Every time I get discouraged by the corporate dingleberry-ism of too many politicians in the Democratic Party I try to remind myself what the alternative is: the Republican Party. Today the Republicans did that job of reminding me.
That's because they are debating the 2016 party platform, and it looks* to be turning into something very rickety:
Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and declares pornography a “public health crisis.”
It is a platform that at times seems to channel the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump — calling to “destroy ISIS,” belittling President Obama as weak and accusing his administration of inviting attacks from adversaries.But the document positions itself far to the right of Mr. Trump’s beliefs in other places — and amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012 — especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people.
Victorian, the New York Times calls it on social values. In common parlance, the Republicans want no same-sex marriage, trans people must use the toilets of the biological sex they were determined to have at birth, there will be no abortion for the sluts (naturally)**, and "traditional" family roles are central.
Some of this is written in code, so that when "traditional families" are mentioned the reference carries a lot of extra weight to the true believers. On the surface level it means disapproval of same-sex marriages and single parents, most of whom are women, but the connotations of that term "traditional" are likely to be much wider: Perhaps it refers to a family where the wife subjugates herself to the husband's headship, where she stays at home fulfilling her Biblical helpmate role and her biological fertility role, while the husband is the bread-winner and the public face (even in one sense the core) and the ruler of the whole family.
Or perhaps not. But that is what I smell.
I have heard rumors that the current power struggles inside the teetering Republican Party might be won by the religious fundamentalist faction, and the weirdness of the new platform supports that conjecture. Also:
Social conservatives in the party exerted significant influence over the drafting and amending of the platform this week, succeeding in almost all of their efforts to add language that pushed the document more to the right.And what Republicans will probably end up with when they formally vote next week to ratify the platform approved in committee on Tuesday is a text that can seem almost Victorian in its moralizing and deeply critical of how the modern American family has evolved.The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”
Did your hair rise up when you read that? Mine did.
But something in that quote is truly hilarious, assuming it correctly reflects the draft platform: That reference to God-given, natural rights would tremendously please ISIS, the vilest of all religious terrorist groups! They'd love to be in charge of defining what the celestial power*** believes are the natural and divinely-decreed rights of people, they would! Just like these US fundies love that role.
Still, I doubt that the creators of that platform plan to let extremist Wahhabist religious beliefs to stipulate what laws are being made in the United States, because the weirdos here are Christian ones, or that they want the Koran to be taught in US public schools. I suspect their hair would rise up if anyone pointed out that their platform is also rooting for those things, because the government cannot promote one religion over others.
This is hilarious within the wider foreign politics context as well: The Republican Party platform wants to "destroy ISIS" and then offers a bundle of so-called socially conservative goals which ISIS would certainly regard as at least a first small step in the right direction.
* Some parts of the draft report have been leaked. Here, for example. More of its possible contents are available here. This is a good summary of the way the 2016 draft platform has veered away from mainstream opinions in the US and toward the extreme fringe of the Republican Party. One snippet from it is worthwhile on this women's lib blog:
On military issues, delegates formally expressed opposition to requiring women to join the draft and rejected language that would have softened the party’s opposition to women serving in military combat roles. But an overwhelming majority of Americans support having women fight in combat and more see improved military effectiveness as a result of the change, according to polls taken in recent years by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.
That's really funny, too, because the Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) argue that it is the feminists who don't want women to join the draft or military women to serve in combat roles! If they are right, then the creators of this part of the platform are feminists. Except that everything pertaining to women, gender and sexuality in the platform is intended to nail really ancient and patriarchal values to the flag pole forevermore. Women can't be in the military because they are supposed to be in the kitchen making sandwiches.
** Life News, an anti-abortion website, loves the draft platform because it is the most forced-birth oriented ever. They also note this:
Billy Valentine, director of government affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List, told Politico that the new Republican Party language could be “the strongest pro-life platform yet.”
“The life language that came out of the constitution subcommittee is even stronger than the 2012 language,” Valentine said.
Several strong pro-life leaders are in charge of drafting the new Republican Party platform. The Hill reports U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is the chair the Republican platform committee. Barrasso, who represents Wyoming, has a 100-percent pro-life voting record from the National Right to Life Committee. His appointment as chair signaled a strong party commitment to restoring unborn babies’ right to life.
There was some speculation that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would attempt to weaken the party’s pro-life position. In April, Trump said he “absolutely” wants to change the current pro-life platform to promote abortions in cases of rape and incest.
*** Their reference isn't to Echidne of the snakes, either. More's the pity, because I'd run this country exceedingly well.