When Politics Get Personal, People Show Up

History won’t have a hard time pointing to the moment when American conservatism blew itself up. The exact moment won’t be important. That will be the day – whenever it is in June – when the Supreme Court formally announces its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Will it really matter if cooler heads rephrase some of Sam Alito’s most inflammatory dishonesty if the end result – the loss of a right held for 50 years and the entire basis for every bit of privacy every American is entitled to because they’re American? What we know for a fact is that the trigger Alito is pulling with this heinous decision is attached to a weapon that American conservatives have been manufacturing (entirely out of bullshit) since the moment Roe v Wade became a reality. In a sense, these conservatives demonstrated how politics work in America. They made the abortion fight personal – regardless of whether they were justified or not – and the politics followed them.

Of course, it sure did help that the people we’re talking about are white and pretty much Christian and their religious fervor was fraudulent and deeply racist. Evangelicals in America used to be pro-abortion. True fact! As late as 1971, “delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.” What’s more, W. A. Criswell – former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas (“one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century“) said about Roe: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person“.

So, what happened? I suggest a start-to-finish reading of Randall Balmer’s May 27, 2014 piece for Politico “The Real Origins of the Religious Right”. As the religious right might say, “the Truth will set you free”. Ironically, it won’t set the religious right free. The last thing on earth they want any part of is the Truth. The reason evangelicals, fundamentalists and hard core religionistas needed a cause to rally ’round was that their previous cause – maintaining school segregation – failed miserably.

Racism, bigotry and willful ignorance – not Jesus – inform and shape fundamentalist Christian faith. I dare a single one of them to challenge that with receipts that say otherwise.

Feelings, not facts, have always been “the way” not only for fundamentalist Christians but conservatives as a whole. Keep in mind, conservatives view the future with dread because it’s unknown. That’s why everything they do is geared toward conserving the past – or as much of the past that still remains in the present. If conservatives could freeze us in time – press us in amber – they would. In their cold, dark hearts, white conservatives are white “hegemonists”, too.

Originalism wants us all to think that America can only ever be the country imagined by its rich, white, Christian, land-owning, male founders. Do you suppose if America’s founders had had access to the science and information contemporary Americans begin with, that they would have written America’s founding documents the same way? Hell, if slavery – which is stolen labor first and foremost (it’s the whole point of slavery – to get someone’s work output for nothing) had not been an option for all the Southern American plantations growing tobacco, sugar cane and cotton (all very labor intensive to get from ground to factory), they would have been forced to pay whatever the standard market rate was for all that work. Would there ever have been a Confederate States of America dedicated to maintaining slavery? Of course not! Hey, maybe in its place, the first ever “Worker’s Paradise” might have arisen.

Fundamentalist Christians, don’t forget, used the Bible to justify slavery! And to justify anti-miscegenation laws. They really have turned Jesus – or the faith they claim Jesus inspired – into something Jesus could never have imagined (especially considering how deeply anti-Semitic it is). But then, look at what fundamentalist Christians – and the cynical conservative money using them for its purposes – are doing to democracy. Democracy (like Jesus preaching “Do unto others”) is something fundamentalist Christians have zero use for.

Democracy and fundamentalist anything are mutually exclusive propositions. One may place one’s hand upon a Bible while taking an oath of office (a bizarre thing to do considering how detached from Truth that text has become) but nothing inside the covers of that book should ever supersede the Constitution one just promised to hold above everything else. To do otherwise is to swear a false oath – which, I’m pretty sure, violates at least one of the Ten Commandments (one of the foundational concepts undergirding the Bible’s entire “franchise”).

So, to sum up, nothing justifies the right wing’s power grab. And – please take note, news media, lusting for permanent minority rule may be the right wing’s “opinion” of what America needs going forward, but just because the right wing has that opinion does not make that opinion either 1) correct or 2) popular enough to warrant making it the law of the land. In fact, at the moment Alito’s leaked outrage dropped, 72% of Americans did not want the SCOTUS to do what Alito was driving them to do.

Hmmmmmm… strange… what do we call it when someone blows past a clear “no” and presses what they want on someone unwilling? If it’s sexual, we call it “rape”. Rapists don’t just act “rapey” while actively raping. They are rapists 24/7 in everything they do. The GOP, as we know, harbors rape culture. That the Republican Party would persist in forcing itself upon an unwilling America – the reason it feels “rapey” is because it IS “rapey”.

