I am hoping that the events of the past week or so have finally demonstrated exactly how unhinged elements of the conservative universe are. And one would hope beyond hope that Rush Limbaugh will finally, finally, finally be banished from polite society (and, one might also hope, impolite society as well). I’m not holding my breath, though; we’ve been down this road before, and I wouldn’t bet that in a month we’re not going to be referring to this as a new normal. If nothing else, I hope this episode helps to reinforce what people like Melissa McEwan have been saying for a long, long time — there’s a war on, the war is on women, and the wrong side is winning.

This matters to everybody. It’s not just about women’s health care, though that matters a great deal. It is, fundamentally, about the notion that we have no obligation towards each other, and that anyone who feels differently is a leach, a parasite, a drag on society, who must be denigrated at all costs and cast out as the evil degenerate she is. That this two-minutes-hate currently involves women is doubly offensive, but it does illustrate exactly how much misogyny is really out there, and how the functional control of women, and in particular the control of women’s reproductive health, is the real driving factor. Make no mistake, this isn’t about public health or insurance coverage requirements or anything of the sort: this is about ensuring the continuing subjugation of women. Consider, for the moment, that since this controversy is really about private insurance plans covering contraception, not tax dollars — it takes a willful disregard of the blatantly obvious facts (like, who is paying for this — to say nothing of the fucking biology involved here) to turn this into a public policy issue, but even if it was the willingness of the American right to casually refer to women who take hormonal contraceptives as sluts and whores is shocking. Do you not know any women at all? is what goes through my head; I’m guessing they do, but they don’t care, because they have no souls.

Jon Steward is typically excellent on this one (Canadian link, more practically useful American link) and you should watch the segment appropriately entitled “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Gross.” The nail, as it were, that Stewart hit:

I’m just saying to the people who are upset about their hard-earned tax money going to things they don’t like: welcome to the fucking club. Everyone pays for shit they don’t want to all the time. You know what? Reimburse me for the Iraq war and the oil subsidies, and guess what, then diaphragms are on me. No — prophylactics are on the house. (You should rent Goodfellas, I think you’ll like that scene.)

It’s called society. These fuckers are trying to undo all of it. Don’t let them.