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Current Events: Todd Akin Controversy

August 24, 2012

I’m going to tell you right now, I did not intend for this to be its own post. See, I initially put this in the third part of my SimCity Retrospective, buuut, the segment started growing out of control the deeper down the rabbit hole I went. Also, being the second post in a week to lead off with political matters struck me as kind of bad form. So, SURPRISE, NEW CATEGORY!

Now, this segment is never going to get off the ground if I’m not up front with you. So, let my lay my cards on the table. I am a lifelong Democrat; I believe that government should, at the best of times be able to help people who need it while keeping everyone safe, and should at the worst of times just not screw up things to the point where it can’t be fixed. But above that, I believe that it is everyone’s right to hold their own opinion. It might not be mine, and I might disagree with it, but it’s your right as a person to hold it and to espouse it, in a civil and non-inflammatory way.

Being a heated topic, especially in an election year, I expect there to be disagreements in the comments section. But consider this the first and only warning: Any attacks or inflammatory comments will be replaced with “bluh bluh, huge bitch”.

Alright, ground rules laid, let’s get to the topic at hand.

Todd Akin. I’m sure that some of you have already reacted by now, just seeing his name. For those who haven’t heard of him, Todd Akin is currently running against Claire McCaskill for United States Senate. Now, before last Sunday, anyone who doesn’t live in Missouri or treat politics like an especially potent drug likely wouldn’t have heard of him until November 6th going into the 7th, and even then only in passing.

Last Sunday, however, he went on a local news morning show in St. Louis. And during his interview, he…he said some things. Since I seriously doubt my ability to objectively describe the comments, I’m just going to quote them directly from Wikipedia.

Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, 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 that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Holy fucking shit. I’m going to quickly run through the political implications first, because that’s an aspect that’s a little more concrete. I think the biggest surprise to me was that this was something that actually came out of a politician’s mouth, and more than that, a politician who is currently in a race against a sitting senator.

I refer you to my previous statement, holy fucking shit. It’s kind of like watching someone…well, none of the situations I could think of adequately covered it. In the course of two days – forty-eight hours – he lost the support of his entire party, with the exception of the very religious. Most of the rest of the Republican Party has been calling on him to quit the race.

But rather than quit the race, he’s staying in. Despite the request of the majority of his party, and despite the National Republican Senatorial Committee and American Crossroads pulling their financial support, and being told that if he resigned from the race by 5 P.M. Tuesday, (a date and time which has since passed) his party could put someone else up without having to get a court order that could be challenged, he is staying in the race.

This one I actually have a reference for, the judge in The Venture Bros. episode “The Trial of The Monarch”: “You’re on thin ice here, but do you get off the ice? Hell no, you jump up and down like a lunatic having a..a conniption fit.” This is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in politics, and I’ve been interested in the subject since ’96.

Wow. That was not quick at all.

Now on to my personal feelings on the matter. This is despicable. In five sentences, Mr. Akin has lowered himself to the level of algae. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this legitimately angry – not upset, or annoyed or disappointed – at a public figure. And had he not qualified the type of rape, I wouldn’t be angry at all. I would have disagreed, sure, but he has the right to his own opinion. However, the instant he implied that women will have a willing sexual encounter and later make the claim that it was rape, I am done with him.

You know, I’ve said in private and among family and friends that someone on a particularly annoying ad or an overexposed celebrity has a really punchable face. But until now, I’ve never actually wanted to punch them. I’ve written most of this paragraph one-handed, because my left hand has involuntarily balled up into a fist.

I know that a lot of Democrats have been calling for Todd Akin to stay in the race, treating the debacle as a grand comedy of errors on the political stage and seeing it as an easy win. And to my fellow Democrats, I say this: Are you. FUCKING. Kidding me? I know it’s an election year and all, and yeah, I want McCaskill to win too, but against this…this…thing? It’s one thing to see a political rival’s downfall by his/her own hand. It’s quite another to encourage them to stay in the race to have the weakest possible opponent to run against, and frankly, running against Akin is more dignification than he deserves.

I’m just going to put this out there: I was considering just scrapping this post entirely to try and keep this blog from becoming a political war zone. The one thing that convinced me to push forward was my mother. She knows of the site, of course, but I didn’t tell her anything about this. Tonight (or last night, depending on your point of reference), we as a family were discussing the election. The way she got angry about the Republican party and Planned Parenthood…well, let me put it this way: She swore. This is a woman who hardly ever swears in anger, or for any other reason, really. Now, my dad and I, if there’s bad plot in a movie or TV show, we can turn a living room into a dockside bar. I mean, we swear like it’s going out of style.

With her, though? If she swears, something is about to go down, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of it. Trust me, I know from a long and storied career as a high school slacker (my God, I sound like Principal Strickland). She’s told me before about her beliefs on reproductive rights for women, and it probably did more than anything else to shape my own political leanings (she is one half of the team that raised me, after all). But it wasn’t until tonight that I actually saw her angry about this issue. And it’s because of that fire that I’m finishing this, because if you feel in your heart that something is wrong, and you feel like you need to speak out against it, than go with that feeling.

I’ll leave you with this: When a twenty year old television show (Quantum Leap, Season 4, Episode 6, “Raped”) can treat the subject of rape with more sensitivity and tact than a United States Representative from Missouri, and he doesn’t immediately resign from the race in shame, and his opponents are encouraging him to stay so they can have an easy fight, then the political priorities in this country are severely fucked.

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