Category Archives: Tea Party

Death Penalty for Having an Abortion?

Republican Legislators Advocate Extreme and Dangerous Measures While Pushing Pro-Life Agenda

Man carries cross while demonstrating against Planned Parenthood

Courtesy of Mother Jones

Hypothetical. You just stepped on a landmine and the explosion blew off your leg.  As you lay in a hospital bed, you struggle to grasp the long-term impact that this trauma will have on the rest of your life.  Physically, you’re ailing.  You can’t imagine what it will be like without the leg that you’d never anticipated living without.  Emotionally, you’re distressed.  How will the world judge you?  Will your condition elicit stares of revulsion from strangers?  Are you psychologically prepared to tackle the challenges you now face as a one-legged person?

As you’re processing all of these questions, a person knocks on the door to your hospital room and introduces himself as an agent of the government tasked with investigating your case.  You ask him the purpose of his visit.  He says that the law requires that within 72 hours of your injury, he must be dispatched to determine whether or not you planted the landmine that blew up your leg, and if he concludes that you knowingly played role in your injury, you could be subject to life in prison or execution.  Tell me, are you pissed off right now?

Nebraska man holding sign that reads "A Person's a Person No Matter How Small"

Courtesy of Huffington Post

A similar scenario, with much higher stakes and ramifications, could actually play out thousands of times every year in Georgia if House Bill 1 is passed.  Introduced by Rep. Bobby Franklin, the bill would require that any woman who has had a miscarriage report the incident to authorities within 72 hours of its occurrence.  At that point, an investigator will be dispatched to determine the cause of death, and if the mother cannot prove that there was no “human involvement,” then she can be charged with “prenatal murder,” which carries the penalty of death or life behind bars.

As a man, I will never have to experience the gut wrenching emotional toll that a miscarriage takes on a woman.  I will never know what it’s like to have to grasp the reality that a life I was creating has been lost due to chance or trauma. Despite never being able to fully understand the pain of this moment, I can sure as hell tell you that the last thing I’d want in that situation is someone forcing me to prove my innocence within three days of losing my child.

Rep. Franklin’s proposed legislation, which thankfully, will likely be rejected, is one of the more detestable examples of a growing anti-abortion movement that’s picked up steam since the midterm elections.  Representatives sent to Washington with the explicit directive of overseeing fiscal reform are taking advantage of their newfound majority by implementing radical, socially conservative initiatives into the national and state agendas.


Bills were proposed in Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa that would make killing someone doing harm to a fetus a “justifiable homicide.”  In layman’s terms, this would mean that someone would be protected by law if they murdered a doctor to prevent him from performing an abortion.  The bill in South Dakota, introduced by Rep. Phil Jensen, was shelved last week after Jensen said it needed revisions and was being taken out of context.  He contended that the bill was purposed to protect pregnant women against third party threats, allowing only the pregnant women, their husbands, their parents and their children to commit “justifiable homicide” in their defense.


Americans United for Life Logo

Courtesy of

The Nebraska bill, however, which has not been tabled, goes much farther, allowing third parties to commit “justifiable homicide” to protect unborn fetuses.  All of these legislators were approached by Americans United for Life (AUL), which has delivered its version of the “justified homicide” legislation to each of them as part of its anti-abortion campaign. Experts warn that this type of legislation carries a very real potential to incite violence.

“‘In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that’s something that’s unprecedented in our society,’ Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood’s patients and personnel. Also testifying in opposition to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, ‘We share the same fears…that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers.’” – Mother Jones, February 24, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  My home state of Virginia passed legislation that requires all offices, clinics and centers that perform first-trimester abortions to be regulated as hospitals.  Experts argue that this is the strictest abortion regulation in the country, and it could lead to the shutdown of 17 of Virginia’s 21 abortion clinics.  Proponents of the legislation said that abortion clinics should be held to hospital standards to ensure safety standards.  This argument falls flat, however, when you consider the fact that plastic surgery centers are not required to meet these criteria.


Billboard reads "the most dangerous place for an African American child is in the womb"

Courtesy of BV Black Spin

Legislation isn’t the only war front on the anti-abortion battlefield.  Last week, a Texas-based anti-abortion group sponsored a billboard ad in New York City that read “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”  Aside from relying on some very debatable statistics and making overreaching assumptions, the billboard – erected during Black History Month – was distasteful and designed to be painful to black women who have had abortions.

These deplorable tactics being used by the conservative right to try to revive the abortion debate are at best extreme, and at worse, dangerous.  Considering the legalization of “justifiable homicide” as a way to deter women from exercising their rights to abortions constitutionally guaranteed to them by Roe v. Wade is unethical, reprehensible and un-American.