As a victim of sexual assault (the religious director at the synagogue my family belonged to sexually molested me twice when I was 14), I’m kinda sensitive to that “prickling feeling” on the back of my neck. I know what sexual assault feels like. This – what the GOP’s doing to America – it has the exact same feeling. It ain’t a coincidence.

Sexual assault – the threat of it – having a bully seize control of you, your body, your sense of safety and well-being – it debilitates. That’s by design. The Republicans are all bullies and Sam Alito could be their poster boy. The thing is, those bullies just made their bullying personal for every woman in the country.

At the end of the day, the hard core conservatives pushing America toward authoritarianism are 13% of us. That’s it. This is not now nor has it ever been any kind of “fifty-fifty” proposition where half the country wants one thing and half wants the opposite. That’s a fiction invented by our lazy, incurious, cynical, “both sides do it” press.

Both sides do not seek to strip rights from other Americans (and, by the way, as written, the Second Amendment is NOT a gun shop free-for-all, it’s about gun regulation – the “well regulated militia” gets to decide who “keeps and bears” arms. The amendment never uses the world “own” – a perfectly good word back then and quite different in meaning from either “keep” or “bear”.

Want to know who gun legislation is personal for? Anyone who’s been impacted by gun violence in America. Want to know who Sam Alito’s power grab is personal for? Every woman in America because Alito and the GOP just power grabbed for control of every woman’s body (and every American’s right to privacy).

The Republicans made their politics personal for the very people they’re trying to subdue and subordinate. Back in the 50’s (the 1850’s especially), that worked. It will not work today.

Our dumber-than-dumb news media keeps asking the question “But, will women do anything come election time?” as if they’ve never met a woman in their lives. What won’t they do to punish Republicans for their audacity (as Kamala Harris put it: “How DARE they!”)? Voting Republicans out will be the least of it. It’s not just the corrupt politicians preaching hate that present the problem. It’s the culture that the politicians are pandering to. That’s the thing that needs to be ripped out at the roots and tossed aside.

The GOP is about to start down a road they can’t comprehend because they can’t imagine themselves being punished for their criminality and outright wickedness. But, that is what’s about to happen.

How, I wonder, does one run political ad campaigns touting “Hey, we’re the guys who took away your right to control your own body! Vote for us so we can strip away some more of your rights!” And I’m not sure how one does that while being prosecuted for “seditious conspiracy”. That IS what’s coming for Republicans. The DoJ’s investigation into the January 6 insurrection has been agonizingly slow and agonizingly silent. But, distinct indications are that the DoJ has been building a RICO-style case not just against those who breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021 but against everyone involved in planning, financing and running the plot. That is how “conspiracies” work.

At some moment – quite soon, I betcha – the DoJ will indict a sitting Republican Congressperson. It could be Matt Gaetz or Marjory Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert or Jim Jordan or Kevin McCarthy. When that happens – when that veil finally gets pierced, we will enter a whole other phase of this story. Do ya really suppose cowards and traitors will stand up for what they’re doing? Or will they turn on each other as they suddenly realize 1) just how expensive defending themselves will be, 2) there’s only so much GoFundMe cash to go around, 3) all the GoFundMe cash is gone, the case against them is open-and-shut because there are receipts, and 4) the punishment for “seditious conspiracy” is twenty years, seditious conspiracy won’t be the only charge leveled at them. Treason will be there, too.

Because Russia absolutely had (and still has) a hand in what the GOP is doing. Russia controls Trump after all. And pretty much the entire Republican Party.

Why have the Republicans resisted any investigation into Trump so vociferously? Because the Republicans knew even before they nominated Trump that Putin was paying him.

Wanna know when it’s going to get HYPER personal for Americans – and not just women? When it becomes an irrefutable fact that Donald Trump, his entire family, his entire circle and – because that’s how conspiracy works – the entire Republican Party (minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) are stone cold traitors beholden to Russia. Americans – most people, really – despise traitors.

Treason causes an emotional response inside us. It should. Treason is betrayal on a macro level. There is no “coming back” from it. How could we ever trust traitors ever again not to betray us? We can’t.

That’s the buzz saw coming for the Republican Party. We The People are the buzz saw. There won’t be any stopping us until are rage is fully spent.

Hey, it’s personal, ya know?

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