Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The GOP Fixation on Rape and Sex and Women's Bodies: There are Cures for That.

So I guess you heard what House Science Committee member Todd Akin (R-MO) said, when asked whether rape would be reason enough for abortion:
People always want to try and make that as one of those things, well, how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. It seems to me, 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. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.   
 To which, even the most thoughtless of the thinking people have to be going, What in thee pluperfect HELL??

This is the Tea Party-backed guy who just newly won the Republican senate primary and will go against Democratic Senator Claire McKaskill in November.  Maybe.  McKaskill wasted no time jumping in, saying, in effect, Uh uh, morons, you chose him, now you better let him run--I hope, I hope, I hope. 

But her reaction was nothing compared to the scrambling, the fumbling, the hasty word salads coming out of the Republicans who, bless 'em, saw immediately how this could royally screw things up come November if people kept linking that idiot Akin to their almost-main guy, Paul Ryan. 

That same Paul Ryan who calls himself the most Pro-Life person in government.

That same Paul Ryan whose views on Personhood--the belief that the life of each human being begins with fertilization--meshed so thoroughly with Todd Akin's they co-sponsored a bill calling for the legitimization of that loony theory.

That same Paul Ryan who, along with Akin and a couple hundred GOP House members, actually tried to make laws about the degrees of rape, defining "forcible rape" as the only violation worth noting--as if, in fact, "forcible" could be defined; as if, in fact, there was any other kind.

So, because Akin reminds them too much of Ryan and all that's unholy about him, the rest of the Republicans would like nothing better than to see Akin just fall in a hole, his name erased from any future historical references to the Great Race of 2012. 

On Hardball, Cynthia Tucker told Chris Matthews that this notion about a woman's body protecting her from a rapist's sperm--in a 'legitimate' rape--is nothing new.  She said Georgia Representative Don Thomas, a physician, said much the same thing--in 2003.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway quotes Thomas as saying, “Relying on my personal experience in my home county of 90,000 people, we don’t have rape cases resulting in pregnancy."

Galloway found another instance of the same crazy theory, this time by a North Carolina legislator (Republican) in 1995:
"The facts show that people who are raped -- who are truly raped -- the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant," said [Henry] Aldridge, a 71-year-old periodontist. "Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever. . .
. . .[t]o get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain't much cooperation in a rape," he said.
Rachel Maddow found even more instances of Republican office-holders using the same loopy rape reasoning.  (They're always Republicans. I mean it. Always)

How long before Republicans finally have to admit that they've encouraged and nurtured this craziness long enough? If they get skunked in November, will they finally come to their senses?  I doubt it.  Their fixation on rape and sex and women's bodies is a powerful habit.  It won't go away overnight.

But what if the craziness continues and they don't get skunked?  What if Romney wins and the Republicans take both the House and the Senate, and Paul Ryan, entrenched as the second most powerful man in the country, comes out of his shell, no longer having to pretend that there are any circumstances where women have any rights over their own bodies? 

It's our job to keep reminding potential Romney/Ryan voters that Todd Akin is not an anomaly, he is a symptom.  Five minutes before he gave that interview his loony beliefs about women's bodies were right there with him, and five minutes afterward he was feeling no pain about what he said.  He is who he is, and Paul Ryan and his fellow sex-masters are right there in the peapod with him.

There is no cure for what ails them, but there is a cure for us.

We quit them, pronto.

7 comments:

  1. Respectfully, I disagree with one point.

    Akin isn't a symptom, he's a feature. Remember, Ryan believes the SAME thing that Akin does, that the rest of the GOP does, that that uber christian whackaloon Kirk Cameron does, ad nauseum infinitum.

    This stance is a plank of the GOP platform, and it sits right next to the "Get the wimmens back in the kitchen barefoots and pregnant" plank.

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    1. Cthulhu, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see that last sentence of yours in their plank--verbatim!

      I used the word "symptom" because today's elected Republicans only get that way (elected) if they agree with the rightest of the Right Wing. A more moderate Republican doesn't stand a chance in the bluest areas, and as a result this is what we're going to see more and more of.

      But you're right. He and his kind are features of the party now. If Romney/Ryan are elected they'll be coming out of the woodwork. No need to say it again, but here it is: We can't let that happen.

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  2. I have been lurker here for a couple of months and I love your blog and your voice. Although I agree with what you have to say, I am struck by wondering how do we move forward from here? How do we frame the discussion with conservative friends and relatives in a way that does not get us dismissed as mere liberals? Our very own Rick Snyder used many of the same techniques that are being used right now by the republicans; just keep dodging questions and reassure us that, once elected, all answered will be revealed. So I think we need to put together an argument that somehow breaks through the conservative/racist/misogynistic shell. Thanks for listening.

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    1. Thank you, D James. I wish I knew how to talk to conservatives in a language they're willing to listen to. Obviously, I haven't found those magic words yet. One thing I know for sure--if you go into it thinking you'll be called a "mere liberal", you will be.

      I'm proud to be a liberal and I can point to historical events that show our successes in this country. Our successes were everyone's successes, and it's no secret that every successful social program endorsed and executed by Democrats was fought against mightily by Republicans. (See top right of my blog for some examples.)

      Rick Snyder's stonewalling was so transparent to every liberal in our state, but unfortunately the Republicans don't need or even want facts and figures. They were going to vote for him, no matter what. They didn't care where he came from or what he wasn't saying.

      Democrats are more discerning--sometimes to our detriment. We expect our candidates to be perfect, whereas the Republicans are willing to overlook even the most egregious behavior in order to win.

      I'm not suggesting we take just anybody, but I am suggesting we get full force behind our candidates once they've been chosen and use facts to build our arguments. The differences between the Democrats and Republicans are stark, and anybody who says they're not just hasn't studied the issues.

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    2. That's top LEFT! Sorry. I forgot to wiggle my fingers to see which hand I write with.

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  3. @D James - I think we need to stop claiming that the "no exception" crowd is the radical one. We need to show the "rape exception" crowd that they are really just saying that women need to accept the consequences of their slutty ways. You either believe the fetus has equal rights to the mother (a hard pill for any reasonable person to swallow) or your don't. I think that liberals who claim that the "rape exception" crowd are somehow reasonable are giving away the game.

    I'm not suggesting that the "no exception" crowd don't also hate women--they do. But their argument isn't explicitly anti-women the way the "rape exception" crowd's is. I recommend looking at my site or the blastocyst page on Wikipedia for a picture of a 5 day old "human." Once we can focus the debate on the blastocyst and away from "good girls and bad girls" there is no doubt that we will win.

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  4. American version of Shariah Law....

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