Even talking about this is tiring. When the American ultraconservatives tire of their favorite theme - how the welfare system ought be even skimpier than it is, so that the poor can be free of the state - they pull another rabbit out of the hat: the right to life. The rally usually ends with hymns, confetti, and babies being passed around for kissing purposes. As the president worries about war with Iran, the religious right argues that family planning should not be included in medical insurance. A wonderful New Yorker cover shows Obama laughing his head off at the Super Bowl show, as two well-known figures of retrograde America, wearing the same team uniform, tackle and punch one another.
This happened just when another such figure, Rick Santorum, came up with the idea of getting rid of public schools. "Why do we have to subject our children to the education of the state?" This is scary, particularly so because, of all the ideas the Americans export, in Spain we tend to buy the most detestable ones.
When the right is a bit shy of the savagery of its own words, it often puts them in the mouth of a journalist. One such example is Rush Limbaugh, a Republican TV preacher who fancies himself as a thinker. One morning he was pleased to take a swipe at Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who had defended the right to free gynecological assistance before Congress. He called her a slut (why beat around the bush?), and invited her to make video recordings of her own sexual encounters, so that the taxpayers might get some enjoyment back from their money.
I don't think Mr Limbaugh said anything very different from what many Republicans think, but he used a naughty word. As a result some advertisers, uncomfortable with his tone, withdrew their commercials from his program. Poor Limbaugh had to apologize.
Sandra Fluke, meanwhile, has taught a lesson to those men who imagine that you go to the gynecologist only when you have a hot evening in mind, and that the contraceptive pill is taken simply in view of these prospects. It is a fixed idea that these men have in their heads; nor do they seem to talk much to their wives about the matter.
Their wives - another interesting question. A high percentage of the women who vote Republican have admitted to using some sort of contraceptive method. The famous rhythm method was not among them.
It's scary, as I say. Spaniards end up buying this stuff. I am waiting for some right-wing politician in Spain - one who has nothing useful to say about how to deal with the crisis, for example - to come out and say that sluts who want to have fun should have to pay for it. He will not say this in so many words, of course. He will use euphemisms; but he will have somebody do the dirty work for him. For the moment, what we have is a proposal for revision of the abortion law, with Justice Minister Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón speaking in abstract metaphors, such as that of the "systemic violence" that leads women to abort. Well, yes, the times are not propitious for having children. But some women do and, in spite of the "violence," they bring them up. But abortion has always existed, violent or not, and the least we can do is regulate it in the safest manner possible, allowing women to decide on their own futures.
I am sure that Gallardón understands this, but in his new job as minister he has to serve voters who have never believed in him as a true conservative. As mayor of Madrid he could sit on the fence. Now that he has to address issues like this one, he waxes metaphorical.
At least Rush Limbaugh has the advantage of clarity. There must be somebody out there who can translate Gallardón's message into clear terms: Spanish girls must go back to having their abortions in London.