Gag Me With a Bill
Oh my, the perseverance of stiff-collared right-wing zealotry! If at first they cannot gag, they gag, gag again. Here's the lowdown on some of George W. Bush's earliest efforts to silence his pesky opposition. It may have been years since Bush implemented his gag order, but the effects of that order are still being felt today.
Round 1: Silence by Decree
George W. Bush's very first official act as President was to block the funding of family planning organizations. Bush's first executive order, issued on the 28th Anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, prohibited the funding of family planning organizations overseas if those organizations use their own privately raised funds to lobby their own governments in favor of less restrictive abortion laws. Although Bush justified his order by saying that "taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions," taxpayer funds were not in fact being used for those purposes, since that has been illegal since 1975. The executive order places a gag on family planning organizations worldwide, keeping them from simply discussing abortion issues if they want badly needed U.S. funds.
According to the General Social Survey, a strong majority of Americans support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion even when her life or health is not threatened. Yet Bush's first official act keeps federally-funded family planning organizations from even speaking about their position on the politics of abortion. First Amendment be damned, full steam ahead!
Round 2: Shouting Right Back
If Bush counted on passive acceptance of his gag order, he counted wrong. A coalition of free-speech advocates and family planning organizations supported Rep. Barbara Lee of California's fight in the halls of Congress to reverse the Bush decision. Rep. Lee's effort to curb Bush's gag order succeeded with a vote of reversal by the House International Relations Committee.
Round 3: Gag Me With a Bill
Unfortunately, this victory for liberty was short-lived. Bush apparently thought that curtailing the speech of his opponents was important enough to give it another go. On May 16, 2001, a GOP-led coalition voted in the House of Representatives to reinstate the gag order. This represents a victory for freedom-hating zealots everywhere.
At this point, it looks like the immediate battle is lost. So what can you do about it? Plenty, my friend, plenty. You can be part of the swelling ranks of the movement to knock Bush Junior and his Loony-Bin Bigots out of office. Here's what you can do; it's easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Visit Congress.org and type your zip code in their handy-dandy search box. You can find out lickety-split who your representative in the U.S. House is.
- Click here to read the vote tally. "Ayes" voted to reinstate Bush's gag order. "Noes" remained firm in their opposition, although they were not enough in number to prevail. Find out where your representative stood.
- Finally, visit House.gov to find your representative's contact information. Give 'em a call or write 'em a letter (don't send e-mail, it will be ignored) and either congratulate or castigate your representative. If you feel strongly enough about family planning and free speech, let them know that their recent stand on the issue has won them or cost them a vote. Then follow through on Election Day by keeping the gems in and kicking the bums out.
With a pretender in the White House and a conservative Congress, the pro-choice, pro-speech, anti-Bush majority is on the ropes right now. Bush's radical right-wing agenda is crystal clear. But if the majority in opposition can manage to actively and steadfastly hold its ground, the country just may get back on the right track. By making yourself heard on this issue, you can help make it happen.
Aisles of idiocies straight from the brain of Dick "Dr. Evil" Cheney can be found at the official website of The Ribald Reign of King George the Second.
Cmon, kids! Let's sing along to "The Kennebunkport Hillbilly".
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