Haven’t we learned that capitulating to the right wing extremists of this country doesn’t get us anywhere?
For those who haven’t read about it, President Obama already gave into the extreme-right-wing bishops of the Catholic Church, exempting religiously-affiliated institutions from having to cover contraceptives in their health care plans.
He did this even though it’s a completely made-up issue, given the fact that most of these institutions already cover contraceptives today. He did this even for those institutions which receive federal money to operate on a daily basis, funds these organizations couldn’t exist without.
He gave into the bishops driving the fight, bishops who are acting the part of spokesman for the GOP, when those bishops are completely divorced from reality when it comes to the opinions and beliefs of catholics, the large majority of whom supported Obama’s original policy and when 98% of sexually active Catholic women use contraceptives.
And what does it get him?
Catholic Bishops have sharply criticized a compromise President Obama offered on Friday over a health care regulation… declaring that the new plan remains “unacceptable and must be corrected.”
Exactly where we could have predicted it get him. No where.
Catholic bishops have been using their institutions as hostages against policies they don’t like for years now, mostly centered around same-sex marriage.
Every time a state planned to legalize marriage equality, the church would threaten to shut down its adoption services, which collectively received hundreds of millions in government money and in almost all cases were adopting to gay parents for decades.
It only ever became an issue when marriage equality became an issue, as the bishops saw an opportunity to manipulate the political process, using and exploiting these institutions in an arena they were never prepared to be engaged in, political sport.
To at least some extent, bishops have used these wedges successfully, carving out extra exemptions as often as they fail at it, and using it as part of a public campaign to delay and deny legislative votes.
Usually, though, the end result wasn’t that same-sex marriage was denied. Rather, it was the nonprofits who paid the price, ran over by the back of the bus from bishops and cardinals who never had anything to do with running or funding those institutions on a daily basis in the first place.
These bishops, who shuttled deviant priests from parish to parish to rape and molest ever more children, now try to lecture the President on morality.
They are expanding their hostage taking into new arenas, showing how little they care for these institutions that have grown over the course of a century or more.
Their actions are supremely selfish, yet continue to this day because they’re rarely called out on it and, even if they were, are completely unaccountable to both the public and the rank and file members of the church.
The bishops saw an opportunity fall into their hands, yet again, to help out their social conservative friends in the GOP in the midst of an election season, when those GOP friends would much rather run on social issues than Obama’s improving economy.
Even more important, though, was that in doing so, they’d receive a real gift — and what’s become their real motivation in all of this: getting rid of all requirements for employers to cover contraceptive services. They’ve already made it clear: nothing less than total victory will appease them.
And like when it came to marriage equality and adoption agencies, the only losers in these fights can be the institutions who are being used as the hostages.
Almost all of these affiliated institutions that are being talked about today already cover contraceptive services, but that doesn’t matter. The facts never matter in a manufactured crisis.
What will matter is if the bishops lose and they act on their threat to close the hospitals, patients and employees will suffer. If the bishops win and Obama caves in, giving a complete exemption to these institutions (or worse, every employer), patients and employees and people will suffer.
In fact, these hospitals, which would then likely be required by their bishops to get rid of the contraception coverage they’ve already had for decades, would have a very difficult time attracting the staff necessary to ensure quality care at the hospital, as the right wing plunges our country ever deeper into the American Taliban.
The question is, are we going to let them? Will we give them the Teajadist dream that the social conservatives in this country have been thirsting for, or will we recognize their attempts to throw women’s rights back into the stone age and fight them tooth and nail, every step of the way?
They will demand the President go back to the drawing board over and over again until they get what they want, all the while the President only serves to continue to stir up a GOP, driving up their enthusiasm, and shove a dagger into the back’s of the largest and most important constituency within the Democratic Party: women.
What we need to realize now is that this kind of a wedge issue is an issue that we’ll win, as long as we keep fighting and don’t capitulate. The President must be made to realize that his eminently reasonable compromise being rejected is a sign that there can be no compromise with the rightwing forces in this country. To compromise, to them, is to capitulate — and they don’t deal with capitulators, they conquer them.
The President’s had years in office to prove to us that he has a spine — and he’s been found lacking. We can’t trust that he won’t give in any further, so we have to be the spine for him. The only way we can ensure women are insured for the most basic of things, contraceptive services, is to be louder than the over-privileged, unaccountable and unrepresentative bishops.
They have PR reps, media contacts and money on their side… we need to be millions of people calling our President and telling him to protect the health and rights of all women.