My Inability to Laugh: The GOP is Everywhere!

Maybe it’s my fault.  Maybe I have allowed the agenda and methods of the GOP across the nation and in Michigan to taint my judgment.  Maybe I can no longer view things simply as they are.   It’s possible that I cannot separate what is happening to my country and to my state from even the simplest of life’s serendipity.  This painful realization came to me a couple of days ago when I looked at this picture and I DIDN’T see a funny photo of a baby elephant using its trunk in a hilarious manner.   I looked at this picture and I saw how the GOP views and treats women.   It isn’t as if I first laughed at the photo, looked at it a while, and then came up with some way to put a political twist on things.   I actually looked at the photo and said, “There they go again.”

elephant

Now the GOP’s general contempt for women is pretty well documented.  In the last election cycle we saw countless examples of the GOP downgrading the severity of rape.  The official GOP stance, of course, is that these were rogue Republicans and they didn’t represent the official views of the party.  But instead of one or two rogue Republicans, the number kept growing and growing.  Worse, these guys actually got votes!  When someone running for office says something like “When women are raped, their bodies prevent pregnancy,” it should an automatic 2 million to 0 vote in the election.  Well, ok, 2 million to 1 or 2.  (Assuming the guy’s wife is clueless enough to marry him, she would probably vote for him too.)  But no.  MILLIONS of Republican voters gave their de facto approval for the degradation of women by actually pulling a lever, hitting a button, filling in a bubble, or punching out a chad for this guy!

And, again, it wasn’t just one guy.  Here’s a handy chart for you.

rape

And when Republican state legislatures around the country continue to vote to violate the US Constitution and the rulings of Supreme Court by limiting women’s rights to reproductive health, this truly is a systemic problem.   There are women who apparently vote Republican, but I can’t figure out why.  Self-loathing must be a founding principal of the party.

Then along comes my State Representative, Frank Foster, who infamously dropped the c-word on a woman who was making it hard for Mr. Foster and his boys to party in Lansing by mowing her lawn.  He even brought a child over the woman’s house claiming it was his autistic son, and thus trying to gain sympathy from the woman!  (I’m always tempted to ask Mr. Foster about his heinous mocking of the autistic whenever I hear/see him talk about autism, but he’ll just deny it happened.)   To make matters worse, days later Mr. Foster voted with his GOP colleagues in the House to censure female Representatives who had the audacity to say the word “vagina” on the House floor.  C-words in the streets for Mr. Foster, but no vaginas on the House floor.   And when a very misguided member of his party proposed a law requiring intravaginal ultrasounds for women considering an abortion, Mr. Foster said he agreed with the spirit of such a law, but couldn’t settle on a proper procedure.

I’m sure Mr. Foster and his handlers will try to make all this “old news” by the time the 2014 election comes around, but if you’re a woman living in his district, and he has these well-defined views of women as second (or third) class citizens, where do you find the logic to support him?

It might be easy to chalk up Mr. Foster’s transgressions as “boys being boys.”  After all, sending a young 20-something year old man off to a new town with a big salary is an invitation for all kinds of problems.  Especially if in his character he doesn’t see women as his equal.

Enough about Mr. Foster.  I started this piece trying to fix me.  What has happened to my world view when I can see a picture of an elephant whose trunk is up the skirt of an unsuspecting woman as a metaphor for an entire political party’s attitudes towards women…BEFORE I even get to laugh at the photo?

Maybe it’s all the hypocrisy that seems to run through the GOP.   I suppose we could point to South Carolina and say for a state that is always telling us they are the keepers of morality and the sanctity of the family, they sure have a funny idea of who should be representing them in Congress.   I don’t have a problem with Mark Sanford as Governor having an affair and lying about it.  Private lives sometimes run amok and if every leader, male and female, who strayed from their marriage vows was banned from office, we’d have an even smaller pool of candidates from which to choose.

I don’t even have a problem with Sanford flying off to Argentina with a stripper or a dancer or whatever she was and lying to the people of his state about where he was and what he was doing.  If you’re going to stray in your marriage, you might as well really stray!

Stealing money from the state to finance his dalliances is another matter, but mostly people were interested in what his new girlfriend looked like, and couldn’t really care less about the violation of the public trust (and dollars.)

I don’t even have a problem with Sanford thinking he was worthy to run for office again.  Any guy who can pull off what he did, has no moral compass anyway. His view of his worth is so inflated, he can actually have a conversation with himself that goes like this:

“Mark, you were kind of a naughty boy.”

“I know, Mark, but she was exotic, and hot, and I almost got away with it.”

“Sure, Mark, but you didn’t, and you had to resign in disgrace.”

“That was a mistake.  The people of South Carolina are really forgiving.  Hell, they even kept sending John Calhoun to Congress, and he was one racist bastard.”

“So what are we going to do about it?”

“Run for something.  I deserve another shot.”

“Deserve, you sexy man you?  Deserve?”

“Right…if I was wrong to resign over a simple error in judgment, it would be a bigger error not to run again.”

“Exactly, Mark!  Exactly!”

I’m pretty sure it went something like that.  Instead of laughing Sanford all the way up and down the Appalachian Trail, the people of South Carolina apparently agreed that this guy was the right man at the right time to represent them in Congress.  Who the heck was he running against?  John Wayne Gacy?

So I have a lot of work to do.  I long for the days when I could laugh at all these hilarious internet photos.   The next time I see a picture of a cat buried under a pile of books, I hope I can avoid thinking “more laws to repress women” and just chuckle at the cute little kitty.

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2 Comments on “My Inability to Laugh: The GOP is Everywhere!”

  1. Richard Scott,D.O. May 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Mark
    Always fun to read. Do learn to enjoy those humorous moments, as a writer once said, “laughter is the best medicine”. As a retired physician I know we all had gallows humor, a way of dealing with that which inherently is not humorous.

    Americans have always approached their leaders with dichotomous opinions. In the first, based on our Puritan background and the present evolution to the theocratic right, the people are ashamed of the peccadillos and transgressions, or sins, of their leaders. In the second, their is both a joy and almost pathological joy in reviewing their transgressions. Sort of like “peck’s bad boy”. Often what is not cute is thought of as cute, and more importantly the stories are read, watched, talked about incessantly. So with the Democratic ex congressman girding up for mayoral run. On the other side, the ongoing Puritan ethic is one of forgiveness. “Judge not, lest you be judged” and the judgment is somewhere way off. So these attitudes are non partisan. The list of presidents who screwed around in office is large. None were not elected, many after. None went to Argentina, but Tom j. Had enough dalliances in Monticello . I think John Adams was possibly pure. And he had not read Niebuhr.

    I have a copy of “C Street” which I can loan or give you. That was a place where other republicans behaved poorly in many ways. Our congressman also lived in the same building.

    Have read most of the Icarus syndrome. The last section gets boring. The hubris of the American thinking we are the can do country is coupled with leaders who act on testosterone levels. Psychologically, when faced with difficulties or interviews if one briefly stands, breathes deep and pushes out your chest, your testosterone level surges. It may be an important factor in leading a group; it may also be why some president, mentioned by Beinart, liked to take out his member and pee in the sink.

    These are complicated areas in life and politics. Important to laugh a lot.

    Am now into Philbrick’s “bunker Hill”. Not far. But he describes the dichotomy between the patriot “sons of liberty” and the mobs who tar and feather…Bostonians were then, as now, unruly and having arms really needed to be in a militia.

    • Mark Pontoni May 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Richard,

      Your perspective is always helpful and appreciated. I’ll have a lot of reading to catch up on this summer…thanks to you!

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