Some thoughts on Todd Akin

It is Sunday evening as I write this. I have purposely stayed off the Intertubes, as I am a huge soccer head, and this weekend was the opening weekend of the Barclay's Premier League in England, and the Liga BBVA in Spain. I surrendered myself to an orgy of footy, which I felt was deserved after working 10 days in a row without a day off.

So, I'm a bit late to the horror show that is Representative Todd Akin's comment earlier today. To recap, he restated his position that he's against abortion in all cases, including rape. Fair enough; not exactly blazing new territory in right wing abortion ideology. Of course, what set this particular declaration of principles apart was his attempt to defend it logically. See, in cases of "legitimate" rape -- I assume he means a rape where the woman is bound and gagged and violated repeatedly, with not even the possibility of licentious "assent" -- he has heard from "doctors" that women's bodies are able to somehow ward off the rapist's sperm. Thus, they don't get pregnant.

Don't believe me? God knows, I would have trouble believing myself. But, here's the video proof:



The quote in question was this:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Again, some unnamed "doctors" -- who should probably have their licenses pulled by their state boards -- have assured  Mr. Akin that in cases of "legitimate" rape -- which one would assume would be rape not accused as having occurred by some slut having "second thoughts" on the morning after -- a woman's body is able to dispose of the offending sperm. He didn't go into the biological process involved in this wondrous operation; however, to steal a line from President Obama, it probably involves fairy dust.

Lord knows, I'm a generally positive person. Among my political circle I'm the one who maintains equanimity in the face of right wing lies, insanity, and foolishness. I, for whatever reason, have faith in my fellow citizens, that they will see through the the GOP Wizard of Oz for the scared little man it actually is, cowering behind the curtain. I work every other Saturday at the library, and one of my regular Saturday patrons is someone who needs, well, a regular pick-me-up, that the election will be hard but is heading in the right direction. To be frank, I do like being that calm center as the storm rages about me.

So, I can be accused of being a Pollyanna. I just have supreme faith in this President, and enough faith in enough of my fellow citizens, to believe that we'll score a famous victory come this November.

And I often find myself thinking: "Surely, the GOP has hit rock bottom. Surely, it can't sink lower, can it?"

And then Todd Akin comes along and blows shit all over my white sheets.

It's people like Todd Akin who, when I'm tossing and turning at night, keep me awake. They revel in their ignorance, hold it as a badge of honor. They are like the abbess in Dark Age Europe whose only knowledge of hygiene was to wash her fingertips so that she could eat; bathing was the devil's work, a vestige of the evil pagan past. These people aren't even medieval in their outlooks; they inhabit some blasted landscape, one where, they think, civilization has collapsed, and the only thing that matters is power and survival. Anything that contradicts that world view is to be anathemized, cast out as heresy. Morality is black and white; there is no gray, and ideology trumps reason every time, because reason, too, is used by the devil.

Let me make myself clear: these are not people with whom one can hold a dialogue. They're not interested in dialogue; they're not interested in finding common ground on what can be agreed upon, while, in the spirit of democratic competition, continuing the political fight on other matters. We were at this pass in the years leading up to the Civil War; we are at this pass again, I fear.

Of course, there is a huge difference between the ante-bellum years and today: at heart, the right wing consists of cowards. Their icons are a "billionaire" who continues declaring bankruptcy and whose reality show life is fodder for late night comedians; a blowhard radio host who sinks into further depravity in order to maintain ratings; and a "rock star" who shat his pants in order to get out of serving in Viet Nam. These are not the people to lead a new Civil War. The nation is not lurching towards a time of general bloodshed; those who decry "liberals" the most are both moral and physical cowards, and would go skulking off when confronted with any strength. They hope that their money and their megaphones will lull an apathetic populace to acquiesce to their demands.

This November, it will not be enough to win the White House. It will not be enough to win back the House of Representatives. It will not be enough to maintain a hold on the Senate. This November, the GOP must be defeated to such an extent that it won't rise again for a generation. This November, the right has to be taught a lesson: it is no longer "your country", if by that it means one of division and fear and ignorance. They can join in the work of building a  more just society, or stand on the sidelines carping; but they will not hinder the work that needs to be done. The Right has to be eviscerated politically, exposed for the laughingstock that it is, bereft of ideas and moral authority. It has to be beaten into submission such that there's enough time to undo the damage it has done for the past 40 years.

This is not an election; this is a political war. There's no time to cavil, no time to hem and haw, no time to bleat about pet requests. There are no neutrals; if you're undecided, just stay home, because you haven't taken the bare minimum of time to inform yourself. There are too many Todd Akins to be pure about principle. They will have no compunction about turning this country into a dystopia. This is, quite literally, the fight of our lives. It is, in fact, a fight for life. Any thing less than a full effort and we lose. And if we lose, we won't find our way back for a long time.