Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Idiocy Bandwagon

Wow. I think I finally figured out why our country is such a mess right now. So many of our elected officials are idiots. I don't know why it took so long for me to draw that conclusion with so much proof swirling around.

First off, anyone who's visited here a few times probably knows that I'd have to weigh in on this. I've railed about civil rights, gay rights, human rights, right of way, what have you. But this is probably the biggest 'right' (so far). It should also be noted that I'm usually way left of right.

Of all the issues that have piqued the public curiosity, first and foremost the economy, I would've thought rape was fairly far down on the list because it's so obviously wrong, period-end-of-story. But Senate hopeful Congressman Todd Aiken (R-Mo.) brought it to the fore. Here's what numbnuts said:

"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."

And this man is married? To a woman? By the way, according to studies, pregnancy from rape occurs about 5% of the time, the same frequency as pregnancy occurs from consensual sex.

Aiken's comments made it clear that he doesn't have clue one about women, biology, psychology or what's involved in winning an election against a female incumbent. (She could be Cruella Deville on crack and still beat him.) But before we get into his mind-bending faux pas, I want to state my views clearly and for the record. I believe rape has no qualifier. Just like one can't be almost pregnant, or sort of black, rape doesn't come in degrees. A person is either raped or not. There's no such thing as "legitimate" or "forcible" rape. Rape is rape. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse by one or more individuals with another party against their will. There's no legal or moral distinction between "date rape" and "anonymous rape". Rape has been classified as a "crime against humanity" and a "war crime" in certain circumstances. The way a woman dresses or behaves has no bearing on whether unwanted sex perpetrated upon her is "justified" or her fault. That's it. No gray area.

I guess one has to admire the Republican party for their sorta-kinda support of Aiken. Republican Vice Presidential wannabe Paul Ryan distanced himself from Aiken immediately and then was called to task when it was revealed that he and Aiken co-sponsored legislation that would allow abortion only in the case of "forcible rape". Forcible rape. I thought to myself, "As opposed to what?" Ryan also referred to rape as "another method of conception". Let the backpedaling begin, Mr. Ryan.

Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Tom Smith also distanced himself from Aiken but stepped in his own pile when he affirmed that abortion should be illegal across the board, even for rape victims. Then he planted his other foot when he said pregnancy by rape is comparable to getting pregnant out of wedlock, as his daughter had done.

Apparently Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.) believes that women are more interested in important issues like economic prosperity and jobs. Rape and abortion rights? Bah! And lest we forget Mike "Chick-fil-A Day" Huckabee, who rallied Baptist clergy to remind us that "(...)Congressman Akin represents the mainstream of our values. He is the mainstream of our values." Um, not mine.

Then there's the political action committee Republican National Coalition for Life which endorses GOP candidates who advocate a strict no-abortion platform and are "unconditionally pro-life". So far, 40 House and Senate candidates have been endorsed by the group and, with months until the election, that number could go up. Akin-defender Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) made the list, though he admitted he'd never personally known a rape victim, pregnant or not. But way to support the cause, Steve!

On the other side of the road, former Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist supports, and has even joined in, the backlash against Aiken's comments. And, of course, the Republican party has vilified him as being "self-serving and overly ambitious". Toe the party line, bully for you. Step on it, and you're screwed.

Like so many other powerful terms in the English language, the word "rape" has been usurped by the public consciousness and used in ways that diminish it. Sports: "Omigod, he was safe! He was so raped." Business: "Dude, your bonus sucked! You were so raped!" Environment: "People, this land has been raped." (Yes, even green-minded people are guilty of misusing 'rape' to further their agenda.)

But in the context of humanity and civil rights, rape has but one meaning. There's no "well, let's look at the circumstances" issue here. Men can be raped too, but for the purposes of this blog post, I'm talking about women. Women can only be raped one way. I don't have enough room in this blog to explain to the likes of Todd Aiken and Paul Ryan – and those who blindly and ignorantly support them – what that means. It just shocks and disturbs me that men – MEN, young and old – who were lawfully elected to public office are so dense that they could take the stance that they have. And it shocks and disappoints me that there are women out there – regardless of religious or political affiliation – that either support these neanderthals or are seemingly indifferent to the ramifications of these views. (Apologies to neanderthals.)

