While I’m a bit slow on some things, I really do try to keep up. But this one really got by me. Until today when it suddenly dawned on me I’ve been sleeping next to one of the Republican party’s major presidential and legislative issues: my wife. Or rather, her uterus. Right there. Next to me. In our bed.

For too long, I’ve been concentrating on unemployment, what it would take to create new jobs, how to get companies to bring overseas jobs home, an undeclared war in Afghanistan killing our young people for no discernable military victory, a completely ineffective and unresponsive Congress, our reduced national credit standing, necessary publically-funded medical research to end cancer and other diseases, declines in our public education – both in quality and funding – how to resolve the massive political divides in our nation. Boy, have I been missing the real issues!

I’ve really been “out to lunch” on what’s important. Here we have four states passing laws this year demonizing teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees – 12 other states have such bills in progress. We have half a dozen or more state legislatures working to make a fertilized egg a person- with all the legal rights of unemployment and social security, I guess. Several want to drug test not just welfare recipients but all unemployed as well. And Virginia’s governor is signing a bill this week forcing a woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy to have a rod inserted in her uterus regardless of whether she – or her doctor – wants it.

Then there’s Rick Santorum’s multi-millionaire groupie who believes if women would put an aspirin between their knees they could immediately solve the whole issue of unwanted pregnancies. This simple concept has been right there in front of us all this time and it took only one old rich guy to end this national disgrace confounding all other Republicans. Boy, have I been out of touch!

To readers who’ve reached this paragraph thinking all of the above is satire and just some old curmudgeon ‘s attempt at political humor, the sad fact – the totally irresponsible and tragic fact is – all of the above is true. And, because of space limitations, there’s a lot more I left out. Such is today’s sorry politics at our national level and in many of our states.

For those wondering why I’ve not used the word “Democrat” to this point, it’s because Democrats have not been really involved in any of this. It’s coming entirely out of the Republican Party. Not all Republicans, certainly. But the common link between the presidential candidates mouthing this crap – and the legislatures who’ve enacted it – is a membership card in the GOP. It’s flatly undeniable.

The Republican presidential primary has devolved into a complete mess of pandering, lies and damned lies. Rather than promising to carry out the GOP conservative mantra of smaller, less intrusive government which works for me, all four of the candidates – all of them – have proposed more intrusion and, thus, larger government to see to it that their phony morality is being carried out.

Many Republican-controlled legislatures – and the U.S. House – have created their own swamps by entirely avoiding sworn responsibilities to safeguard and improve our fiscal, educational and public safety needs. Instead, they’re chasing after make-believe voter fraud, outlawing collective bargaining, making life tougher for the unemployed by requiring unnecessary drug testing and have done nothing for thousands of families losing their homes because of the fraud of bankers and other strangers.

What we’re seeing began 48 years ago when Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential candidacy took Republicans out of national and much local power for many years. But at the community level, the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby and other GOP fringe groups, began taking over the party. They doggedly kept at it until they controlled many county, state and, eventually, most of the national offices.

Now we’re living with the fruits of their nearly five decades of labor. Ignored by party moderates for years – many who dropped out after 1964 – they’re now in charge of the institution. They’re a narrowly-focused bunch, dedicated more to political purity and implementing their own brand of morality on the nation than in governing. Or even learning how to govern through compromise and cooperation. Anyone who doubts this need only sit by the TV set this summer when the GOP national convention in Florida becomes a bloody mess and the few remaining moderates – if any – are excommunicated.

I have some moderate Republican friends. I feel sorry for them because they’re not the ones creating this national havoc. They’re being tarred with the same brush but have no role in their party governance. They may still carry a membership card but not with the sense of pride they once did.

If we are to eradicate the right wing excesses in our national government – and in more than a few states – it is these GOP moderates who must work from inside their own party to exorcize the sickness. Some have said to me they’re about ready to form a new party. But, the way our political system is designed, that would be a very difficult thing to do effectively and, if it did work, would take many years and many elections.

Our nation’s governance works best when there is healthy debate and compromise between the established parties. We need Democrats and Republicans who understand government, who come to their elected experiences with intelligence and reasoned thought and who respect the fact that all who serve serve all.

And stay the Hell away from my wife. And all her privates.

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