(Note: As always, this play is born of nothing but observation, imagination and speculation. It is purely a work of fiction, although based on some actual events.)
THE SCENE: A conference room somewhere in America. It’s late 2008, and Barack Obama has just been elected. The mood is exuberant.
Sitting around the table are the charter members of the Christian Theocracy wing of the Patriarchy: all white males, of course. We don’t know many of them, but we might recognize JAMES DOBSON, DOUGLAS KMIEC and RICK WARREN among the crowd.
The conference room is decorated in Corporate Middle America, boasting an abundance of the latest in electronic wizardry. The remains of a profusion of fatty, sugary foodstuffs litters the table. The men are all talking idly, full, smug and self-congratulatory.)
DOBSON calls the meeting to order.)
DOBSON: Well, brothers, we did it! Our friend and ally, Barack Obama, has been installed in the White House and will soon be busily accomplishing our goals. The murdering of helpless babies through contraception, abortion and stem-cell research will go no further under the new President. Faith-based initiatives will be expanded, giving greater power and glory to our cause; and as for the Homosexual Agenda, you can forget all about it. Barack has promised he will not overturn DADT, DOMA or legalize same-sex marriage. In short, my friends, we are sitting pretty!
WARREN: Yes, we are in a great position, brother Dobson; greater than we ever thought possible. Brother Obama has given us control of the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party! Surely his reward in Heaven will be rich indeed. But I do see one small fly in our proverbial ointment: New Feminism.
DOBSON (outraged): New Feminism? What devilish business is this?
(ALL make the sign of the cross.)
WARREN: Well, our Online Astroturf Committee tells us that there is a big group of women out there who are very angry with all the sexism they saw this past year. Frankly, I think they’re just a bunch of hysterics, but in any case, they call themselves “PUMAs.”
PATRIARCH #4: “PUMAs?” More like cougars, I’ll bet. RRRRowr!!!
(ALL LAUGH. )
WARREN (pointedly): ANYWAY, these PUMAs started off as Clinton supporters who decided they were not going to vote for Barack Obama, for whatever reason. I don’t get what their problem is – we’ve always known the primaries were a sham, or our brother Huckabee would have been the Republican nominee this year! But somehow, the PUMAs thought the Democrats were different. Honest, or something.
KMIEC: Idiots! They should have known that after the past eight years, we wouldn’t let a godless heathen witch like that Clinton creature ascend to the halls of power!
WARREN: Indeed. Well, the OAC has pretty much taken over the PUMAs by this point. Most of their sites are full of our operatives, pushing the idea that Barack Obama is a Marxist who will tax them all to death, take their guns away, and abort their unborn children against their will.
DOBSON (dismissively): Well, then, I don’t get it. It sounds like the PUMAs are under our control. I don’t see the problem here.
WARREN: James, PLEASE. Will you shut up for once in your life?
(DOBSON subsides in a huff.)
WARREN (pissily): THANK you. (gets up and paces) Well, believe it or not, there are quite a few PUMAs who are clinging (ha ha, I love that word) to their liberal values. They are angry at the old feminist organizations, which we, of course, own, for not defending Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin against this imaginary sexism they claim to have seen during the election. So, they are going to start their own version of feminism. NEW Feminism. PUMA feminism. My question is, how are we going to stop them?
(ALL are silent, while they try to figure out how to counter this new threat.)
KMIEC (with a slow-breaking smile) STOP them? We’re going to HELP them.
PATRIARCH #4 (blustering): HELP them? Shit. Let’s crush ’em like ice in Dubya’s Jack & Coke.
ALL (sighing dreamily): Dubya!
WARREN (excitedly, breaking into their reverie): Wait, wait! I think I see what Brother Doug is talking about. Please, continue.
KMIEC: Thank you, Rick! What I am proposing is to welcome them into our loving arms. They are disillusioned with traditional feminism, aren’t they? Well, why can’t we be their new best friends?
(KMIEC has their complete attention.)
KMIEC (standing and delivering his sales pitch): Here’s the idea. These women are vulnerable and they’re not thinking straight. They feel helpless and alone. The time is perfect for: Operation Love Bomb!
KMIEC: Here’s how it works. We get our pro-life ladies to approach them and ask – no! No! DEMAND to be part of their organizations. Wasn’t Sarah Palin demeaned by sexism too? Don’t conservative women deserve representation? If they are REALLY feminists, won’t they stop being so divisive and unfair to their conservative sisters?
That’s the stick. Now, here’s the carrot: If the PUMA feminist organizations will agree to give up their emphasis on issues of choice, our so-called feminists will work with them on other issues of importance, like, increasing representation for women in government. Is that brilliant or what?
(DOBSON shakes his head.)
DOBSON: I’m sorry, Doug, I don’t understand. Why would any feminist organization give up on choice? I thought they all said abortion was some kind of civil right or something – I dunno, I try not to pay attention when those females start babbling.
KMIEC: You’re right, Jim, but hear me out. I’m so excited about this part! (working the room again) What we will offer them is LOVE. They are so tired of all the hatred, you see. We’ve been fighting them for decades, and now their own Party and organizations have deserted them. These PUMA feminists have been beaten down to a nub. And, let’s not forget that they’re women. They are ready to do anything if someone would just tell them how wonderful, how smart, how beautiful they are; but they won’t accept that love from just anyone. Who they WILL listen to is: other women.
Our women are going to soothe their little PUMA souls with mountains and geysers of LOVE. Little do they know that once they want our gals to start supporting liberal women, or marching for the ERA, or any of that other lefty crap the PUMAs are always spouting, our gals will shut ’em down and kick ’em out. (getting even more excited) Pretty soon we’ll own PUMA feminism too, and then we can do what we really want: make this a white, Christian, male nation for once and for all, and keep those bitches barefoot and pregnant till they’re 50. No more abortions, no more contraception. Men will rule as God intended!
(KMIEC, out of breath, beams and preens.)
(There is a long silence while the PATRIARCHS process what he has been saying. Then, DOBSON speaks up again.)
DOBSON (skeptically): So, let me get this straight. After we’ve been trying to take abortion and contraception away from them since 1972, these PUMA feminists are really dumb enough to fall for this, this “Love Bomb”? To take the blame for being divisive, when we’re the ones who have been attacking them? To put aside the bedrock issue of feminism, the right to control their own bodies, just for a couple of hugs and vague promises? (shaking his head) I’m sorry, but this scheme is so obvious that a fourth-grader wouldn’t buy it. They’ll never fall for it!
WARREN (reassuring): Brother Dobson, not to fear. These women will be so happy that someone is on their side, they won’t think too hard about what our operatives are saying. (exultant) Oh, they’ll buy it, believe me. We’ll tell them it’s their fault women are divided, and they’ll say “We’re sorry.” We tell them they’re being feminists when they cave to us on choice, and they’ll turn the REAL feminists away at the door, while welcoming our operatives in. I know it sounds crazy, but trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong?
(ALL PATRIARCHS look at each other, considering. Then, one by one, they begin applauding. Soon there is a standing ovation and cries of “Bravo!” KMIEC AND WARREN bow, enjoying every second. Finally, the applause dies down.)
DOBSON: Well, I think it’s unanimous. Operation Love Bomb is on! Now, who’s up for mini-golf?