Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Since when was rape "legitimate"?

Just when we thought VP Joe Biden Jr had shot off his mouth yet again when he said that bank deregulation like what Mitt Romney is proposing would put Americans -- blacks in particular -- "in chains" (which would not be my choice of words) ...

... comes this moron, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO 2), challenging Dem Senator Claire McCaskill, who actually had the temerity to say a woman's body can induce a miscarriage in case of a "legitimate rape."   He later clarified this to mean "forcible rape" but that made things worse.  Even the GOP is furious and has demanded he "do what's best for the country" (i.e. withdraw his candidacy) by 5 PM Central today (2200 GMT); or they will get the courts to strip him of his party's line on the ballot.   Akin has backtracked today only slightly, saying "I apologize."   We all know what that means.   Absolutely nothing.

McCaskill, the widow of Mel (and who took his Senate seat when he unexpectedly died before the 2000 election -- and "the dead guy won" over John Ashcroft who promptly got Dubya's AG slot) -- has been seen as "vulnerable" this time around due to Barack Obama's lackluster performance as President; but this snide remark by Akin is more than an unexpected lucky break.   It's a piñata filled with gold coins.

There are people on both sides of the aisle, both men and women, who have nothing but contempt for "the better half" but Akin's screed is more than just reprehensible.   It has no consciousness behind it whatsoever.

I know women who have been raped.   Most had an abortion.   The rest carried to term.   But none of them had the expectation they would be able to prevent a pregnancy by willing it.   Heck, even women who do have consensual sex with their male partner know that each act can plausibly result in pregnancy.

For my part and as a man I don't consider sexual assault, whether there's penetration or not, to be sex at all.   That's because it isn't; it's an act of violence.   Period.   Where there is no consent, whether spoken or implied, it is not a legitimate act.   And comments like Akin's or "retractions" that don't address the issue at hand are totally unacceptable.   Frankly I don't think saying "I'm sorry" would cut it now, it's way too late for that.

(I can only think of two recent examples where mistakes of huge magnitude resulted in an "I'm sorry" and only one of them was political -- Tony Blair's WMD faux pas. The other was the Maple Leaf ™ listeria scandal.)

If this is what passes for discourse these days in politics, those who are considering public office as a career choice would certainly have to stop to ask, why?   Either you say something totally off base and hope you can get away with it or you speak the truth and are shunned for it.   But on this one, there is a stark choice.   Left or right, either you say "No means no" or you don't believe that.   And if it's the latter, you'd better hope it doesn't happen to your wife, daughter or sister.   Or you.

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