Aiken is an idiot. That's obvious. Ryan is a somewhat smarter idiot because he's done everything he can to distance himself from Aiken and the "forcible rape" legislation that they co-wrote. Smith and Huckabee are just plain scary. And Kay Bailey Hutchison? You're a woman. How is any of this okay with you? And my female Facebook friends – how are you okay with this?

There's been an uproar ever since Aiken's comments went viral. What frightens me is that there's nearly as much support as there is outrage for the things he said. He claims he "misspoke", but people continue to support his allegedly misstated point of view. What does that say about us as a nation of humans? We Americans, as a philosophy, are still convinced that we're somehow superior to pretty much everyone in pretty much every way. Our economy is in the crapper and we're no longer a true super power. As inconvenient as those things are, they're recoverable. But what about our moral fiber?

I'll speak out to the Republicans because they're the ones who have freely put their heads on the chopping block (the smartest dumb thing they've done in a long time). Have any of you thought about the individual as opposed to your political rhetoric? Do any of you know a rape victim who had to struggle with not only her attack, but the far-reaching physical and emotional consequences? I haven't. I've known women who have been raped, but as far as I know none of them got pregnant as a result. I can't think of any circumstance that would allow me to feel comfortable or righteous enough to tell them what to do with their unborn baby if they were pregnant. Like abortion in general, I think it's too personal a decision to be left up to a mostly male government whose goals are increasingly self-serving.

If a woman is raped, she should be allowed to have a legal abortion. Congressman Aiken and Vice Presidential hopeful Ryan, I ask you: What is forcible rape? And what isn't? And how are women supposed to live with your interpretation?


  1. Reading how many Republicans support this fool makes me a little sick. How do they justify their position? I would honesty like to hear from someone who is a Republican and still believes in their platform against gays, abortion, the poor, etc. Explain to me how you feel like it's OK because I don't understand. How do you set aside humanity and ignore the suffering of others because of your twisted ideals?

    1. I'm with you, @Kirani! I'd like to hear from a die-hard Republican who honestly supports these views. And not just so we can all gang-up on him or her. I'd really like to know and try to understand the rationale.

      Very well said, @Kirani!

  2. There is no excuse for these people, and I don't know what to say about them anymore. If I'm raped and it results in pregnancy, I don't want to be forced to live with the evil that was left inside me, not even for 9 months. I would want it out as soon as possible. No one should be able to tell me I have to keep it inside me. That's wrong and it's sick. Imagine the emtional damage it would do to me over all those months. The only way to begin to heal would be to abort the pregnancy and begin counseling immediately. For me at least.

    1. YES! I like to think of myself as a fairly enlightened guy. But I'm still A GUY. I have no idea what it feels like to carry a child. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a constant reminder of my attack growing inside me for 9 freakin' months.

      And you mentioned something else, @Michelle. You mentioned the emotional damage the ordeal would cause. And that made me think about the child. Can you imagine what that child's life would be like? He or she would be fatherless, that's a given. But to someday find out that you were a rape child? I imagine there are rape children all over the world that turn out okay, but why leave it to chance?

      A woman should have the freedom to choose for herself what to do in that horrible situation. Congressman, Senators, Governors – none of them should have a say in it unless they're ASKED. Laws are supposed to protect, not subjugate.

      Kicking the soapbox back under the desk now. ;-)

  3. A friend of mine had trouble trying to post on here, so she sent me a note on Facebook. This is her comment:

    I agree with Michelle. I certainly wouldn't want to be forced to carry an unwanted child, especially one created by something as unspeakably evil as rape. Personally, I've always been pro-choice. What really gets me steamed is all of those misogynistic a-holes who blather on about the rights of the unborn, only to conveniently disappear once those children are born. In my opinion, every Right-to-Lifer should sign a contract with each woman whom they convince out of an abortion to guarantee that they will provide financial support to the child until he/she reaches adulthood. They seriously need to put their money where their mouths are.

    I'm glad that you had the guts to comment on something as touchy as rape and couldn't agree with you more.