Filed under Abortion, National Politics, Tea Party

The Tea Party is Almost Dead

I urge members of the Tea Party to actually read this before posting angry responses

Is there anything quite as fickle as public opinion?  It’s an unwieldy monster that ebbs and flows with tenacity at the slightest provocation, dangerous not for its volatility, but rather for its ability to substantively change our national agenda. The founders knew this.  It’s why they purposefully designed our three branches of government to be almost intolerably deliberative, requiring that everything one branch produces be able to pass litmus tests conducted (very slowly) by the other two branches.

Tea Party Rally

Courtesy of Politico

This designed institutional inconvenience was one of the wiser concepts implemented by our Founding Fathers.  They knew the potential dangers in getting carried away by our collective emotions.  I’m in the business of public relations.  No one knows better than I how powerful a motivator public opinion can be.

You often hear people criticize President Obama for his mild manner.  Detractors either wish he’d be more assertive and confrontational or believe that his coolness is really just a manifestation of incompetence or indecisiveness.  I’m in neither of those camps.  On the contrary, I believe that Obama’s propensity to be contemplative and even keeled is actually a shrewd political tactic.  It’s a tactic designed to allow him to outlast a political movement that many predicted would see to his political demise.  Instead, it was the inability of this movement to remain composed and contemplative that will soon lead to its eventual death; the death of the Tea Party.

Tea was so last year. Time to start a coffee party

The TEA Party, which stands for the Taxed Enough Already Party, is the manifestation of people’s shared anger, confusion and the want for resolve.  It was a group founded in response to a single issue: The Great Recession.  It has since evolved into another entity entirely that no one can seem to define, including the group itself.  Quarrelsome factions exist within its upper ranks because the party was conceived in a rush to judgment, with all of its members wanting a solution to their shared problem,  but with nobody knowing exactly how to solve it.

Under the moniker of “Taxed Enough Already,” some within the group have attempted to incorporate divisive social agendas into the party’s platform.  This has alienated the previously Independent members by forcing them to align with issues that kept them out of the Republican Party in the first place.  There is still a strong contingent of people within the party who only care about reforming our national fiscal policies and balancing the budget.  The idea of championing sweeping social reforms that are premised on significant religious undertones does not resonate with these people.  As a result, this faction has gradually shied away from the Tea Party label, wishing they’d never renounced their independence from organized political parties.

We Are Tea'd

Courtesy of "Brian Dennert here"

Roughly one year ago, when things looked bleakest for the Democrats, I remember standing in the kitchen with my father discussing the impact this new Tea Party would have on our politics.  Its rise to prominence had turned our conventional understanding of the political spectrum completely on its axis, and no one knew what the end result would be.  One thing was for sure: Democrats were scared.

The times, they are a changin

Tea Partiers were calling for a political genocide, which admittedly, they accomplished by effectively voting out some of Washington’s most tenured congressmen.  They took the position that the institution of government had been perverted over time, leading a grassroots initiative that resolved to restore integrity to the system.

The differences in how we view the role of government aside, this was a noble, honest endeavor.  However, the Tea Party of a year ago is not the same Tea Party that we see today. It hit the same roadblock that every third party inevitably runs into in a system that can only support two legitimate parties, that roadblock being staying power.

The Tea Party gobbled up everyone who was willing to defect from their political loyalties early in its grass roots campaign.  The unfortunate thing about a grassroots movement is that it starts out as a movement, an interesting and exciting thing to join, but as time goes on, it becomes an institution.  Institutions are much less appealing.  So unappealing, in fact, that we’ve limited ourselves to only two of them: the Democratic institution and the Republican institution.

The Tea Party will soon realize that in order to have a lasting impact, it’s going to have to succumb to the same fate as every third party before it.  It will have to allow itself to be absorbed into the GOP, hoping that in the best of scenarios, it can move the needle that dictates the Republican Party’s agenda slightly towards the position it aligned itself with on the political spectrum.

Tea Party Protesters

Courtesy of The Washington Independent

Hint: The answer to the poll question is no

Third parties cannot succeed if they target our two biggest parties by contending that they should be considered of equal status. It’s like having a six year old who made his first bologna sandwich last week say to a world class chef  “your cooking ain’t so great. You could learn a thing or two from me.”

What role will the Tea Party play in our national history?  Honestly, not much of one.  It will move the GOP base further to the right once it’s been completely absorbed, the same way the Green Party moved the needle slightly left when it was consumed by the Democratic Party.  Sure, it’ll survive– in name, mostly.  But it will never again be a real player.  Three years from now, no one will be talking about the Tea Party.


Filed under National Politics, Public Relations, Tea Party