In his speech to America’s churches, delivered on November 6, 2016, Mike Pence, soon to be VPOTUS of these United States, placed the blame for America’s current and supposed lack of greatness on women who have had abortions.
Getting rid of abortions, said he, would bring back America’s greatness. To that end, he promised Mr. Trump would nominate to the Supreme Court pro-life judges who would, one presumes, overturn Roe V. Wade. This is a hollow promise—Roe V. Wade is settled law and no SCOTUS since 1973 has been willing to overturn it, no matter that many of the justices during those 44 years have been GOP appointees.
BLAMING THE GIRLS
Blaming young girls for America’s supposed loss of greatness is idiotic, let’s be clear. Such blame-shifting is, as I said recently, male supremacy writ large. It is the castigation of others for the Entitled White Man’s own dereliction of duty. Because, if there has been a loss of American greatness, it is the fault of those who are powerful, those who are entitled, those who were at the helm when the wave hit and unsteadied the ship of state. Let’s be even more clear: the people who are saying the ship of state is teetering on the edge of the wave are the very people who were manning the tiller. It is their fault, not the fault of 16-year-old young women in desperate straits if our country has lost greatness.
Young women in emotional distress and crippling anxiety—no matter what their behavior at that moment—do not cause the loss of national greatness. They do not and have not determined the greatness or non-greatness of the world’s sole surviving superpower. Restricting their access to abortions will do nothing to either lessen or grow our nation’s exceptionalism, if any.
Such blame-shifting is shamelessness of the most egregious nature: the powers-that-be don’t want to take responsibility for their failures (if failures there are) in national security, trade, environmental protection, education, violence in the cities, etc., so they lay it on the helpless, the weak, the vulnerable, the girls whose lives were so fraught with distress they chose to deny life to their own fetuses.
Grown men of power are blaming young women who have been, by and large, abandoned by the men they were counting on–their own fathers who fail to champion them in their time of need and the fathers of their unborn children who cut and ran when the moment came to stand and deliver.
But frightened young women aren’t the only people blamed for our national moral regression. There is also the LGBT community.
BLAMING THE GAYS
Remember when Pat Robertson blamed “the gays” for 9/11?
That’s an addle-brained big-mouth of the Patriarchal American Church deciding out of nowhere that homosexuals caused a full-frontal enemy attack on the homeland while those tasked with our security were asleep at the wheel, or at the very least, guarding their intelligence from each other.
Robertson wasn’t the only one. Sermon upon sermon appeared soon after the attacks to heap blame on the LGBT community. Jerry Falwell was in on that deal as well.
It feeds into our national Fundamentalist feel-good show-window American-exceptionalism narrative that never mind that President Bush had security briefings detailing a possible upcoming attack with airplanes—that is neither here nor there!—what matters is that gay men are having sex with one another, and God couldn’t take it anymore, so Alakazam and Allahu Akbar and Avada Kedavra and BOOM!
Don’t you see how this, like blaming young women for our national ungreatness, is simply more blame-shifting by the powerful? You don’t want it to attach to you (or those for whom you voted), so you quickly peel off the blame and throw it on someone who can’t fight back. You take the rightly-earned “Kick Me” sign off your own back and attach it to the back of the voiceless bullied kid who is least able to fight back. Then you skedaddle out of the hallway before anyone sees you, you coward.
When Christians like Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Falwell do this, they feed an entire generation of Fundagelicals who see America as God’s Special Place That Isn’t Israel But Almost And Hey We Do Christian Seders At Easter. These men, and men like them fling blame-shifting as described above to their congregations to absolve them from not giving to the poor, not feeding the hungry, not helping the homeless, because that is icky and Liberal. As long as they are pure in their pro-life and anti-LGBT rhetoric, their other sins will not be held against them. It is a holiness litmus test that ignores the Seven Deadly Sins entirely as well as the actual litmus test described by Jesus: “and thy neighbor as thyself.”
Going on, it is not just important to see who the Powers-that-be blame. It’s also important to see whom they avoid blaming. To wit: privileged white boys.
NOT BLAMING WHITE BOYS
Remember all those young men accused of date-raping and alley-raping unconscious female victims? No one is blaming them for America’s slouch into the moral dustbin of historical has-beens. No, that place is reserved for trashy immodest girls and the LGBT community. Don’t tell me this isn’t Patriarchy gone amok. This is full-fledged Frat Boy, and, “aww, those poor boys and their future and they didn’t mean it and she was asking for it” is 99.9994% pure Good Old Boy Gaslighting. These are the boys, dontchaknow, the white male graduates of prestigious universities who are going to sit in the Senate one day making SCOTUS appointments. Their futures must be protected at all costs. Yeah, I think we got it, but the enemies of progress and diversity should be aware that we are keyed in on this disparity. We understand this blame-shifting, this mansplaining that has metastasized throughout the body politic.
SO . . .
What Mr. Pence said in his November 6, 2016, speech to America’s churchgoers was a mess of sodden pottage to those congregants who were wringing their hands over Mr. Trump’s moral indefensibility but yearning for a reason to vote for the GOP ticket. He gave them a reason to vote Republican—“Donald and I are opposed to abortion.” To many of those Fundagelicals, this is all that matters. They are single-issue voters who would vote for Vladimir Putin over a liberal Democrat if he were against abortion.
Mike Pence says he is “a Christian first, then a conservative, then a Republican.” I’d posit that the church attenders he spoke to on November 6 are “anti-aborts first, last, and only.” The ones I know are proud of that, much good may it do them while the Administration they’ve put in office whiffle-waffles over every campaign promise and looks with flirtatious eyes at the Russian bear.