Sexism on display with the support of silence

It seems a prominent Rick Santorum supporter and members of the Republican leadership have taken a pledge to do their best to alienate all American women in part by treating them as if they are nothing more than chattel. Many members of both sides of the aisle are supporting this effort by their silence.

In a television interview today with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Foster Friess, the last living Cro-Magnon man and Santorum backer, addressed the issue of contraception by saying, “"This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so… inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly." Mitchell was visibly stunned: “Excuse me, I’m just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly.”

As if this view of women was not despicable enough, three Democrats walked out of a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on religious liberty and the birth control rule when only men from conservative religious organizations were allowed to testify. 

I must apologize for calling Friess the last living Cro-Magnon man, he has a sibling, fellow Cro-Magnon man, Republican Virginia state delegate Bob Marshall, who said, "The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”

It seems clear to me that the forces or racism, sexism, and bigotry towards the disabled are surging to the surface, and, I suspect, historians and sociologists will eventually conclude that the antecedent to these un-American trends was and is the election of the country’s first black president.

While all this disturbs and sickens me, what disturbs and sickens me even more is the silence of so many elected officials on both sides of the aisle. They would be wise to remember Dante Alighieri’s accurate warning: ““The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”