In an ideal world, farts would smell like Febreze and people would be able to empathize with the plights of others without needing to have made into something About Them, but this world is far from ideal. Farts smell awful and men, as a population, are not excellent at empathizing with women. So here's the reality we're dealing with here: There's a very real chance that Mitt Romney will be elected President on November 6th. Further, a Romney victory will be thanks to a huge support gap among male voters who clearly haven't thought this shit through. Call abortion, contraception, and other lady-related issues "distractions" all you like; Romney's suggestion that we regress on these will have real financial, physical, and emotional implications for men, women, and society as a whole. And here are 5 cold, hard truths that men will have to face if Mitt Romney is elected.
This "holy crap do men not get it?" epiphany isn't just me gearing up to be a Cathy cartoon for Halloween; according to God of Polling Data Analysis Nate Silver, if the election were held today and only men voted, it would be a landslide Romney victory. If only women voted, Obama would win like a doped up Lance Armstrong. This election is shaping up to showcase the one of the largest gender gaps ever in a Presidential election — but why? Mitt Romney has made it clear that at the very least, his administration would prioritize limiting women's rights over their own bodies, fight equal pay laws, and have a big male har har har about issues near and dear to women of all stripes. I suspect that the man/woman Romney/Obama gap can be explained, in part, by the fact that Romney is just a creepy guy, and women are generally better at registering creeps, since we practice noticing creeps every day of our adult lives. But at least part of the disparity between male and female political affiliations must be due to a gap in empathy, or men not fully understanding the immediacy and urgency of what Romney's enacted political stances will do to women. So let's talk about what they'd do to men.
If birth control is less accessible, then less women will be on birth control. And so it stands to reason that women, as a population, will become slightly more fecund. This is bad news for a guy who just wants so have a consensual no-strings-attached fun with an of-age woman, as Romney's plan is to limit access to birth control that women can now purchase with their employer-provided insurance and appoint justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade and limit abortion at the federal level. That means that if a woman in Romn-erica gets pregnant, she stays pregnant. And you, young stud, are on the hook for child support for the first 18 years of that child's life. That means a whole world of headache and red tape.
Even if your one life stand ends up giving the child up for adoption, you've still got a kid running around. And one day, that kid's going to try to find you in a heartwarming Unsolved Mysteries reboot that is going to be terribly awkward for you. He'll want birthday cards and shit and you'll have your own family and your wife will be like, what the hell, dude? and your kids will be like, "Daddy, is he our brother?" And you will look to the sky and shake your fist and yell ROOOMMMMNEEEEEEYYYYY!
Casual dating, the kind where one of you inevitably says "So... what are we?" at 4 am after you two have been watching Game of Thrones and then having sex regularly for a few weeks, will be dramatically different under a Romney presidency. When pregnancy must be seen through to the end, every possible consensual pregnancy-causing encounter becomes less fun and more dire — unnecessary baggage for an act that is supposed to be fun and bond-exploring.
And the longer you're on the dating market, young man, the greater the likelihood that one day your best-laid condom/pull out plan will go awry. Say your girlfriend pays for her pills out-of-pocket and you wear a condom and withdraw every time? Even your lame paranoid sex could result in pregnancy, and under Romney every pregnancy that isn't the result of rape, incest, or life of the mother must result in your girlfriend being forced to give birth. Having sex in a world without safe, available abortion is like penis Russian roulette. And that's less romantic than slowing down your DVR and trying to pick out the slain George W. Bush head from that one GOT last season.
3. What if your wife/sister/girlfriend/mother gets raped or has a severely health-threatening pregnancy?
I don't mean "gets raped" like "loses really bad at XBox live." I mean it like how grown-ups mean it: when someone actually forcefully sexually assaults and impregnates her. Under Romney, states would have the option to restrict abortion rights until there are no rights left at all. And if assclowns like Illinois' Joe Walsh, Todd Akin, or Vice President Paul Ryan are put in charge (remember, gymdouche Ryan and his Personhood racket would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency if Romney were elected), a woman you love could end up being forced to give birth to the child of a rapist.
It's like getting on board a wagon train to the 1860's, when women still died during childbirth and pregnancy was a dangerous, disfiguring condition. USA! USA! USA!
4. Gay guys? Mitt Romney wants to add an amendment to the constitution to restrict your right to marry the person of your choice.
One of the most surprising findings of Gallup's giant poll of LGBT Americans was that most of them — 55% — identify as either politically moderate or conservative, which is incredibly weird to me considering the fact that Mitt Romney has made no bones about his plans to endorse an amendment to the constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. So, bully for you that you'll never need an abortion or birth control — you might want to visit your life partner in the hospital someday, and Mitt Romney refers to hospital visitation rights as "privileges" and thinks that your love is less than the love Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds felt for each other for like three seconds in the year 2008 (remember how they were married? That was weird).
5. So you're a responsible guy who lives as a respectable citizen of Romn-erica, only having sex with your subservient Kolob-sanctioned wife and earning the millions of dollars necessary to pay for health care for your giant brood without having to rely on the government. You're still going to pay for this, one way or another.
Reducing access to birth control and abortion has never, not once, in all of human history resulted in people foregoing recreational sex. It's only resulted in a greater number of unplanned pregnancies, which will undoubtedly result in unplanned births of children into circumstances where the parent is unable or reluctant to support the child (And, just to head the "BUT... ADOPTION!" argument off at the pass — there are hundreds of thousands of kids currently languishing in the foster system in this country. Plus, many communities give women who give their kids up serious side-eye. It's just not an option for many American mothers).
Even if you let Paul Ryan take his gentle Catholic hatchet to this country's social programs, so you don't have to pay for feeding them, educating them, or sheltering them, you will have to pay for the large number of unplanned and unsupported children born under Romney's policies, one way or another. When one of them has a cold and their mother has no choice but to take them to the emergency room, and then has no money to pay the bill, you, "responsible citizen," will be stuck with footing the higher medical costs. When their mother can't pay for the delivery of the child, which is much more expensive, by the way, than just providing contraception or abortion services, you will have to pay for that. Poverty and parental indifference (or overextension) create a great, fertile environment for a great big garden of crime. You will have to pay to incarcerate or rehabilitate people desperate and option-less enough to resort to crime as a means of survival, or you or someone you love will end up being a victim of the ugly cycle.
While you may think that a vote for Romney is a vote for JOBS JOBS JOBS, or capitalism or following up the first black President in history by putting the whitest person ever in the White House, it's also a vote for unplanned pregnancy, for interrupted life trajectories, for taking rights away from not only women (MANY OF WHOM YOU LIKE VERY MUCH), but also making your own life more difficult. And so, when you go to the polls on November 6th, please remind yourself: other people are people, too. That's all I ask.