Friday, August 24, 2012

Todd Akin for vice prez?

Don't worry, loyal readers, this is not a post excusing Republican representative Todd Akin for being an idiot. He is.

Like everyone else, I was taken aback when Akin recently justified his stance on preventing abortions even for rape victims and made a puzzling claim:

From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. 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.

I figured people were joining me in outrage for his ignorant belief in a fictional biological mechanism. It turns out, that was secondary to an attempt to turn his remarks into an insult against rape victims.

People are focusing on his use of the word "legitimate" as if he was taking a moment aside to insult women who are knocked unconscious before a sexual assault or experienced some other form of sexual assault that did not take the violent form usually pictured. That's one way to interpret what he said, but another is that there are things presented as rape that really aren't.

I've been told that it's insulting to suggest that false rape accusations happen. I don't care, just as reality doesn't care if you find it offensive. This is a pretty simple one to show, as I only need one example to show it does happen, and here it is. If one wants to argue unicorns exist, a single horned horse is all that's needed.

Also, one can't be a false-accusation denialist and a supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange these days.

For reasons that I'll focus on in a future post, there are bogus definitions of rape being thrown around. It's saddening to witness the ones I've seen pushed in schools, such as begging your partner for sex counts as coercion or that it's rape unless both partners stop and make a verbal declaration of consent. Some of the activists speak as if there is some thin line between rape and sex, and rape is the default until proven otherwise.

Watering down the definition of rape does no service to rape victims.

As I said, there are multiple ways to interpret what Akin said. I suppose it is possible he meant that the other forms of rape "don't count," but I fail to see why he took time away from his point to make that statement and it requires ignoring the clarification he issued.

Not that follow-up statements from politicians should be seen as the Gospel truth, of course. To make matters worse, his statement apologized for the "illegitimate" remark but not about about fake science.

As expected, opponents of the right have decided to use the interpretation that's politically convenient. In fact, many of them don't even seem to care about Akin and would rather use his stupid remark as fodder against the Republican Party, even though the GOP has thrown Akin under the bus and urged him to drop out.

Massachusetts Democratic Congresswoman Niki Tsongas released a statement this week that transparently reveals political opportunism:

Congressman Akin's statements about "legitimate rape" deserve to be condemned. Unfortunately, they are no surprise to those of us who serve in the Congress. We have watched as Akin, Paul Ryan and others have tried to deny the right to choose even to the victims of rape and to women whose lives may be placed in jeopardy. Earlier in this Congress, they pushed for legislation to deny aid to hospitals that perform abortions even to save the life of the mother. We cannot let these extremists turn back the clock on women's hard-won rights and protections.

How cute, she immediately switched gears to vice-president nominee Paul Ryan for merely being an opponent of abortion. Tsongas isn't alone, as the Democratic party, and President Barack Obama, have been all over this issue for their own political gain.

Still, they are correct when they say Akin is not qualified to hold public office. Unfortunately, that can be said for just about everyone else in Washington.

1 comment:

  1. He made a stupid statement, but I'm not willing to jump to the conclusion that he thinks we have some false rape claim epidemic happening. I think he just wanted to draw a distinction between rape and sex and he did so in a poor way.

    But hey, at least Akin is consistent with his views on abortion. The rest of the right is willing to allow what they consider to be murder because they think it's wrong that a woman should be forced to carry a baby to term that she doesn't want.