Republican strategists use three issues to get their candidates elected: guns, abortion and immigration. To succeed, they lie, inflame and obscure facts they don’t want their base to know.
One of their biggest lies is that Democrats want to take away everyone’s guns. They have no evidence, of course, nor do they consider that a lot of Democrats have their own guns and enjoy hunting, skeet shooting, and target practice. Many Democrats also keep guns for protection, though in all my long life I’ve never known anyone who needed one for that.
I grew up with guns in the house. My dad had a service revolver from when he had worked at a police department, and a shotgun he’d inherited from his father. On our farm, my husband and I sometimes shot cans off fenceposts to see how accurate we could be. Since there wasn’t a road or residence for more than nine miles north of our place, we didn’t have to worry about hurting anything or anyone. We also ate plenty of venison and grouse, which didn’t miraculously appear at our doorstep.
Democrats just want sensible gun laws. Responsible, law-abiding gun owners support gun safety training, universal background checks and a 48-hour waiting period before someone can purchase a firearm. They don’t see a problem with registering their guns just like they register their cars. That helps law enforcement trace weapons used in crimes. All the fearmongering and lies spread by conservative groups is just a way to make their voters forget Republicans don’t do a thing for the average person.
The subject of abortion is another issue they use. They don’t reveal that if abortions are banned, only rich women will get safe ones. Women who can’t afford to travel to get one will just go to unskilled practitioners and many would die. What really decreases the number of abortions is access to affordable birth control, but conservative lawmakers insist on closing the Planned Parenthood clinics that provide it. Many of them also want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which requires most private health insurance plans to cover contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs. Reasonable people see how absurd their actions are.
As for abortion, nobody I know is in favor of it, and most Democrats are against late-term abortions. But those are very rare and almost always done to save the lives of the mothers. Otherwise, reasonable people know that having an abortion is due to a decision made as a result of dire circumstances and a great amount of thought and distress. Girls as young as 11 can, and do, get pregnant. Would any girl that age, or her parents, want her to carry a baby for nine months, stay home from school, and suffer that humiliation? And what if she is disabled or mentally incompetent? That’s often been the case of girls who were raped.
I’d bet if conservative, male lawmakers could get pregnant from the time they reached puberty, they wouldn’t be against abortion. But it’s not their lives, or their bodies, that are affected. They can impregnate a woman and walk away without any concern their lives will be altered. And while they rant about their individual freedoms, they have no qualms taking the freedom away from girls and women to control what happens to their own bodies. What hypocrisy.
Then there’s the subject of immigration. Republican lawmakers who make a fuss about it hide the fact that most people who grow, harvest and process our fruits and vegetables, milk most of our dairy cows, and process most of our meat are immigrants. It’s mostly immigrants who clean the rooms and maintain the landscaping of hotels and motels because not enough native-born Americans will do it. And while those Republicans complain about and strive to destroy the lives of illegal immigrants doing all that hard work, they refuse to punish the people who own the businesses that hire those immigrants and profit from their poorly paid labor. Again, their hypocrisy is astounding and should be apparent to anyone paying attention.
Yet they get away with it. Their supporters, like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing pundits figure if they can get their base riled up about those issues, their voters will ignore that they’re not helping ordinary people. The truth is that they’ve given more than 85% of the tax cuts to the richest 10%, killed off unions that fight for fair wages, support industries that pay poor wages and destroy the quality of our air and water, and approve judges who rule in favor of the rich and well-connected over the protection of ordinary people and our environment.
Pat Nash has lived in the Baraboo area, off and on, for more than 35 years. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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