Every time I turn on the television and see Michele Bachmann I cringe. Not that the alternative candidates are much better. From Texas’ Governor Perry who eerily reminds us of a Bush Part II, to a candidate like Mitt Romney that thinks corporations ‘are people too’, those in the run to challenge the President are a stark reminder of how we can potentially halt progress in the country. All of them are obviously on the attack-President-Obama bandwagon. But one GOP front-runner in particular that embodies the dangers of conservative leadership perhaps more than anyone is Iowa’s straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann. Her statements regarding women, people of color and U.S. history should offend each and everyone of us, and if we care at all about the future, we better start paying attention to her brand of politics.
Before Bachmann was ever even considered a viable candidate on the right, she launched onto the national scene by suggesting her fellow members in Congress prove their patriotism and allegiance to the country. During a TV interview, she said these elected officials should be screened to see if they are ‘pro-America’ or ‘anti-America’. Her radical ideas quickly pushed her to the fringe of her Party and brought back memories of Joseph McCarthy and his search for ‘Communists’ among our government. Bachmann has since only heightened her shocking rhetoric. Constantly changing historical facts -like suggesting slavery never existed by stating we were all equal when we arrived to this country – Bachmann is part of a growing movement of revisionists who are busy attempting to erase our unjust past.
Although she has since tried to alter her remarks, Bachmann also previously said women should be ‘submissive’ to their husbands. As a woman of color, I can never condone the ideas and potential policies of such a person. When many Black women are just getting by, trying to survive and make it happen on their own, who should we be ‘submissive’ to? How is Bachmann even remotely speaking to our plight? We had issues with Sarah Palin in the past, and although Bachmann may be more polished and politically savvy, her ideology is just as detrimental as the Alaska native or maybe even worse!
When President Obama first ran for office, many of us didn’t believe he would truly get elected. We couldn’t conceive that a Black man could realistically rise to the stature of the highest office in the land. But we quickly learned that America is more mature and far more progressive than we are taught to believe. The people proved that we are a nation of inclusion, diversity and opportunity. Unfortunately, folks like Bachmann and others would like to transport us to a place where facts don’t matter and neither does equality for all. It’s up to us to pay attention and remain involved in the political process or else face the consequences. And sadly, these are consequences, which could very well set us back decades.