On Todd Akin and Other (Unrelated) Things

20 Aug

This blog is going to be about the following three things.  First, I would like to share with you all a search term that led a potential reader to my blog that I found both funny and sort of infuriating.  Second, Todd Akin.  And third, a quote that  I read in The New Yorker this past issue that I found especially interesting.  I really think that if you don’t feel like hearing my rant on Akin, you should just skip down to the quote at the bottom, labeled “Part III: The Quote” for your convenience.  Also, there is no reason behind the order of the post.  It’s just how I felt like doing it.

Part I:  The Search Term

Okay, so if any of you read my post from yesterday, you will understand my astonishment when I went to look at my site stats to figure out what kinds of search terms are getting people to my blog and one of them read

up skirt shots reddit

Ugh.  Really?  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I will hope that this person was (a) looking for an article about how awful this specific SubReddit is or (b) was actually looking for the SubReddit but upon reading my blog post decided to forgo looking at unauthorized and demeaning pictures of women and girls and become a decent human being.  I highly doubt either of those things to be actual possibilities but, hey, a girl can dream!

Part II:  The Idiot

Now I am going to weigh in, ever so slightly, on Todd Akin.  So, for those of you who have been living under a rock, the 6-term, Tea Party-backed congressman from Missouri said the following thing yesterday, as quoted in a New York Times article:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

He then quickly claimed to have “misspoke” and tried to make it better by saying this:

In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.  I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.

He has empathy for women who are victims of violent crime yet he has no empathy for women who find themselves pregnant by their rapists because that would be victimizing an unborn child.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Akin.  And, misspoke?  Is that the best he could do?  The thing is, that Mr. Akin is not the first person to make a remark like this.  Statements just like his have been made in the past by Pennsylvania Representative Stephen Freind, North Carolina Representative Henry Aldridge, Dr. John C. Willke, and Arkansas politician Fay Boozman who was, at one time, the director of the health department in Arkansas.  I really want to just be like, “wow, how stupid can you get?” and move along with my day but then I realize that these people are in actual positions of power and they, as well as some of the people who listen to them, actually think they are speaking the truth even though once they realize how bad it sounds they try as hard as they can to pretend they didn’t mean it.  (I swear, if I ever read somewhere that some asshat rapist tries to deny paternity of a child by saying that due to a women’s natural trauma-secretions the baby in question can’t possibly be his I will have a full on fit.)

Here’s the thing that’s really scary about it.  After Akin “misspoke,” Republicans and Democrats alike could not distance themselves from him faster.  Everyone across the board saw this specific statement as heartless and horrifying.  Romney told the National Review,

Congressman Akin’s comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.  Like millions of other Americans, we (he and Paul Ryan) found them to be offensive.  I have an entirely different view…What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it.

How do you correct something like that??  As Meg Ryan said in When Harry Met Sally, “You can’t take it back.  It’s already out there!”  The thing is, as pointed out in this Huffington Post article, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan actually doesn’t hold opinions that far off from Akin, he just knows how to package his beliefs in a less infuriating, less “out there,” way.  According to Michael B. Keegan of HuffPost,

Rep. Paul Ryan not only opposes abortion rights for rape victims, he was a cosponsor of a so-called “personhood” amendment that would have classified abortion as first degree murder and outlawed common types of birth control. Ryan has also bought into the “legitimate rape” nonsense, cosponsoring legislation with Akin that would have limited federal services to victims of “forcible rape” — a deliberate attempt to write out some victims of date rape and statutory rape.

So there’s that.  Also, Romney claims that he is not opposed to abortion in cases of rape, but if he is elected president he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade, putting decisions about abortion in the hands of individual states.  It seems that therefore, he is giving individual states the ability to make all forms of abortion illegal, regardless of circumstance.  If that’s the case, then when states make a decision about, say, abortion in cases of rape there wouldn’t be a damn thing he could do about it if he did disagree with the state which, at least in this current iteration of Romney, he supposedly does.  And, unless he’s really stupid which I don’t think he is, he is well aware of that fact.  It’s great that people are getting all up in arms about this because what Akin said really was demeaning and insulting and wrong and all manner of other things.  But the thing is, I don’t see a huge distinction between the shitty science that Akin and company have referred to and some of the studies and statistics I hear Republicans site to justify their anti-choice stances.  Also, in a lot of these cases when politicians and pundits and whoever else make statements about the rights of the unborn child, they are immediately discounting the rights of the woman.  We cease being human beings and instead become vessels for the unborn.  Akin is an idiot, but sadly he is not even close to alone in his beliefs.  Okay.  Moving on (for now).

Part III:  The Quote

In the August 13th and August 20th edition of The New Yorker there was an article by Adam Gopnic called “I, Nephi:  Mormonism and its Meanings.”  It was a review of 4 books that have been published in recent months that was spawned, I would imagine, by the fact that Mitt Romney is Mormon and a lot of people find Mormonism baffling. I have to admit at this point that I didn’t read the entire article because, although I consider myself a curious person, I am not currently terribly curious about Mormonism.  I did, however, come across this quote that I found interesting and figured I would share with you all.

…almost every American religion sooner or later becomes a Gospel of Wealth….The astonishing thing…is that this gospel of prosperity is the one American faith that will never fail, even when its promises seem ruined.  Elsewhere among the Western democracies, the bursting of the last bubble has led to doubts about the system that blows them.  Here the people who seem likely to inherit power are those who want to blow still bigger ones, who believe in the bubble even after is has burst, and who hold its perfection as a faith so gleaming and secure and unbreakable that it might once have been written down somewhere by angels, on solid-gold plates.

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