Maybe it's just the cynical nature of the 24-hour news cycle, but it sometimes seems like politicians always email shitty, offensive "jokes" to their staff instead of, say, cat videos or a recipe for peanut brittle. Wouldn't it be great just once to read a story that started, "State Rep. Carlash Smiz from Missouri thought he'd brighten up his staff's Friday afternoon by sending them all a 30-second video of his new cat Salted Caramel getting stuck in a laundry basket"? Unfortunately, today is not the time to start disseminating cheerful anecdotes about cat-loving politicians because, rather than sending his colleagues a cat video, North Dakota State Rep. Larry Klemin (R., Bismarck) forwarded an email titled "Why Men Are Seldom Depressed" to all his fellow House members.
Inforum's Emily Welker reports that Fargo Rep. Josh Boschee quickly posted it to his Facebook page, imploring his social network acquaintances to "discuss," which they did with varying degrees of outrage. Boschee, a freshman Democratic representative, criticized the title of the Klemail for "making light of mental health issues at a time when those are under discussion," adding that depression is "not based on being a man versus a woman, it's based on chemical imbalances."
Boschee's clinical definition of depression aside, the email itself included a list of "truisms" meant to illustrate just how blissful and easy it is to have a penis. Among the highlights: "Same work, more pay," "People never stare at your chest when you talk to them," "You can never be pregnant," and "You can be President." Those among you who haven't yet given up all members of the GOP for alien colonizers bent on turning all Earth women into breeding vessels so that their Martian war lord Jesus Christ can come to our planet and have a ready army at his command might notice that, under a different email title, each of these truisms are, well, true. In the hands of a Democratic politician (or just someone who didn't look like Ben Gazzara's evil brother), we might be inclined to believe that Klemin was making a serious point about the persistent inequality between men and women, and that how, thanks to his party's continued efforts that low-income women shouldn't have access to abortion or women's health services, a lot of women in America get pregnant at their own risk.
If the modern GOP had even a little goodwill to begin with, however, it used all that up once its members started bandying about phrases such as "legitimate rape." Klemin has insisted that his email "was just something to cheer up [House members] day as they were heading home," but nothing about a litany of ways in which women still suffer from professional and social inequality in this country seems cheerful. Rather, it seems like a hydra-headed reminder that, not only are Republicans perfectly content to make themselves as unappealing to everyone without a penis as possible, but that they've barely lifted a finger to improve gender inequality. In the context of Republican enmity towards all voters who aren't white dudes with steady jobs, Klemin's email reads less like an ironic critique of gender inequality and more like an old, white politician deciding to pee in his colleagues' faces at the end of the workday.