HOUSTON—The Republican Party of Texas has just released its 2010 Party Platform, and if anyone still hasn't figured out why that state—which gave us W., John Cornyn, Joe Barton, Jeb Hensarling, Ron Paul and Rick Perry—is so fucked up, the platform's a good primer.
Of course, one doesn't have to look further than page 1 to see how quickly the Party violates its own principles—notably, #9, "We believe in... [a] free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference or subsidies." We can probably skip over recommended First Amendment violations like, "Any form of desecration of the American Flag is an act of disregard for our nation and its people and penalties should be established for such," as well as "We call upon governmental entities to protect all symbols of our American heritage from being altered in any way," but we couldn't help but notice in the GOP's document a complete disregard for the "unenumerated... rights" established in the Ninth Amendment.
It's that disregard, as well as disregard for the "privileges and immunities" of the Fourteenth Amendment, that allows for the wholesale hostility towards gay and transgender rights, as found in the section "Strengthening Families, Protecting Life And Promoting Health."
"We support the definition of marriage as a God–ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society," the platform reads, "and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call on the President and Congress to take immediate action to defend the sanctity of marriage. We are resolute that Congress exercise authority under the United States Constitution, and pass legislation withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage."
The section further calls for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the religio-conservatives perceive it, and even opposes "civil union" type laws that would grant non-married partners—even hetero ones—the same legal rights as a spouse.
But of course, the platform goes even further: It would deny all rights to gays and transgendereds: "We affirm that this section is a response to the attacks on traditional family values," it reads. "These include well-funded, vigorous political and judicial attempts by powerful organizations and branches of the government to force acceptance, affirmation and normalization of homosexual behavior upon school children, parents, educational institutions, businesses, employees, government bodies and religious institutions and charities. These aggressive, intolerant efforts marginalize as bigots anyone who dissents." (Only because they are!)
"We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases," the section on "Homosexuality" reads. "Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should 'family' be redefined to include homosexual 'couples.' We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values." (Bye-bye, "Hate Crimes" legislation!)
However, "We deplore all discrimination." Ri-i-i-ght!
But gays aren't the only ones targeted under the misnomer of "strengthening families." The platform also opposes no-fault divorce laws, and if the Texans had their way, all marriages would be "covenant marriages," meaning that couples seeking divorce would have to undergo marriage counseling, and even if that failed, would have to stay married unless a highly restrictive set of circumstances were met. And of course, even within marriage, ass-fucking, blowjobs and pussy-licking would be (in the words of John Cleese) RIGHT OUT!, with the Party, which "oppose[s] the legalization of sodomy," seeking a federal law that would prevent the courts from adjudicating anything that has to do with the private sexual behavior rights affirmed in Lawrence v. Texas.
And of course, what hurts "families" more than porn?
"We urge our governmental bodies to enforce laws regarding all forms of pornography," another "plank" says. "We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses. We oppose the sale of 'Not Rated' (NR) movies and video games to minors. ... We encourage state and federal governments to severely prosecute illegal dealers and manufacturers of addictive substances and pornography. We urge Congress to discourage export of such substances into our country. Faith based rehabilitation programs should be emphasized."
So... bye-bye adult book and video stores, strip clubs and possibly even home party novelty sales—and they also want to revoke the broadcast licenses of any radio or TV station that airs "programs and advertisements in violation of existing laws and FCC guidelines." But of course, they also oppose any version of the Fairness Doctrine.
As one might expect, for Texas Repugnicans, women are second-class citizens ... but fertilized eggs (aka zygotes), each less than one-millionth of an inch in diameter, are "unborn children" and "ha[ve] a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed"—and certainly not by those women who carry them! (And by the way, if Texas ’Pugs had their way, Terri Schiavo would still be "alive" and vegetating.)
So, say goodbye to abortion at any stage of an embryo's development, whether for "gender selection," "the results of a genetic diagnosis" or, really, any reason whatsoever—and forget about RU-486 or the “morning after pill”; they're ag’in ’em: "We affirm our support for a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protection applies to unborn children," the platform says. "We support the Life at Conception Act. We oppose the use of public revenues and/or facilities for abortion or abortion–related services. We support the elimination of public funding for organizations that advocate or support abortion. [Defunding Planned Parenthood is specified later.] We are resolute regarding the reversal of Roe v. Wade. We affirm our support for the appointment and election of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We insist that the U.S. Department of Justice needs to prosecute hospitals or abortion clinics for committing induced labor (live birth) abortion. We are opposed to genocide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide."
As a stopgap measure, the Party also supports forcing women to have sonograms done of their fetuses before an abortion is performed, and forcing minors to get parental consent for any medical care (including, of course, abortion). It also opposes forcing (as the city of Baltimore did) "crisis pregnancy centers" to make potential "clients" aware, through signage, that they can't get an abortion there, and that in fact the agency will do its best to dissuade the woman from having an abortion altogether.
But that's not all!
"Because of the personal and social pain caused by abortions, we call for the protection of both women and their unborn children from pressure for unwanted abortions," another "plank" says. "We commend the Texas Legislature for the passage of the Woman’s Right to Know Act, a law requiring abortion providers, prior to an abortion, to provide women full knowledge of the physical and psychological risks of abortion, the characteristics of the unborn child, and abortion alternatives." (So what if those "physical and psychological risks" are fictional, like "depression, grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, regret, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of emotional attachment, flashbacks, and substance abuse," not to mention, "The risk [of developing breast cancer] may be higher if your first pregnancy is aborted"?)
