I am a proud Minnesotan. Yes, I have a long and troubled history with my fair state, but there are many reasons I have lived here for most of my life.* For the most part, we have been a liberal state (with the notable exception of governor over the past twenty years or so), which did my blue heart good. However, in the past five years or so, a change has come to my state, and it’s not boding well for my future residency here.
It’s the same change we’ve seen played out in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan (Florida is on its own. I don’t know what kind of batguano they’re practicing down there with that criminal governor of theirs) as the newly-elected governor of each state systematically strips the rights of the middle class and poor Americans, aided in a large part by the Republican majorities in Congress.
I’ve seen the dissatisfaction grow locally as well. I began to see Lipton Tea ‘Bagger signs in nearby neighborhoods. Handmade and poorly-spelled, there was no doubt about whom they held responsible for the current economic woes–Obama and other Democrats. Still, I was protected from the idiocy. My immediate neighborhood is mostly Democratic (though my neighbor is an old curmudgeon with a liberal = tax hikes kind of bumper sticker on his pickup). My rep is the awesome Betty McCollum, and when I move to the Northeast, I’ll have the equally-awesome Keith Ellison as my rep. And, of course, Senator Al Franken (can I get a what what?). Like I said, we have our pockets of batguanocrazy (6th District, I’m looking at YOU!), but for the most part, we’re pretty liberal. The growing of the Lipton Tea ‘Bagger mentality shocked me. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
Set that aside for a minute.
The GOP nationwide as well as locally ran on fiscal responsibility and making sure the dastardly Kenyan Mooslim Usurper in the White House did not hurtle us into the gaping maw of socialism. Spending freeze! Lower taxes! No death panels for granny! Blah blah blah blah blah. Democrats were dispirited and Republicans were fired up. Enough of that hopey-changey bullsheetrock! What America needed was a good shot of testosterone in the ‘nads, and the Republicans were the ones to deliver that shot. Across the land, many governments switched from Dem-controlled to Republican-controlled (and, of course, the House of our nation’s Congress was lost as well), and it was good. Conservatives were exultant as they crowed about their victory.**
Before they could do their “NO MORE TAXES” victory dance, however, a strange thing happened. The Republican Congresspeople who were bleating about, “Where are the jobs?” before the 2010 elections did not immediately set upon finding said jobs. No, they decided that in this time of great economic downturn and high unemployment rates, the thing that really needed to be done was to make abortion as difficult to get as possible. Yes. The party who believes in less regulation went nutso over their desire to regulate women’s uteri.
Indeed, the Republicans are so concerned with my ladybits (and yours if you are a lady), they can’t keep their minds off of said bits. They seem to be both fascinated by the ladybits and repulsed by them as well; they are even appalled by the names of the ladybits, as evidenced by the idiotic Republicans from the state of Florida. Every other bill they proposed seemed to be a bill concerning abortion. And, of course, they threatened to shut down the federal government over the very stupid idea of defunding Planned Parenthood simply to take an empty stance against abortions.
Now, everyone and her sister have been writing about this abortion-palooza. Let’s face it–it’s easy pickings. I am fairly confident that any of the ridiculous national bills, even if they pass in the House, will not make it to law. However, in states across the country, the Republicans are passing restrictive laws concerning abortion. These Republicans are true believers, and they are using their powers to chip away at the legality of abortion. The laws passed are monumentally stupid and are bound to be fought in the Supreme Court (though, given the makeup of said SCOTUS, I am fearful as to how many of these laws will not be struck down), but in the meantime, they wreak havoc on ordinary women who have little to no recourse to fight the draconian measures.
Women like Bei Bei Shuai from Indiana. She tried to commit suicide when she was 33 weeks pregnant. She failed. Her daughter was born and died after four days. Shuai had another breakdown, recovered, and then was arrested for murder and attempted feticide–of her daughter. The ACLU has intervened on her behalf, but as of now, she sits in jail awaiting a decision about bail and a hearing to dismiss motion later in the month.
For a long time, I have resisted calling the Christian zealots the American Taliban. What the Taliban believes in and practices is truly heinous. Before this current crop of Christian zealots took office (mostly Republican, but there are a few Democrats as well), I heard a lot of ugly noise from this crowd, but their actions hadn’t quite matched their words. With the passing of these hideous abortion laws and the creative interpretation of existing laws, however, they are taking one step closer to being what they claim to hate. I still will not call them the American Taliban, but I think they well-deserve the title of Christian Extremists. So, that is what I shall be calling them from now on.
Idaho recently passed a law that outlawed abortion after 20 weeks without including an exception for rape (or incest, emotional/psychological health of the mother, or severe fetal abnormalities) in it. In 1990, a similar version of this bill didn’t pass because the former (Democratic but still anti-abortion) governor objected to rape and incest not being included as reasons for exception. But, now, new governor, new rules. The new Republican governor is expected to sign the bill. There is a lot of pious bullsheetrock from the Republicans who passed it, but none more so than this bit of nauseating rationalization from Brent Crane (R-Anus Beretsville) as he talked to the legislators about the ‘hand of the Almighty’ being at work:
His ways are higher than our ways [Crane said]. He has the ability to take difficult, tragic circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.
