By Robert A. Vella
Every day that passes now further convinces me that the white conservative Christian base of the Republican Party has completely lost their collective minds and has drifted off into a prescription drug-induced fantasy realm of their own twisted creation. We all know they want to resurrect the Medieval Crusades against Islam. We all know they want to lockup every Hispanic who dares set foot in the country they claim to own for themselves, as well as every black person who dares to challenge the behavior of their warrior-class protectors in law enforcement. We all know they want to dismantle the federal government, public education, social services, and anything else that doesn’t empower the very rich. We all know they want to destroy America’s separation of church and state. We all know they want to curtail women’s reproductive choices. We all know they want to bomb every nation or group who refuses to bow before the mighty altar of capitalism.
We all know these things because white conservative Christians constantly remind us through their words and deeds. But, what we might not know is just how crazy many of their elected officials truly are – those same officials whom are expected to act rationally and responsibly as public servants. Here are two rather shocking stories about right-wing extremism in America from last week’s news (believe me, there were many more).
New Hampshire Republican House speaker Shawn Jasper had to tell his fellow Republicans to “act with dignity, to act with respect, because we represent not only ourselves but our constituents and, in fact, the entire state of New Hamsphire,” at the opening of the 2016 New Hampshire legislative session. Why did he have to say this?
Jasper’s admonishment comes after two male legislators were criticized for crude Facebook comments aimed at Democratic representative Amanda Bouldin, who opposed the legislation and noted that it had only male sponsors. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for women to purposely expose their nipples publicly without regard for whether it might offend or alarm someone. It includes an exemption for breastfeeding.
Well, I mean “crude”? Really? How do you mean “crude”?
In response to Bouldin’s Facebook post, Republican representative Josh Moore, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, wrote that women who want to expose their breasts should have no problem with a man’s inclination to stare at it and “grab it.”
Al Baldasaro, another Republican, chimed in to disparage Bouldin’s appearance.
“No disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see,” he wrote. “You want to turn our family beach’s (sic) into a pervert show.”
Speaking on the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, made an unbelievably racist remark at a town hall on Wednesday:
These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue that we got to deal with down the road.
The comment, surfaced by Get Right Maine, plays on clear racial overtones by using names typically attributed to black culture and rap, and suggests that black people are outsiders, criminals, drug dealers, and rapists that take advantage of young white women. (This racial trope in the war on drugs goes back to at least the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when local, state, and federal lawmakers pushed drug laws by suggesting that minority people would lure and harm young white women with drugs.)