  4. What frightens me most about all of this is not just the stupidity of some of the statements and the unimaginable support Aiken is receiving, but how determined the Republicans seem to be right now to tear down the wall between church and state. This is not a Christian nation. I don't care what many Christians say or want to believe.

    Thomas Jefferson himself tried to make this clear during his presidency. Government is not to have opinions, but should reach actions only. Just as the government isn't to crossover into legislating the church, the church isn't to crossover and try to create laws for all people. It's fairly basic and easy to understand.

    We're a nation of many religions and many belief systems, including people with none. I'm appalled that a select group, Christians, try to control the masses with their religion and force it on everyone. They don't believe in abortion, therefore there shall be no abortion. They don't like birth control, therefore there shall be no birth control paid for by insurance companies. They believe gay sex is a sin, therefore there shall be no gay marriage or equal rights for gays.

    Just stop.

    Stop trying to control my reproductive choices. I want the government out of my doctor's office, bedroom, and pharmacy.

    And when it comes to rape, there is no iffy area; it's all dark, ugly, violent, sex taken without consent leaving lasting scars on the victim. The government and pro-lifers need to leave rape victims alone and not rape them again by forcing them to have children that were the result of such a heinous act.

    1. Wow. I should've let you write this blog post. I agree 100%. I can't think of anything else to say.

  5. Did you see this @Steven? Wowzie! I mean really?

    1. @Kirani: Nope, I missed this one. And it was 2 and a half years ago! So Republicans subverting Christianity to further their political agenda is definitely nothing new. Yeesh.

      I wonder how many of these self-righteous, ultra-right wing blowhards actually put their money where their mouth is, so to speak? How many donate money or volunteer their time to care for disabled or unwanted children?

      It's interesting how few opposing opinions I get when I post stuff like this. Surely there are at least a couple of Republicans who stumble upon my blog from time to time.

      Thanks for sharing this here! (Good to see you, too. ;-))

    2. I would guess not many of them devote a lot of time and money to these kids. And I'd like to hear from some Republicans too. Come on people. Explain your candidates to us. If you believe enough to vote for them, then you should be able to defend what they're saying. Right?

      Check out this one. It isn't about abortion, but it shows how out of touch Romney is about foreign policy.

    3. Okay. I'll say this because nobody'll remember by the election finally hits. The only chance the Republicans have of winning this thing is if they all SHUT UP til Election Day! I'm sure the Dems have plenty of gaffes and I'm sure they've been featured on plenty of conservative media outlets, but Romney & Co. just seem to keep putting their foot in it!

      This whole "fact-checking be damned" policy would funny if our nation's future wasn't riding on it. It seems like every time Romney or Ryan misspeak, they fall back on the whole "we don't care about the facts" thing. What's gonna happen if they get elected to office (again)? "Millions are without healthcare? Really? what."


    4. Oh, and thanks for sharing the article, @Kirani Cole! ;)

  6. I don't really understand the political stuff. I pretty much ignore the politicians, but I do know what I believe. I am pro-life, even if raped. A human life is a precious miracle.
    I do know someone who was raped AND got pregnant as a result. One of my good friends was raped back when she was in college. She did get pregnant, and she did intend to keep the baby. Unfortunately she had a miscarriage, which came close to destroying her emotionally. Thankfully she fully recovered from both instances, is happily married now with a 5 yr old boy :)
    I just lost a friend of mine last week to a motorcycle accident, so I may be a bit more sensitive on the subject of how precious life is. I also had 2 miscarriages in my lifetime, and suffered secondary infertility. I believe whole-heartedly in the miracle of life.

    1. Unfortunately, I'm starting the understand some of the political stuff more than I ever wanted to! ;-)

      Based on your experiences with miscarriages and your friend, I can certainly understand your point of view. I think what's important to me is that your friend had a choice after her horrible experience. And I believe that every woman in that position should have the same choice.

      I can't imagine feeling I was qualified to make a decision about abortion across-the-board for any woman. Such a personal thing should be left up to the woman and, if she chooses, the people in her life that she cares about. A male-top-heavy government of bureaucrats should stay out of it.

    2. But, as always @Brenda, thanks for stopping by! The door's always open. :-)