Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mid-Week News Items: Guns and Guys, Right-Wing Extremism, Racism, Misogyny, and the Tea Party Agenda

The following news snippets have to do with political issues including guns, guys, gender and race, violence against women, and the GOP's agenda of total obstruction as exemplified by Dave Brat in Virginia:

Another day, another school-shooting in the shining city built on a hilltop U.S. of A.: here's Sam Stein commenting at HuffPo on yesterday's shooting in Oregon:

Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according to data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence.

In the wake of this weekend's shootings in Georgia and Las Vegas, for Alternet, CJ Werleman continues the discussion of the refusal of the mainstream media to provide the American public information to connect the dots between right-wing extremism (with clear ties to the Tea Party) and such incidents:

In the first 36 hours since the shooting, CNN has used the following words and terms to discuss the shooting: "extremism," "extremist domestic groups," "radical groups," "anti-government groups and individuals," but not once has the term "right wing" or any mention of the Tea Party been uttered.

At Salon, Paul Rosenberg digs into the deep roots of the love affair between guys (and some old boys of the opposite gender) and guns:

There’s a deeply gendered aspect to all this, just as there’s a deeply racist one. It’s about the loss of white male power, being recast in terms of a mythology of universal "God-given rights." This is why they’re impervious to the actual history of the Second Amendment, or the actual content of Lockean social contract theory. The true origins of our political institutions do not so nicely support their white male fantasy needs, so they substitute a new self-flattering mythology in its place.

For Truthdig, Juan Cole also lifts the racist subtext out of the most recent stories of violent right-wing extremism in the U.S.:

The American far Right, with its white supremacism, fascination with guns and explosives, profound hatred for the Federal government, poses the biggest terrorism threat in the country by far.

Also drawing attention among news commentators and bloggers today: the ongoing discussion, after the Isla Vista shootings, of another kind of violence — violence against women. For Common Dreams, Abby Zimet takes a close look at an op-ed in the Washington Post today, in which W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson argue that, no worries! If women want to be shielded from violence, they should stop the sluttery and just retain a strong man to protect them by marrying: 

Racking up some big wins in the Clueless Misogyny Awards, the Washington Post ran a jaw-dropping op-ed today in which two right-wing cranks argue the solution to violence against women is for those women to just up and get hitched because "married fathers" provide direct protection by watching out for the physical welfare of their wives and daughters."

Zimet's link re: right-wing cranks points you to the Regnerus Fallout site I discussed in my previous posting (and I learned of the site by reading Zimet's article). Turns out that Bradford Wilcox is joined at the hip to Mark Regnerus, which joins Regnerus's anti-gay agenda to Wilcox's women's-subordination agenda. And are you really surprised to find this link?

In response to Wilcox and Wilson, Katie McDonough states flatly at Salon,

Being legally married to a woman does not mean that a man will not violently abuse her. Being the biological father of a child does not mean that a father will not violently abuse that child.

A very salient and important reminder, I might add, when statistics show that a huge percentage of the violence women suffer occurs right in their homes, with their husbands or male partners as the perpetrators . . . . 

At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner looks at the right-wing evangelical belief system, with its stress on male entitlement and the female obligation to submit, that drives Wilcox's analysis: 

Behind every successful marriage, for Wilcox, it seems, is a big dose of religion, and with that, traditional gender roles. Which makes him a very odd choice to deliver pointers on ending misogyny.

And on to other political issues that are not entirely unrelated to those above: for The Nation, Zoë Carpenter looks at what happened in Virginia this weekend, where, to all appearances, Republicans bribed a Democratic state senator to stop expansion of Medicaid to some 400,000 poor Virginians. She concludes, 

For years now Republicans have trotted out the same reasonable-sounding lies to fight the expansion, namely the myth that states can’t afford it. The real callousness that undergirds their ideological campaign was made clear this year, however, by a handful of state senators in Missouri, who gathered on the Senate floor to make it clear that there would be 'no path' forward for the expansion."

And also from Virginia: at Salon Joan Walsh comments on the defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor yesterday, noting, 

Cantor is another conscience-free Republican leader who courted the Tea Party when it seemed politically advantageous and then tried to run from it when it was clear it was going to bite him in the ass.

And for Esquire, re: Cantor's opponent Dave Brat (who is, by the way, a right-wing Catholic theocrat who believes that the founders of the U.S. enshrined religious values and belief in God in the Constitution as foundational requirements of the nation's polity), Charles P. Pierce opines

Professor Dave Brat has taught his first lesson. The worst possible thing any Republican politician can do -- even a powerful politician, even a member of the congressional leadership -- is to demonstrate, however faintly, that the national government should work at all.

Cantor lost, in other words, because he was, willing to try to govern as a member of Congress, albeit reluctantly and faintly. Whereas Brat's prescription is total resistance to any proposal coming to Congress from the current administration, no matter how much misery this obstruction and refusal to govern inflict on American citizens, and no matter how much damage they do to the common good and body politic . . . .

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