And speaking of "a free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference," the Republicans want laws enacted that would deem a fetus to be an "equal victim in any crime"; would require doctors to medicate the fetus for "pain relief" before it's aborted; would require clinics where abortions are performed to follow the same health regulations as a hospital, and all of the practitioners to have medical malpractice insurance; and would allow everyone from doctors to nurses to med students to pharmacists to hospital janitors and bookkeepers to insurance companies to refuse to have anything to do with performing an abortion (or working with stem cells or assisting a patient to commit suicide) if they objected on the basis of "moral or religious beliefs."
The Grand Old (BP) Party also wants laws that would prohibit experimentation with fetal tissue; creating embryos for stem cell research; cloning anybody or any animal; altering human DNA for any reason; plus it wants to severely limit patients' ability to give "do not resuscitate" orders.
And of course, children also must be "protected," which means 1) raising the age for consensual sex to 18, thus guaranteeing a lot more statutory rape cases; 2) no distribution of condoms or other contraceptives to them by any state agency or public school (despite the fact that Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies in the nation); 3) no advice on how to get an abortion; 4) no gay adoption; 5) no contracts for surrogate child-bearing; 6) no sex education beyond telling them not to fuck until they're married, and no asking them (in surveys) about anything remotely sexual (or religious or political or drug-related or "moral") without their parents' permission; 7) no state regulations at all for private and parochial schools; and of course, 8) "Local, state, or federal laws, regulations, or policies shall not be enacted that limit parental rights in the rearing of both biological and adopted children... We urge the Legislature, Governor, Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education to remind administrators and school boards that corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas. ... We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline and home schooling in foster homes to help alleviate the shortage of foster parents." (Translation: "Go ahead and beat the hell out of ’em; it's God's way.")
And to make sure things keep going Right, er, right, the Party has a few ideas about church/state relations.
"We urge change of the Internal Revenue Code to allow a religious organization to address issues without fear of losing its tax-exempt status," the platform reads, apparently oblivious of the fact that clergy can already discuss issues; they just can't support particular candidates. "We call for repeal of requirements that religious organizations send government any personal information about their contributors"—which should be pretty easy, since the government doesn't currently require any such disclosure.
"We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue [Ten Commandments] or other religious symbols," another "plank" says. "We support adoption of the Pledge Protection Act. We also demand that the National Motto 'In God We Trust' and National Anthem be protected from legislative and judicial attack."
Even better, in line with Principle #7—"Having an educated population, with parents having the freedom of choice for the education of their children"—Texas Repugs are going out of their way to keep "America's future" (the kids) as ignorant as possible.
"We support school subjects with emphasis on Judeo-Christian principles (including the Ten Commandments) upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems," the platform says, adding in another section, "Realizing that conflict and debate is a proven learning tool in classrooms, we support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories, including evolution, Intelligent Design, global warming, political philosophies, and others. We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as challengeable scientific theory subject to change as new data is produced, not scientific law. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind." [Emphasis in original]
In other words, despite the fact that there is no scientific basis for intelligent design—as those who followed the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case in Pennsylvania know, it's just another crappy reworking of creationism—and that just about all reputable climate scientists affirm human-caused global climate change, the Party has once again put politics ahead of education, aided and abetted by the State Board of Education (SBOE), which the Pugnacious Ones have decreed "must have sole authority over all curricula content and state adoption of educational materials." [Emphasis in original]
Of course, those who've been following the activities of the Texas Freedom Network know how diligent the SBOE has been about excellence in education. New textbook standards adopted by the Board last month include downplaying slavery as a cause of the Civil War; a requirement to contrast Confederate President Jefferson Davis' inaugural address with Abraham Lincoln's; downplaying the significance of the secular 18th century "Age of Enlightenment" in helping to create, among other things, the American Revolution and similar challenges to monarchy; a revisionist look at Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade and the House Un-American Activities Committee; denying Thomas Jefferson's call for separation of church and state and a dismissal of that concept's incorporation in the First Amendment; ditching study of American progressives like Susan B. Anthony, Upton Sinclair and W.E.B. DuBois because they "created a negative portrayal of America"; and adding discussion of the privatization/elimination of Social Security and Medicare to Social Studies courses, to name just a few.
And then, once again, there's religion: "We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We support and strongly urge Congress to pass a Religious Freedom Amendment, which provides: 'Neither the United States nor any State shall prohibit student–sponsored prayer in public schools, nor compose any official student prayer or compel joining therein.'"
The Party also supports vouchers so parents can send their kids to religious schools on the taxpayer's dime(s)—but subtly, of course: "We encourage the Governor and the Texas Legislature to enact child-centered school funding options—which fund the student, not schools or districts—to allow maximum freedom of choice in public, private or parochial education for all children."
As far as ’Pugs are concerned, you can't have too much religion, so contrary to the statement in the Treaty of Tripoli ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1797, that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion," Texas conservatives nonetheless affirm that "America is a nation under God founded on Judeo-Christian principles," and that "public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength."
On the other hand, the ’Pugs support concealed carrying of weapons so thoroughly that they "reject any monitoring of gun ownership" (bye-bye gun licenses!); support "stiff penalties" for anyone who files a "frivolous lawsuit" against gun manufacturers ("Guns don't kill people; people kill people"); and oppose "license revocations and denials" for firearms dealers who commit "largely inconsequential record-keeping errors" (like selling them to any warm body at gun shows without background checks).
Also part of the "grand plan" are: Abolition of the 16th Amendment and the IRS (to be replaced by a national sales tax); rejection of collective bargaining by unions; resignation from the United Nations; opposition to making workers' comp mandatory for all businesses; opposition to attorney fees when people (or those "abusive" class actions) sue the government, especially when such suits "suppress freedom of religion"; and opposition to RFID chipping of anybody.
See? They're not all bad!
The full Texas GO(B)P Party Platform 2010 can be found here.