I was just reading an article from a writer that I like in the San Francisco Chronicle and I had to reread it because I could barely believe my eyes:
It’s the same old spectacle, isn’t it? There they go, tossing around the health care reform issue like it didn’t affect millions of humans every single day, throwing in massive compromises and snags just so the GOP can fellate its pals in the insurance industry and a gaggle of aggrieved Democrats can get their egos fluffed and you still won’t be able to get a decent dental plan for your family.
But now, just for fun, let’s take it a step further. Or rather, darker. Let’s go ahead and step right onto one of those large, rusty nails sticking up from the senate floor, so painful as to make your stomach turn, a bit of your lunch jump back into your throat.
It’s a story from the dark political underbelly that makes you question the entire setup, rethink humanity, and lean out your window and scream: what the hell is wrong with these people? Who are they, really? Why do we give them power?
Here is freshman Minnesota senator Al Franken’s first-ever legislative action, a relatively simple, almost laughably surefire bill requiring the Pentagon no longer do business with any contractor — hi, Halliburton! — that requires its employees to agree that she cannot sue said contractor if she is, oh let’s just say, gang raped by its employees.
You read that right. It’s a can’t-sue-us-if-you’re-raped clause. In a U.S. government contract. Aimed squarely at Halliburton. Thanks, Dick Cheney!
First, you are required to get over your initial disgust that such legislation is even necessary, that such clauses even exist and that the Pentagon is already doing business with such contractors (hi, Halliburton/KBR!), and that there has already been a truly horrible case validating it, wherein a 20-year-old female employee was allegedly gang-raped by contractors, locked in a shipping container, abused every way from Sunday, and found out later she was unable to sue.
Let us pause to imagine if, say, Wal-Mart had such a clause. Or maybe Toys ‘R’ Us. Starbucks. Let us imagine the appalled outcry. But Halliburton? Dick Cheney’s vile little spitwad of shameless war profiteering? No problem. Hey, it’s Republican-endorsed military contracting. No one said it was ethical.
But that’s not most the repellant part. Ready?
The most repellant part is the 30 U.S. senators — Republicans each and every one — who just stepped forth to vote against the Franken amendment, essentially saying no, women should have no right to sue if they are sexually abused or gang raped, Halliburton and its ilk must be protected at all costs, and by the way we hereby welcome Satan into our rancid souls forevermore. God bless America.
Let us repeat, for clarity. Franken’s amendment passed with a vote of 68-30. Meaning 30 U.S. senators voted against the elimination of the rape/sue clause. Meghan McCain, call your dad. He’s one of them.
Here is where you try and do it. Here is where you bring in the filter mentioned above, try to figure out where to slot such wretched information, how to make even the slightest sense of it.
And then you discover a horrible truth: you can’t. Turns out, when faced with such vileness, all filters fail. All balance is thrown off. You thought you had some sort of way to process and attain perspective? You are proven wrong.
So perhaps all we can do is ponder how pathetic and sad these various senator’s lives must be, how these bitter old men will now go home at night and announce around the dinner table that, yes, today they worked very hard to help improve the welfare of the nation by essentially enabling rape and sexual abuse, tried their darndest to prevent women who’ve been viciously attacked from having much legal recourse. And lo, Satan will chuckle happily.
Then maybe these senators will try and hug their wives, or their daughters. And maybe, if there’s any justice in the universe, their wives and daughters will slap them as hard as humanly possible, lock them in a shipping container, and never let them touch them again.
P.S.; Would you like a complete list of these 30 senators’ names? Right here.
Geez… I can’t help but think what could have been if McCain and Palin had actually made it into the White House.