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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 10/16/13

Tea Party Rage and the Shutdown as Projected Dependency

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   8 comments, In Series: Women's Unpaid Work
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Apparently, the Tea Party is convinced that the end of the world is near . After all, a black man is in the White House, a woman is expected to run for president, and getting health care insurance is about to get a little bit easier. The fact that the hijacking of a veterans' event by the likes of Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Larry Klayman (who predictably claimed that Obama is a Muslim) ended in the display of a Confederate flag at the White House, speaks for itself. So does the GOP demanding that a "conscience clause" allowing employers to exercise veto power over a woman's most private health care decisions, as part of the ransom for Congress doing its job.

Masculinity researcher Michael Kimmel has written of "aggrieved entitlement" as part of the unhealthy cult of masculinity that Chris Hedges has also written about here on opednews. This time, of course, rather than actual murder and suicide, the Tea Party caucus is merely threatening to murder the American (and consequently, global) economy, while also committing their own political suicides.

The looming threat of a Hillary Clinton presidential run was recently expressed at a conference featuring buttons that compared Hillary Clinton to a chicken. The folks at Sociological Images noticed that those buttons provide eerie confirmation of the theories of Carol J. Adams , who in The Sexual Politics of Meat compares the oppression of women and that of animals in a misogynistic, speciesist society. Like Congress, meat eaters insert themselves into the female reproductive system.

Adams likens the misnomer "forcible rape" to the equally contradictory "humane slaughter" in her vegan/feminist critique. Over twenty years after her first edition. lawmakers tried to insert the term "forcible rape" into law, in order to confuse and minimize the violence of rape, and force women to give birth to their rapists' babies.

Meanwhile, Congressman Randy Neugebauer who actually blamed a federal employee for carrying out his own shutdown at the WWII Memorial, managed to find a woman park ranger to yell at,  In the video, you can seen him looking her up and down in disgust. The pile on against government workers continued , as Fox's Stuart Varney vented:

" I'm sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I'm not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that's what I want to do."

All in all, the assault on our government that the shutdown saga represents, is shaping up as a war against women and government workers, added to rage against our first black president. Whatever you think of Carol J. Adams' call to veganism, there is something that women, government workers, and animals bred for food have in common: they are a valuable resource that our society depends on. Once upon a time, black slaves were also a valuable exploited resource. While economics teaches that those who have a valuable resource to contribute have greater bargaining power, these dependency relationships are turned on their heads, when a person becomes an exploitable resource.

This would explain how conservatives can say - with a straight face - that they are about keeping government out of "people's" lives, while controlling women's reproductive choices. It only makes sense if you don't think women are people. It is also why Stuart Varney can say that government workers are dependent and lazy, as we see that pulling the plug on their services creates chaos. Their labor cannot be appreciated, if it is simply owed, and owned. It is why, in one of his last appearances on The Rachel  Maddow Show, Pat Buchanan could say with a straight face that this country was "built basically by white folks," for which Rachel had to issue a bitter correction . It only makes sense if black folks aren't actually folks.

One of Adams' most stunning pieces of evidence is the finding that often, the catalyzing event for domestic violence against women was their "failure" to serve their partners meat. One owned resource is expected to serve up another. The sleight of hand used in the selective call of "dependency!" is also illustrated by Chris Hayes' recent feature , about hypocritical lawmakers who cut food stamps while collecting farm subsidies. Adams also wrote about "sexist attacks on 'welfare queens'" while "cattle raising is subsidized by the federal government."

We may be finding our way out of the latest hostage taking stunt. There are many legislative changes we need to make to avoid more. But on a deeper level, we need to challenge the prevailing notions of dependency that keep disenfranchised groups resenting one another, rather than fighting together.

Marilyn Waring has written about the economic value of women's unpaid labor , while Martha Fineman makes us aware of our arbitrary notions of dependency , saying that "we all lived subsidized lives." I like to think of this latest right wing debacle as a case of projected dependency, in which dominance is used to counter the insecurity that dependency creates.

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Amy Fried, Ph.D. Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Amy Fried applies her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior to writing and activism on church-state separation, feminism, reproductive rights, corruption, media and veganism.

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