Katie McDonough calls it like she sees it, and last Friday McDonough saw Cory Gardner as a fraud and called him out.
Full disclosure here: McDonough one of my favorite internet writers. She is the political writer for the webzine Salon.com. According to her credit blurb she "(focuses) on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice." If Salon were an 1850s whaling ship, McDonough would be the chief harpooner. And on Friday, she scored herself a white whale.
It seems Gardner is making good on a threat he made during his election campaign. If elected, he threatened, he'd make it harder than ever for poor women to access any kind of birth control. He wasn't shy about how he'd do that, either. First, he'd introduce legislation to make over-the-counter birth control legal. Then, he and his Republican cronies would make sure that the Affordable Care Act wouldn't cover birth control at all.
You may remember that I warned you about this back last fall. Of course, Gardner himself didn't state it quite that way. No, he trumpeted the first part of his plan in his campaign ads, disguised as something good for all women. You remember those campaign ads, don't you? They were the ones he scrambled to pull together to replace the ones about how his family's health care coverage had been cancelled because of "Obamacare." I called bullshit on that one, too, remember?
They were nice ads, too, full of Yuma County Republican women nodding agreeably as Cory laid out his bullshit plan before they all went back to baking cookies or selling insurance or whatever Republican women in Yuma County do when they're not having political smoke blown up their skirts.
And you may remember that I said at the time the plan smelled like what they scoop out of feedlots and spread on crops to make 'em grow faster. You also may remember that, while I warned you about the second part of his plan, Gardner didn't say a word it.
Well, on Friday, Gardner launched the first part of his nefarious scheme, and it didn't take Katie McDonough long to learn about it. Rather than quote extensively from McDonough's piece, I'll urge you to read it yourself. No, really, click on those last three words and read the article. I'll wait.
See what I mean? I won't pretend that Cory Gardner believes that the bill he introduced in the U.S. Senate will really help women. Frankly, Scarlet, I don't think he gives a damn. He wants votes from relatively affluent rural Coloradans (and if you own a $100,000 tractor that Gardner's dad sold you, you're his prime demographic) because they are the ones who vote and poor people aren't. People like Gardner have no clue what it's like to be poor, even in Yuma County.
I grew up in Yuma. My family's roots there go as deeply as Gardner's, but my family never rubbed shoulders with his. Unlike some of his constituents, Cory Gardner didn't grow up going to bed hungry. He's never known what it's like to have to choose between food and rent. He went to school with poor people every day of his life, and never saw them.
People like the Gardners never do.
But I saw them. Some of them were my friends. They were the kids whose dads trudged up and down Main Street looking for a day's work, starting at Hoch Lumber on the north end and ending with the Gleason Motors on the south end, and constantly being turned away. My family counted itself lucky to be one step ahead of the truly poverty-stricken in Yuma. They were the families who had the most kids, and could least afford them. They couldn't even afford, at 1960s prices, the only form of birth control available at Brownlee's Rexall Drug Store back then.
I won't bore you with a lesson on why some people are stuck perpetually in a cycle of poverty and despair. Usually, they aren't very likeable people, and if you don't know why, I don't have time to teach you. But what they suffer is not their fault, and free birth control under the Affordable Care Act is one of their few hopes of breaking that perpetual cycle.
Cory Gardner wants to deny poor people that hope. Either he's so clueless that he really doesn't understand why poverty exists, or he understands but he's cynical enough to put political ideology before the real needs of human beings. Either way, he's not fit to represent us in the U.S. Senate.
I've told you that before, and now Gardner is proving me right. I promise that I'll keep telling you as long as you keep voting for him.
An edited version of this blog appeared in the Sterling Journal-Advocate Monday, May 25.