The right-wing extremists are at it again. Like termites, they are determined to unravel and then destroy all the rights the people in this country have secured through so many struggles.
In the past year, they have tried to whittle away access to voting by creating all sorts of registration barriers, including the need for photo IDs to prevent election fraud – the most dubious need ever to come down the pike.
Some extremists, like the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio, have led movements to carve away at workers’ rights to bargain collectively. Others want to end unemployment insurance. Still others are vowing to privatize Social Security, to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education – not to mention just about every other federal agency.
These extremists are the ones who have the obsession wedged in their minds that national government (and most of state government) is rotten to the core and unconstitutional. These politicians and their supporters seem to long for a LaLa Land in which free-market forces, without one iota of regulations, would create a nearly perfect world. Talk about wishful thinking.
Now, in the last couple of weeks, they’ve been claiming Pres. Obama is “attacking” religion, concerning the contraception-access issue. After Obama compromised with religious leaders, the extremists – who have always hated any kind of compromise with demon democrats – continued to squawk. Now some of them are raising “moral” questions about contraception, trying to slap their own ideas (or in some cases delusions) onto the rest of the American public. And now there is an extremist movement growing that all employers should be able to decide what their insurance plans should cover for their employees, based on their moral beliefs and personal biases. If an employer decides, for instance, that obesity is caused by irresponsible caloric intake, he or she could cross off on the insurance menu “weight-loss reduction help.” There’s no telling where this crazy-quilt nonsense would stop.
Right-wingers in Congress are trying to pass the “Blunt Amendment.” They claim they’re champions of “religious liberties.” It is nothing of the sort; it is, instead, a blatant attack on the health-care system itself – most obviously on “ObamaCare,” as they contemptuously call it. It is also a sneak attack on employer-sponsored health-care plans. It’s amazing what these destroyers resort to by using the all-purpose excuse of “religious liberties.”
On Feb. 16, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing about contraception, chaired by Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) and comprised completely of male committee members. Only two of 10 witnesses were women when the subject of women’s access to preventive health care was discussed. These outrages against women – and all Americans – keep getting worse. The other day, candidate Rick Santorum’s chief funding billionaire made a remark about the good old days of birth control when all women had to do was take a Bayer aspirin and press it between their knees. Later, he claimed it was “just a joke.” Some joke! Tell that to the millions of women who were stung by such a Cave-Age insult.
These extremists keep turning up the heat, keeping the pot boiling. Many are saying things they probably don’t even believe, but they know – in “dog-whistle” fashion – such poisonous plans are stirring up support among retro troglodytes willing to believe anything – anything at all, as long as it’s viciously anti-Obama. These are the same folks who are still trying to locate Obama’s “real” birth certificate, the ones who “know” the president is a Muslim socialist-communist, the ones convinced the president is eager to abolish Christianity.
Fortunately – at least, let us hope – these attempts to destroy a century of social and economic progress will backfire. These throw-backs will be soundly defeated by mainstream Americans who spurn their outrageous termite schemes.
It’s just a shame, though, we have to fight those good fights all over again.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.