Paper Dolls and Dress Codes

I don't know if they still exist since I'm a child of the '50s -- a bustling Republican era if there ever was one -- but the lowest tech of dolls -- if you can even call them that -- were those two-dimensional paper cutouts on which you could place clothing of all sorts by folding down the tabs on their edges to keep the clothes in place.

The styles came in all shapes and sizes, and covered these paper dolls in a haphazard way, not that any young child would mind. They let their imagination do the rest, and it was happy playtime all around.

So while Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, the country built up its military industrial complex, built the first interstate highway system, and created suburbs as cities expanded outward and the population swelled with middle class dreams. Sure, there was the underbelly of smoldering race relations as just a few years earlier Jackie Robinson had infiltrated and integrated America's Pastime, Major League Baseball.The Supreme Court handed down landmark the Brown v Board of Education decision in 1954. But we were still and willfully blissfully ignorant of the George Meredith's, Martin Luther King and even Malcolm Xs to come.

The Cold War seemed to be no worse than a standoff. The Cuban Missile Crises was a Presidency away, and the debacle of Vietnam fought under the auspices of the faulty Domino Theory, was not yet anticipated. Neither was the Civil Rights Act.

Absent the weight of this history, and even its play-it-forward consequences, the Republican Congress, specifically the House of Representatives appears to have nothing better to do than to try and legislate the attire of the two children currently living in the White House, as if they were those paper dolls from an earlier era.

You know that the Speaker of the House has totally lost control of his caucus when you read something like this:

If Republicans in the House of Representatives have it their way, First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama might soon become the first presidential children to ever be forced into following a dress code, which would apply to how they present themselves in public for the duration of President Barack Obama's stay at the White House.

The bill, titled "The Respectable First Family Act," would force a strict dress code on all Presidential and Vice Presidential children under the age of eighteen, for the full time their father or mother holds the office. Republicans claim they want to begin enforcing the new dress codes this year, and were hastened after a recent controversy where some criticized the First Daughters for how they dressed during the Selma rally this past weekend.

The hypocrisy boggles the mind.

Think about it: The Republicans want smaller, less intrusive government, but they want to tell two specific children what to wear. (And never mind the actually behavior of the Bush daughters, who are pretty lucky there was no social media back in those olden times. Just imagine those selfies!) Such contradictions, of course, don't bother Republicans at all. They don't hesitate to preach morality at every turn; yet are steadfast against letting women decide what to do with their own bodies.

Let's just boldly and plainly call a spade a spade. What the Republicans really want is for the country to be just like them. The do want to tolerate anything different; consider any change and resent the passage of time and the even the lessons of history. But have no fear, Republicans, I bet you can still find some of those paper dolls in a thrift store -- if only you'd be brave enough to venture out of your neighborhood. Then you might even see what the world is really like.

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