(AlterNet) -- During his visit to Philadelphia on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence was greeted with a series of angry and loud but peaceful protests. Pence was in Philly campaigning for Republican Lou Barletta, who is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. in the November midterms—and while some groups of protestors were marching and demonstrating against President Trump’s immigration policy, others addressed abortion rights and the likely demise of Roe v. Wade if Brett Kavanaugh (President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court) is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. One group of female protestors dressed in the red robes and white bonnets depicted on Hulu’s hit television series, “The Handmaid’s Tale”—and given the way Trump, with Pence’s blessing, is reshaping the federal judiciary along Christian dominionist lines, “The Handmaid’s Tale” isn’t looking so far-fetched in 2018.
When Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” was first released in 1985, the Canadian author was well aware of the inroads the Christian Right had been making in U.S. politics under President Ronald Reagan—and her science fiction novel depicted a dystopian future in which a far-right Christian fundamentalist theocracy/dictatorship called the Republic of Gilead had been established in New England. In anti-feminist Gilead, women had no democratic rights and were forced to submit completely to patriarchal authority.
A film adaptation of Atwood’s novel was released in 1990, and in 2017, the current Hulu TV version premiered. The novel, the film and the television series have all been described as “paranoid” by those who underestimate the fanaticism of the Christian Right. But the way things are developing with the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts as well, the Republic of Gilead isn’t looking like a paranoid fantasy, but rather, like the vision Pence and other theocrats have for the U.S.
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