There is a quiet moral-of-the-story that threads its way through the seven seasons of the television series West Wing. It can be summed up in one quote: “Tell me how it ends, Leo!”
President Josiah Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, is a Nobel-prize winning economist and master at the game of chess. Leo McGarry, played by the late John Spencer, is his chief of staff, a recovering alcoholic who is a master at politics. A struggle between the two men’s approaches to solving political problems builds subtly at first, then explodes in a magnificent crescendo in this episode as Leo, guardian of military tradition, bucks heads with Josiah, the chess master who has the fortunate (or unfortunate) ability to see multiple moves ahead in any battle, on or off the chess board.
If Josiah Bartlet were a real person and he was watching the Republican party inundate congress on both state and federal levels with the onslaught of bills aimed at stripping women of their rights, I can imagine him slamming a book down on his desk and demanding “Tell me where this ends Boehner, tell me how it ends!”
Because if you follow chess at all, it doesn’t take a master’s eye to see that the current path down which the Republicans are marching ends at women not being allowed to say no. Not ever. Not to a father, a husband or a rapist.
First, the ability to choose when to fall pregnant is taken away by employers being given the legal right to withhold birth control from health insurance because contraception goes against the employers personal beliefs. Never mind her beliefs.
Next, funding for single women with children becomes extinct because the men have decided that lowering a national deficit takes priority. The fact that this lack of funding alters a single mother’s ability to independently raise her children is of no consequence. The men have decided what is important and what is not.
Then the few existing equal-pay for equal work laws are repealed, making it difficult for a woman to sup0port herself in a man’s world at all. Well, the women belong at home anyway. So sayeth the men.
Next, the mormon/evangelical/dominionist premise of the man being the one and true head of the family becomes the model – and then a mandate.
Because when you take a chess players advice and step back to get a look at the board, the whole board you’ll see that anti-abortion laws were never about saving babies. They were aimed at stripping a woman of her rights.
Think I’m overreacting?
Republican groups are waiting in the wings to repeal the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act.
Republican groups are waiting in the wings to repeal the Affordable health
Republicans are currently de-funding blocks of Planned Parenthood on state levels across the country.
Pregnant women are currently being imprisoned across America for the crime of having miscarried.
Some states have recently passed laws granting undeveloped embryos ‘personhood’.
Tell me how it ends, Leo. Tell me how it ends.