to distract from his disregard for poisoned residents. He said “I’m for making sure we have robust funding for women’s health and I’m going to sign a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, so you shouldn’t be confused.” When a woman dared mention the myriad other functions provided by Planned Parenthood for women’s health, Kasich threw up his hands and walked away, saying, “We’re done.”
Kasich knows that in all of Ohio’s 27 clinics, only three perform abortions, but the bill, HB 294, defunds all of them because it is an evangelical priority. As state Representative Kathleen Clyde (D) remarked,
“This bill uses Planned Parenthood as a stand in punching bag for Ohio’s women. By passing this bill, Ohio is showing women where they are on the priority list and it shows they are at the bottom.” Ms. Clyde likely understands that women rank alongside poisoned Ohioans in Sebring; something also at the bottom of Kasich’s priority list.
Ohio has its own very serious water contamination issue regarding lead-tainted water poisoning residents like in Flint Michigan. The issue that should be first and foremost on Republicans and their religious governor’s priority list is addressing the poisoned water in Sebring; not attacking women by defunding Planned Parenthood. Apparently the “pro-life” Republicans do not consider existing life worth protecting; it is the same in Kansas.
Sam Brownback is no stranger to distracting residents from disastrous policies with “the fetus.” In the lead up to the 2014 midterms when Brownback was trailing his Democratic opponent badly, an opponent that over 100 high-ranking Republicans endorsed because of Brownback’s catastrophic “trickle down” disaster, Brownback brought out his super-secret October surprise; “the fetus,” and he easily won re-election.
Now, with the state still drowning in revenue shortfalls and Brownback cutting highway, education, healthcare, and child care programs to death, his and Republicans highest priority is defunding Planned Parenthood to both control women and distract the people from noticing the state’s economy is tanking.
Brownback said, “We must keep working to protect our most innocent Kansans, the unborn. We have become the champions of life.” Except of course, for the lives of innocent living Kansans who have seen their social programs, including health, nutrition and safety programs, slashed to the bone to preserve Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts for the rich. As an aside, and for what seems like the 200th time, according to Brownback’s own bible, the unborn are not living beings. They are certainly not living beings any more than they are “innocent Kansans;” they are fetuses.
If this abominable drive toward theocracy, distraction from Republican failings, and dastardly attempt to control women through religion were confined to just one Republican theocracy it would be horrid enough. However, it is a creeping disease infecting nearly every Republican-governed state. And with the GOP controlling a majority of the states, and gaining influence in many more, one would expect that every American with a sister, mother, daughter or wife would stand up and take action; sadly that is not the case.
Republicans may be abject failures in every possible area of governance, but they are masters at distracting their constituency and it extends from local communities to the U.S. Congress. These hideous attacks on women’s rights are, to be sure, recompense to evangelicals for their electoral support as much as purpose-driven distractions. However, it is also a concerted effort to control America’s women and perpetuate patriarchy; patriarchy facing an existential threat from half the population that is not easily distracted by theocrats and Republican misogynists.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.