Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why Republicans Talk About Abortion

First of all, yes, there are a significant number of Americans who are concerned about abortion. Mostly they are concerned about other people possibly having an abortion, but there it is. There are people who honestly feel that abortion is murder, no matter whether it happens five minutes after conception or six months into the pregnancy. It's a polarizing issue, one that almost everyone cares about to one degree or another. That's why every time election season rolls around we are subjected to another round of abortion talk even as the economy founders, Libya is on fire and we fight wars on multiple fronts.

I don't mean to belittle those who are concerned about the lives of children, merely to offer a perspective on why an issue that is really not government business takes center stage during an election year. It may be the ultimate oxymoron that the part of "small government" seems to want to be in on every appointment between a woman and her doctor. Republicans have cow-towed to the extremists from the Tea Party to the extent that they now come out against contraception, seemingly wanting every sexual encounter between a man and a woman to result in a child. As inconceivable as that is, there is a reason why that's the case.

Simply out, Republicans don't want to talk policy when the cameras and recorders are on.

Let's start with education, which is near and dear to my heart both as a former teacher and as someone with a young daughter who will be starting school in a few years. Republicans have already done much to undermine public education, which they don't believe in at all. They don't want government to pay for education on any level because they believe those who deserve a good education can afford to pay for it. They don't seem to understand that the vast majority of Americans are not born with a silver spoon up their butts, and they don't seem to be able to find an inner city school to visit in order to learn a different truth.

Make no mistake, the No Child Left Behind legislation was nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to de-fund public schools, starting with the poorest first. They set a high standard for receiving federal money, without which poor schools cannot function, with standards so high that it's unlikely those poor schools will be able to achieve the necessary academic scores to receive the funding they so desperately depend upon.

The end result? Many poor schools are shut down, meaning the next closest schools are overcrowded. The best teachers leave for richer districts where they can have smaller class sizes and the higher pay that tends to go along with a stronger class of students from more affluent parents. So the students who need the best teachers are stuck with the last people who are actually willing to take the jobs, meaning they are handicapped instead of given the additional help they need.

Enter the voucher system, which would be the final nail in the coffin of poor public schools. A voucher system would allow parents who actually have the money and resources to transport their children to the closest white bread district to do so, thereby leaving only the absolute poorest students to fend for themselves in schools that can't even afford to provide minimal technology or even reasonable qualified staff to work with their students.

This is all according to plan for Republicans, who don't believe in public schools. But the last thing they want to do is go toe-to-toe with a Democrat and defend their position, so they talk about abortion and get the conversation completely off track.

How about the economy? What ever happened the to Conservative Party, the one that cares about balancing the budget and smart spending? The answer is that it completely sold out to big corporations, ranging from pharmaceuticals to big oil to the military industrial complex. They have dedicated themselves to giving tax cuts to billionaires under the guise of helping job creation, which ignores the fact that even though the richest 1% of Americans control 90% of the country's wealth they stubbornly refuse to create jobs . . .in America. They're creating plenty in Third World countries where children will work for a nickel a day.

Instead of defending that economic policy, of course, Republicans talk about abortion.

The bottom line is, no matter what the policy in question might be, Republicans can't sell it to the masses who determine who will win a given election. Instead they have to find a polarizing issue that excites their base, which will vote for them no matter who they run. That's about 25-30% of America, which is not enough to get elected. To win the middle Republicans work hard to make sure it's more difficult for college students, minorities and the poor to vote, they redistrict Democratic districts to try and stamp out Democracy wherever possible, and they use weapons of mass distraction, counting on the inattentive public to swallow whatever the latest news cycle spews out on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

Was Barack Obama born in Hawaii, as his birth certificate proves?

It's not about the birth certificate, it's about making sure those who will swallow such a ridiculous story aren't paying attention to the fact that their next paycheck will be smaller if Mitt Romney is elected because he wants to give more money to those poor multi-national corporations that employ fewer Americans each year and pay very little (if any) American income tax because they keep their headquarters in a post office box in Dubai.

That's why Republicans talk about abortion.

Are a lot of Americans worked up over the issue of abortion? Sure. You can go out on the street and find people who believe that when a woman has her period and eggs go unfertilized that it's a form of murder and they should be put to death for it. There are crazy people at the fringes of every issue you can imagine.

Rest assured, however, that the candidates and elected officials who use abortion as a primary platform issue are not interested in forcing women to have children every time they have sex,  and they're not interested in forcing rape victims to bear the child of their attacker. They are interested only in one thing.

They want to make sure you're not paying attention to their policies on issues that will actually impact your life on a daily basis. The vast majority of Americans believe that abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Most importantly, that should be left up to the woman in question, her doctor, her family, her religious mentor, and whoever else she decides to include . . .not not the government.

Abortion is a weapon of mass distraction for the Republican Party.

Nothing more.


Post a Comment


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More