Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on abortion in the case known as Roe V. Wade. In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court, citing a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, struck down laws that existed in virtually every state, that restricted a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in a sterile medical facility. Abortions were still taking place prior to the court’s decision; but more often than not, women had to accept some back-alley butcher as the abortion provider. It didn’t happen frequently, but sometimes women died during the procedure, because the person performing the abortion was often not a medical professional. In the 39 years since Roe V. Wade became law, about 55 million abortions have taken place, over, of course, the strenuous objections of religious fanatics who have fought the de-criminalization of abortion every step of the way. The Republican platform this year would prohibit abortions in every circumstance, without exception. Since the prohibition of anything is meaningless unless there are serious criminal penalties attached, the tens of millions of women that have had abortions over the last 39 years would have to do some serious jail time (say 5-10 years or longer) to say nothing of the doctors that performed the abortions and the nurses that may have assisted them, had the anti-abortionists won the day. I always knew that there was a considerable shortage of prison space in this country.
This came to mind because during this election season, all the snakes seem to be slithering out from under the rocks that sheltered them. For example, about 6-8 months ago there were a series of vile sermons given in churches (all of which seemed to be in North Carolina for some reason) that sought to demonize homosexuality in general and gay marriage in particular using the most venomous language. The sermons were being recorded and later posted on YouTube for all the world to see. What was most disturbing about these exercises in pure, distilled hatred, was not the bible-thumping crackpots giving these sermons. It was the several hundred people who attended these churches and cheered wildly as the bible -thumpers promised hell and damnation to anyone living the gay life-style. So much for civility and love-thy-neighbor in the Christian community.
Then several weeks ago, the Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri decided that he was going to outdo everybody in his fanatical anti-abortion beliefs. He came out with statements to the effect that he was told by medical professionals, that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would naturally cleanse itself of the fetus. He didn’t say what the body would do in cases of illegitimate rape, or for that matter, what his definitions of legitimate versus illegitimate rape were. The absurdity of his remarks were so mind-boggeling that even Mitt Romney, who goes to huge lengths not to offend any possible voter, issued a mild rebuke. However, even Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s former consigliere, who has created his own Super-Pac, with express intent of electing an all-Repulican Congress as a present to a Romney presidency, washed his hands of that one.
Still not to be out-done in religious fanaticism, the guy running for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, the other day, made the incoherent statement that if a woman gets pregnant because of rape (presumably both legitimate and illegitimate) it’s God’s will that she have that baby rather than seek abortion. ( Just the words that the parents of a 15 year-old daughter that’s been sexually assaulted by some psycho animal, want to hear.) The problem in this case is that His Mittness had previously been caught on tape as endorsing this Republican candidate, as just the type of person that’s needed in Washington to clean things up. Fearing that he may have already alienated one evangelical nut-case too many with his previous rebuke of the guy in Missouri, His Mittness is still standing by his endorsement of the Indiana would-be Senator. Both the Missouri and Indiana religious extremists are Tea-Party favorites who believe that all our fiscal problems will be solved if we just cut-out the couple of million dollars the Government gives to Planned Parenthood. But don’t under-estimate depth of religious zealotry that prevails in much of this country, especially in the mid-west and south. Both men might still eke out a narrow victory in each of their races.
Lets go back, for the moment, to the elections of 2010 when the Tea Party movement was at its zenith. It was obvious that the GOP would capture control of the House of Representatives by a wide margin due to the country’s dislike of Obamacare and other issues. Karl Rove, who I mentioned earlier, also set his sights on Republican control of the Senate; but that would be more difficult because the Democrats had 59 Senate seats. But it was doable. One of the key Senate races that Rove was counting on to switch from Democrat to Republican was in Delaware. Mike Castle, one of dying breed of moderate Republicans, was running for that seat, and was considered a shoo-in victor against his Democratic opponent. He had been a popular Governor and then Congressman, and Rove considered his election to be a forgone conclusion. But first he had to win the GOP primary.
The Tea Party movement at that time, in its infinite wisdom, considered Mike Castle to be too moderate, and so put up their own candidate to oppose him in the primary. Their choice was a woman named Christine O’Donnell who had no previous political experience. Like Sarah Palin, she was pretty and perky, but a complete dingbat. However, only 12% of registered Republicans bothered to show up for the primary vote, and most of them were Tea Party fanatics. Christine O’Donnell, therefore, beat Mike Castle in the primary to became the GOP nominee, but thereby ended all hopes of the Senate reverting to Republican control. Upon hearing the news of Christine’s win, it was said that Karl Rove threw a tantrum, beating his fists into the floor and wailing for 24 hours.
In the general election (which was for Joe Biden’s old seat), it came out that Christine had practiced some form of witchcraft in the 1990s. As you may remember, that led her to cut a famous TV ad in which she starts out by saying: “I’m not a witch.” Words that the average American thought they would never hear in a political campaign since the 17th century. In any event, the Democrat, who was largely unknown, easily won the race and ended GOP hopes for Senate control.
In this coming election, the Tea Party is also strongly backing Mitt Romney and Republican Congressional hopefuls. It doesn’t matter that His Mittness used to be for safe and legal abortions before he was against them, that he was for universal health care before he was against it, that he was for gun control laws before he was against them and on and on. If I listed everything, I have a blog longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls. But if elected, Romney will make one major difference, and that is appointing an anti-abotion judge to the Supreme Court. The 40 year dream of zealots, fanatics, and outright religious crackpots, of overturning Roe V. Wade will finally be realized, if the public allows this by electing Mitt Romney as our next President.