If you ever doubted that Republicans all too often manufacture or exaggerate threats while ignoring — or enabling — real crises, just take a look at what’s being reported in this year’s GOP Convention platform draft. You’ll find a call to overturn the Supreme Court’s historic Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that enshrined same-sex marriage equality as a constitutional right, part of an agenda to “actively promote married family life” that, if successful, would destroy countless families. You’ll also find support for so-called “gay cure” or “conversion therapy,” based on the dangerous and debunked notion that you can “pray away the gay,” and a “salute” to red states suing to stop transgender people from using the restrooms matching their gender identity. There’s also an allusion to the non-existent “War on Cops” allegedly being waged by the Obama administration… and a declaration of pornography as a “public health crisis.”
Yes, you read that right. The party that worships the First Amendment when it comes to matters of “religious liberty” is seeking to repress free speech and expression and quash an industry whose products are enjoyed by countless millions of American men and women.
“Pornography, with his harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions,” an amendment to the platform draft reads. “We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well being.”
“We know how big of a problem [porn] is,” Mary Frances Forrester, the GOP delegate who introduced the amendment, told The Guardian. It is an insidious epidemic, and everyone knows that and that is not a controversy.”
While there have been exactly zero porn-related deaths reported in the United States this year, there have been more than 28,000 shootings, including 7,239 gun murders, so far in 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Those staggering figures include 181 mass shootings and nearly a thousand people shot by police. And what does the GOP platform committee blame for the epidemic of mass shootings?
“All the mass killings that are taking place, they are young boys from divorced families and they are smoking marijuana,” delegate Noel Irwin Henschel asserted in rejecting a proposed amendment to encourage states to legalize life-saving cannabis oil for medical use.
Yes, according to the Republican worldview, guns don’t kill people, pot and divorce do.
Like gun violence, climate change is also killing hundreds of thousands of people. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also announced that this past June was the warmest ever recorded. But there’s not a word about the existential threat of climate change in the GOP platform draft. You would think an issue flagged by the Pentagon as “an urgent and growing threat” to US national security would command greater — or any — attention by the party claiming to champion national defense. Alas, crickets.
Maybe Republicans are trying to save themselves by identifying pornography as a national public health crisis. After all, people who live in the most conservative and religious states are the nation’s highest per capita porn consumers, and the Bible Belters most likely to favor banning gay marriage and oppose transgender civil rights also watch the most gay and transgender porn per capita.
From a worldview in which pornography is more dangerous than guns, climate change is a fraud (perpetrated by 97 percent of climate scientists and just about every reputable scientific organization on Earth) but Muslim terrorists (who are less likely to kill you than gun-wielding toddlers) and transgender restroom predators (reported cases, ever = 0) are lurking around every corner, bizarre agendas are born. Although the planks of the GOP convention platform aren’t binding, they are an indicator of just how out of touch with reality Republicans have become.