It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these ‘Café Moi’ pieces, but I felt compelled to address this after last night’s podcast, when my co-host Rick Rose brought up the current firestorm over Tom Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment.
The entire spectrum of Republicans, from the dwindling and increasingly impotent establishment to the shrill, irrationally furious Tea Party (aka Christian extremists), is telling Akin to step aside. Not because his comment was, as they claim, terribly offensive, but because he made the mistake of being very plain spoken about what they think: despite having plenty of women in their ranks, the core of the GOP considers, at the deepest level (so deep they probably can’t admit it to themselves), women to be property, in spirit if not in law. As for girls? Forget it. If things go their way we could someday regularly see 12 year old girls giving birth to their father’s (or uncle’s or brother’s) children from incestuous rape because, well, the Bible tells them so. (Their exemption-free prohibition on abortion, as expected in their party platform, is not balanced by any call to make impregnating a woman or girl through rape or incest a capital crime; that would at least make the transparency of their anti-female worldview a bit more opaque).
This discussion blindsided me a bit; I was expecting to just have a light-hearted chat with our guest about the entrepreneurial spirit and taking risks to follow our passions. Instead I was reminded of the proposed GOP platform, and in it, a plank opposing marriage equality (of course) but – how exciting! how gracious! how kind! – extending “dignity and respect” to all people, which means us.
Think about it: the Republican Party is willing to extend dignity and respect to LGBT people, as if these are things that can be extended. Or maybe they’re acknowledging our worth, however diminished it is compared to theirs. It reminds me of the unfortunate embrace of “tolerance” in our culture, as one may tolerate a rodent as long as it isn’t eating the cereal. I have no interest in being tolerated. Nor do I fall for the poison flowers of “dignity and respect,” much as a snake might offer to a mouse before she eats it.
“Dignity and respect” are meaningless, words meant to mollify and deceive. It is equality, and nothing short of equality, we demand, whether it is offered or not.