First of all, Brent Crane, the hand of Almighty has no business feeling up my uterus. My body, my choice! Secondly, no matter what your personal beliefs about God, we have this thing called separation of church and state. Look it up. Plus, your state law is in direct contradiction to federal law, and in case you don’t know this, federal law trumps state law. Look that up as well. Thirdly, who the Fu Schnickens are you to decide that living, breathing women are to be used as examples for your little Sunday sermon? There are women who may agree with you; they can choose to have their babies. It should be their choice–not yours.
Forced birthers. It’s a term that has been floating around the blogosphere as a replacement for the misleading term Pro-Life or even the antiseptic term Anti-Abortion/Choice. Just six months ago, I thought the term a bit harsh. Now, I think it’s spot on. The American Christian Extremists have shown that their ideology is their god, and they have no mercy or compassion for actual people. They are taking us back to the days when a woman’s body was not her own at all and merely a vessel for carrying around a fetus, and we are helping them do it.***
“About fucking time,” I can hear you think. ****
Hey. I needed to set it up properly, so simmah down nah!
In 2010, the race for governor was very tight. Well, to me, it was very tight. Many Democrats were confident that Mark Dayton would win by a comfortable margin because Tom Emmer was a Lipton Tea ‘Bagger candidate incarnate. He was anti-gays, pro-business and anti-worker, anti-tax and anti-socialist healthcare, you know the drill. Some Democrats even decided to work with the third-party candidate, a sensible ex-Republican (yes, there are a few left), because they were dissatisfied with the party. You know that drill well, too, especially if you’re a Democrat. I sternly informed one Democratic friend that this was not the year to vote third party, not when Tom Emmer could be the result. There really WAS a difference between Democrats and Republicans, especially in 2010, and every vote counted.
I watched with nervous dread as the votes came in. Dayton was ahead, but Emmer was very close behind. The Republicans grabbed the House with a vengeance (and they are a majority in the Senate as well), and I couldn’t bear the thought of Emmer actually becoming governor. When I went to bed, Dayton was ahead, but only by thousands of votes. When I woke up, it was the same. As you all probably know, Dayton was declared the winner, Emmer demanded a recount, and it was off to the races to see who would come out on top.
Dayton did, by nearly 9,000 votes (out of over 2 million cast). Emmer conceded, and all left-thinking minds in Minnesota breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.
Now, why am I making you meander down memory lane with me? Because of this. It seems that the Minnesota Legislature is trying to pass its own version of a Forced Birth Bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of dire physical harm or death to the mother. They also want to block funding to Planned Parenthood, natch. The difference? Governor Mark Dayton, Democrat, who is pro-choice. Oh, and the fact that the Senate is pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, which means it would be hard for the Senate to overturn a veto.
That’s it. The only reason we don’t have an abortion bill in MN, poised on the brink of passing, similar to the one in Idaho is because of 9,000 votes.
A local poll notes that 62% of voters think the Republicans have brought no change or made things worse when they (the Republicans) took over the MN Congress. The House was supposed to stay safely Republican in 2012, but now it’s up for grabs. The thought is that independent voters voted Republican this time because they were pissed off at the Democrats in charge last time and now are even more dismayed by the figgery that the Republicans are displaying this time around. I suppose it’s a good thing that voters are noticing that elections have consequences, and not necessarily ones they like. However.
A note to the local indies or whomever voted for the Republicans and are now dissatisfied with the Republicans’ performance: Do your dingdang research first. They are doing exactly what they said they’d do. It’s not like they were hiding their extremeness or misdirecting your attention away from it. No, they were letting their rightwingbatguanocrazy flags fly for all to see. That picture of the Madison protest I posted? It easily could have been Minneapolis if Emmer had been governor. And, some of the people who voted for Emmer would have been marching in protest, too, saying, “This isn’t what I voted for” as Emmer abolished minimum wage and gave massive tax cuts to corporations.
Except, it would have been exactly what you had voted for. Emmer never made any pains to hide his political ideology. In fact, he was pretty explicit about his plans if he were elected governor. So, to cry foul afterwards is really not acceptable. It’s up to the citizenry to educate itself BEFORE going to the poll so there will be no need for buyer’s remorse later. I know most people do not follow politics the way I do. I wouldn’t expect them to do that. However, there is no excuse for not knowing the basic positions a candidate holds BEFORE voting so that one can make an informed decision at the polls.
And, for the local Democrats who voted third party to teach the Dems a lesson: Knock it off. The time for intraparty fighting is during the primaries. After that, we need to unite and get the Democratic nominee in office–especially if the alternative is a Lipton Tea ‘Bagger candidate. If you are not down with that, then you are no ally of mine.
*Snow and sub-zero temps rank HIGHLY on that list.
**Victory in relative terms as people were fearing they may claim the Senate as well, and many of the Tea ‘Bagger backed candidates fell to the wayside.
***Another post for another day.
****Thanks for thinking a swear so I could type it. God, I miss my swears so much.