A little more than 30 miles west of our Lakeland home, the city of Tampa awaits the coming of the Republicans. The party’s convention will be held there next week and a lot of bigwigs have chipped in to spruce up the place in eager anticipation of the glorious event.
This is Republican country. I can sometimes hear Rush Limbaugh raving away on somebody’s truck radio or the radios that blare at the church next door when various lawbreakers come to work off their community service sentences. As I drive to the eye doctor’s, I pass a pickup truck with a Confederate flag blocking the rear window.
Sandra earned me a few snide comments at the golf course by pasting an Obama sticker on the back of the Escort she used to drive and which I have inherited. God’s rain mercifully washed the sticker away and (coward that I am) I have not replaced it. Sandra, however, says she is getting another Obama sticker to paste on her Mercury (and one for Planned Parenthood, too).
As you might expect, the convention is big news hereabouts. The newspapers are full of it ( in more ways than one, heh-heh). And the airwaves are abuzz over the great occasion.
But I haven’t heard much from the local media about the party platform.
I wonder whether the local enthusiasm for the Republicans would be dampened if folks were more aware of the platform’s contents. You think they would balk at forcing women to give birth to rapists’ children? The platform includes a total ban on abortion with no exception for rape or incest. Yes, I know, the good people of Polk County are “pro life” to a fault. They have seen the movies at their church, and they would fill you in on the horrors of abortion at the drop of a hat.
They’re probably OK with the GOP’s call for a constitutional ban on abortion, but do they go as far as the Republican platform? From what I hear, the GOP position is that a fertilized human egg is a person and if you end its life – by abortion or birth control – you are a murderer and should go to prison.
That’s just one of the extreme positions in the platform. It’s hard right on immigration, for example. If the Republicans get their way, where would the local strawberry growers and citrus barons get laborers to tend their fields and groves?
The platform is wide ranging, and I guess it’s just too much for the “mainstream media” to digest. But I’ve been able to scrounge scraps of it on the Internet. And from what I found, the platform includes a provision protecting us from Shariah law. Apparently, the Republican leaders seriously believe that Muslims are secretly plotting to take over the country and impose their laws on us. Really.
Then there’s the budget. Do local folks really want to abandon the poor, and lavish tax breaks on the rich, as the Ryan plan proposes? Surely my kindly seeming neighbors don’t really want to see children and old people starve?
And would they really like to replace Medicare with vouchers to help buy their own health insurance? Or raise the age at which you can collect Medicare?
What about “gay rights”? There must be some homosexuals around here? Do they accept the GOP’s classification of their lifestyle as abhorrent? The GOP platform doesn’t just reject same-sex marriage, it would even ban “civil unions.”
But perhaps all the gay people moved away from here. I know that in their place I would be tempted to head for San Francisco as soon as I discovered my sexual orientation. This is no place for alternative lifestyles. This is Southern Baptist country.
But, even so, I am convinced that most local folks would think twice before voting for that Republican platform if they knew its contents.The New York Times describes it as:
More aggressive in its opposition to women’s reproductive rights and to gay rights than any in memory.
If they thought about it, I know a lot of people around here could not support such a manifesto of bigotry and heartlessness. Not those nice people whom I chat with at the golf course and who politely make room for my shopping cart at Publix, not my kindly neighbors who wave at us as we pass them playing in their yards with their children and grandchildren, not even the sweating miscreants doing community service at the church…
I know they’re better than that.