Rush Limbaugh’s reemergence in the news as cancer victim/Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient reminded me of an incident about a decade ago when some of his usually supportive listeners turned on him for a minute or two. Rush had chided then First Lady Michelle Obama for being overweight. His typically trollish Yahoo commentators (sprawled on beanbag chairs in their darkened rooms), chided Rush, not because of the Rabelaisian hypocrisy of the equivalent of Fatty Arbuckle wagging his sausage-like forefinger at, say, Mae West. No, because the vast majority of Rush’s female listening audience considered themselves to be overweight and body-shaming uncalled for.
Meanwhile, the Far Right’s own Michelle Bachmann was inveighing against First Lady Michelle’s push to raise awareness of the benefits of breast feeding. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump … You want to talk about nanny state, I think we just got a new definition,” she screeched.
Not, your breast pump, Miss Narcissist, an impoverished mother’s breast pump (perhaps one of those weak-willed abstinence-trained adolescents).
Leave it to the Radical Right to turn nanny into a dirty word. Next thing you know maternal will be a vile insult, like liberal. A maternal state that would like to see all its babies well-cared for is a pernicious place where the pocket of the patriarchal super rich is picked to redistribute their largesse among the issue of the lazy, the unwed, the unfit.
The fellow below has earned – well, actually, inherited – his money; still, no matter how he got it, it’s unfair to skim a portion of that pile to fund the filling of the cavities of impoverished children. Even the lightest redistribution of wealth, 5% say, would bring the economy crashing down around us like walls of Jericho. Wealth is a Calvinistic litmus test that determines who is blessed and who is not. Let the marketplace decide. We’re a patriarchy for Christ’s sake!
Suffer the children indeed.
This Orwellian manipulation of language is incredibly effective: if you repeatedly make good things sound bad, they become bad in the minds of the listeners. For example, when I taught high school, each year I’d ask my students if anyone in the class identified as a feminist. The girls would cast their eyes floorward and mutter “no” or “not really.” “What?” I’d ask, feigning incredulity, “so you believe that you should earn less money than men working at the same job? You believe your husbands should be able to tell you how to dress? You’re against maternity leave?” To them, a feminist is not someone who believes in gender equality but, rather, Rush Limbaugh’s Jungian shadow: the late Andrea Dworkin: unattractive, militant, butch. Repeat the word feminist and flash Dworkin’s image often enough, and she becomes the incarnation of feminism.
Alas, a deep acidic strain of misogyny, perhaps Bible-based, infects the worldview of the Radical Right. Otherwise, explain the visceral hatred that Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi evoke. What gives? What is it about these women that can generate enough animus to spawn millions of dollars in bumper sticker sales? Name a male Democratic politician who has stoked as much animus as Hillary and Nancy. Certainly, would think self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders would be an unrelenting target of their scorn, but thus far he hasn’t.
All that I can come up with is that for some strange, perverse psychological reason (I have my unscientific but intuitively rich guesses), members of the Radical Right resent their mothers and have projected their archetypal negative farrow-eating images on womankind in general. Paradoxically, they’ll allow masculine models like Margaret Thatcher and Ayn Rand into their political and intellectual men’s clubs but banish more maternal women to domestic or secretarial duties. The females who carry the banner of the Radical Right – Ann Coulter, Laura Ingle, Katherine Harris – project hardness; sport inorganic, breakable hair; force their feet into corset-like stilettos; stomp toward the dais; spew sarcasm. They’re about as maternal as a backhand to the mouth.
2 thoughts on “Unmaternal Republicans”
How eloquently vitriolic.
“Alas, a deep acidic strain of misogyny, perhaps Bible-based, infects the worldview of the Radical Right.” And it hasn’t infected the perhaps impiety-based Elitist Liberal Left?
Let’s consider the extensive and ever-growing list of Democrat(ic) Party misogynists: Michael Bloomberg, Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, Jeffrey Epstein, Eliot Spitzer, Justin Fairfax, Cenk Uygur, Tee Lavoy, The Washington State Democratic Caucus, Bernie Sanders staff members including Ben Mora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Oh, and let’s not forget probably the most noted misogynistic President and First Lady of all time, Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton and his henchwoman Hilla the Hun. Bill took advantage of and abused a plethora of women (allegedly including rape) and Hillary not only looked the other way but helped denigrate those women.
Leftist feminist, journalist, and author Jill Filipovic wrote on Twitter after word of Sanders’s endorsement (of Cenk Uygur) spread: “I am tired of misogyny on the left. I am tired of being told I am imagining misogyny on the left. I am tired of being told ‘progressive values’ mean we have to overlook misogyny on the left. I am tired of gender equality apparently not being a ‘progressive value.’ ”
I’m always disheartened and somewhat bewildered when I hear my intelligent, well-educated, talented friends fall for the “Party” or “Direction (Left or Right)” trap, seemingly without recognizing that politicians, power brokers, money grabbers, and egotists are pretty much all in it together. For the life of me I don’t understand why any logical, level-headed, mentally well-balanced person would want to be associated with or identified by a political organization or “Party” or “Direction”, especially considering the divisive nature of politics and government in this country (and around the world…China, Germany, Mid East, even Ireland…it’s happening all over). The “Party” don’t know nothing about partying…
Smug Elitist Liberalism is just as bad as Radical Right Conservatism. They all use racism, sexism, misogynism, socialism, capitalism, whatever-ism you want to pick to further their own agenda. I’m all for a good Republican bashing, but not without an equal bashing of the Democrats. Buying into either side’s propaganda is just helping them accomplish what they’re trying to do, which is not usually or necessarily in the people’s or country’s best interest.
There’s a ton more examples of hate and misogyny within a given party, not even considering the hate and misogyny directed at the other side. It’s time for the partisan blinders to come off about both sides. Until that happens we can’t expect any better.
If anyone needs to join a “Party” they should join the Party of One, and just party. And if someone needs a “Direction” tell ‘em to ask me, I’ll tell ‘em where to go…
Dig the passion, and I agree misogyny occurs on the left and right.