Saturday, October 6, 2012


[NOTE: This blog repeats this week's column for those who do not read the Las Cruces Sun-News.  What I say of New Mexico's GOP governor and GOP senate and second congressional representative resembles what is said elsewhere of other GOP officials and candidates.

The national pattern of GOP efforts at disenfranchisement is replicated in New Mexico, as the following story indicates.  The link shows a story in which Steve Pearce encourages illegal acts to suppress Hispanic votes.  Here is a passage from the story:

At CPAC Colorado, a conservative conference today in Denver, I asked Congressman Steve Pearce, a Republican lawmaker who represents New Mexico, about the brewing controversy. Pearce appeared to be aware of the NM GOP’s poll watching efforts, and supported them.
“We’re simply saying that we’re going to start, we’re going to take it back it into our hands,” said Pearce. “We should check for ID since you have to show an ID to do anything in America.”
He did, however, admit that doing so would be against the law. “Its against New Mexico law to check for ID,” the congressman conceded.
Two points:  One, Pearce has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this country.  Perhaps he has not sworn to uphold the laws of this state.  But if he is prepared to encourage lawbreaking, he is complicit in illegal activity.  Does this man respect anything at all?  Two, Pearce is admitting that without lying, cheating, and stealing, Republicans are losers.  Given Republican voter suppression efforts elsewhere as well, it is plain that Republicans know that majority of Americans do not support the GOP's positions.]

Sex, Secret Agendas, and Stealth Candidates

New Mexico’s first female Hispanic governor, Susana Martinez, has performed a useful public information service—not that she meant to.

In March, Martinez signed an executive proclamation making April 2012 the “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”  After stating the demographic diversity and various consequences of sexual assault, she noted that “fifteen percent of New Mexican adults have been forcibly raped at least once in their lifetime.”  In September, the Children, Youth and Families Department proposed a requirement exempting those who could prove that they were victims of “forcible rape”—a concept excluding incest, statutory rape, date rape, etc.—from having to file certain papers to receive benefits.

The disclosure of the proposal’s now-toxic language prompted Martinez to order its removal.  She claimed, through her spokesman, a former Heather Wilson spokeswoman, that “she doesn’t support its usage.”  Obviously, given her signed proclamation, she lied.  Apparently, she believed that, after highlighting the previous administration’s duplicity and dishonesty, she could hide her own duplicity and dishonesty.

The episode teaches three lessons.  One, Martinez demonstrated that not only white male, but also Hispanic female, Republicans believe that “forcible rape,” like “legitimate rape” is a distinct, meaningful legal concept.  Two, she revealed that state Republicans prefer the secrecy of silence on sensitive issues and operate secretly to implement their agendas.  Three, she gives New Mexicans good reason to suspect state Republicans of either keeping silent about their intentions or saying one thing and meaning another.

These tactics characterize recent Republican campaigns.  In 2010, Republicans campaigned on job creation and concealed their positions on sex control; once elected, they enacted sex-control laws and ignored job-creation laws.  Second, in 2012, Romney’s once-secret views about “47 percent” of Americans—“who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that the government has a responsibility to care for them” and who do not take “personal responsibility and care for their lives”—make clear that he as well as other Republicans say one thing in private to their big-bucks-a-plate supporters and another thing in public to ordinary citizens.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been clear each time he states an etch-a-sketch view on gender-related issues.  Depending on when, to whom, and for what purpose he speaks, he supports or does not support same-sex marriage, military service by homosexuals, Planned Parenthood, contraception as an insurance benefit, abortion, and a definition of life beginning at conception (personhood amendment).  He covers the ground, probably cares little about any position on these issues unless it will win votes, and, if elected, will let the Tea Party caucus dictate his positions.

Other Republican incumbents, challengers, or campaigners seem pre-occupied with sex.  They represent rank-and-file conservative Republican constituents, who share the same pre-occupation and are vociferous in opposition to aspects of sex imagined to threaten their community or undermine the moral fiber of the country.  Anyone who has driven in areas where Christian fundamentalism thrives has probably noted, with some sense of irony, that adult book and movie stores, and strip joints and gentlemen’s bars, thrive in the same areas.

Society’s efforts to repress disapproved varieties of sex, and irrepressible individual impulses to sexual deviance, was long ago narrated in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the story of an illicit romance between a Puritan minister and a married woman living with their illegitimate child.  The novel suggests why, though the Bible declares adultery a violation of the Seventh Commandment and homosexuality an abomination—deviations by about 60 and 10 percent of the population, respectively—fundamentalist preachers devote most of their sermons to the minority rather than the majority of sinners. 

But I digress.  Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce agree on sex control.  Both oppose all but one of the issues on which Romney waffles; both favor a life-and-personhood-begin-at-conception definition.  Both support their positions with religious reasons while they pretend to support religious freedom.  For both know that their positions about conception, abortion, and the definition of life are sectarian, and that the laws which they will support will violate the religious freedom of those whose views differ from theirs.  But, to them, the count of Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians is small, so, to them, they do not count.  They say one thing and mean another.

Wilson and Pearce are equally deceptive about the size and role of government when it comes to sex-control.  They say they want smaller government, greater personal freedom, and more personal responsibility.  But they support government big enough to diminish personal freedom and eliminate personal responsibility in the choices people make in their private lives.  Although they, unlike the Junior Anti-Sex League in Orwell’s 1984, do not want to ban sex altogether, they want to enact laws restricting the sexual choices of many men and about 98 percent of all women.

The GOP platform says what Romney, Wilson, and Pearce will not say now what they will do if elected.  Are you good with that?

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