If you have not seen misogynist Senator Tom Cotton’s interview on Fox News Sunday last week, be prepared to seethe. Cotton had the audacity to say that women in the military who need an abortion and can’t legally get one in the state they are in, should pay out of their own pocket to travel to another state. He said having federal tax dollars pay for these trips is “abortion tourism.”
Cotton is nothing like his name, coming off more as abrasive burlap, just like his Republican colleagues in the House. They recently rammed the annual Defensive Authorization Act through the House, inserting blatantly chauvinistic, racist, transphobic, and homophobic amendments.
Those additions would limit access to gender-affirming care, rescind the Defense Department’s program that reimbursed service members expenses related to travel for reproductive care, cruelly labeled by Cotton as abortion tourism. And stunningly, the act wipes out many of the DOD’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
During the debate, in a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird, Arizona Republican congressman Eli Crane referred to Black people as "colored people.” That tells you all you need to know about the Klansmen masquerading as House Republicans.
Rep. Crane refers to Black people as 'colored people' on House flooryoutu.be
It got worse on Tuesday. As my colleague Christopher Wiggins reported, “The Republican-led House Committee on Appropriations took up and passed a last-minute amendment that sought to strike funding for three community centers that serve LGBTQ+ seniors in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. LGBTQ Senior Housing, Inc., William Way LGBT Center, and LGBT Center of Greater Reading were all stripped of funds.”
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that in 18 years she has never witnessed members strip funds from another member’s project in this way on the Appropriations Committee, and she warned that the only explanation she has is Republican bigotry.
“They want to strip funding for LGBTQ+ senior housing and community centers, which offer critical resources like HIV testing, career development, and mental health services,” she said, addressing the committee.
Wiggins spoke with Rep. Brendan Boyle, whose Philadelphia-area project was defunded. Boyle told him that many of his colleagues suspect that Republicans just searched for the keyword “LGBTQ” to see which projects to target. “Is this going to be part of the process as we go on?” Quigley asked. “Are we reconstructing the closet here?”
All told, the Republicans in Congress want to take us back to the 1940s, before President Harry Truman signed an executive order banning segregation in the military. And Boyle is right. They are targeting our community to send us back in the closet, banned from public view and forced to live in fear that is so hauntingly depicted in HBO’s new documentary series, Last Call.
They also want military women to resort to life-threatening back alleys — or in this case, back barracks abortions. These bigoted extremists are doing everything they can to make life difficult for transgender service members, nibbling around the edges of the DOD’s policy of allowing openly trans service members to serve.
Along with the Supreme Court, the Republican-controlled House is shoving its extremists and conservative Christian views down the throats of an American public that overwhelmingly supports diversity, inclusion, and moving the country forward not back. These mostly white, middle-aged, older, straight men are giving the middle-finger to the future — and to public sentiment. They are also clawing their way into our bedroom doors.
The Progressive Action Fund illustrates this with a new ad meant to fend off a ballot measure in Ohio that could limit abortion services even further. The commercial is creepy, and it’s supposed to be. As a couple reaches for a condom in a drawer, the hand of an old man suddenly swoops in to snatch it. “Sorry, you can’t use those,” he says. He then tells them that he is a Republican congressman, and warns, “I won the last election, I’m not going anywhere. I’m just gonna watch and make sure you don’t do anything illegal.”
Progress Action Fund launches birth control ad in Ohio | On Balancewww.youtube.com
The ad has been called “horrifying,” and it is, but it’s not as horrifying as what SCOTUS and the House Republicans are doing in real time, and that is metaphorically going into our communities, our homes, our bedrooms, and our bodies, telling us that they’re going to stay there to make sure we don’t do anything illegal.
This is not hyperbole. And truth be told, as the election in 2024 draws closer, these so-called exclusionary and exterminating amendments are going to ramp-up. Think it’s bad now? Just wait. The Republicans have absolutely nothing to run on.
They will fire up anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Black, anti-women amendments and bills, not just in the U.S. Congress but in legislatures across the country. There are the only issues Republicans have to run on — culturally divisive ones. They’ll pair them up with Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s Justice Department "going after" twice-indicted Donald Trump.
That’s their campaign playbook for 2024, that and turning our country into an autonomy. Trump wants do dismantle “the deep state.” If we’re not careful, if we’re not paying attention, all our worst nightmares will come to fruition — 2025 will be reminiscent of 1925.
John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate.
Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.