Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Other Akin Comment

(Bill Glahn writes)
I’ve been following the reaction to the Akin comments pretty closely and most of it is not especially surprising to me. I’m not surprised that he made the comment nor should anybody who has followed his career in politics and the legislation that he has sponsored. The outrage over the term "legitimate rape" is justifiable in its intensity - I’m not surprised by that. I’m not surprised that many Republicans are now throwing him under the bus for clearly stating the agenda of a large part of their party and representatives – including that of their VP candidate. Politicians are not supposed to state things that clearly in public.

I’m not at all surprised that the 7th District Republican Assembly – who are quick to remind folks that they are "the home of the true conservative (you can read that as "klan" and be more right than wrong)" - is standing behind Akin, calling the group of current and former Missouri members of Congress who have called for Akin to withdraw, "cowards." And while they may, in fact, be cowards, you’re not supposed to say that in public either. But the Missouri 7th District is all about being ideologues first and politicians second. Those ideals do not include personal liberties and civil rights. In fact, in the 7th District, where the Republican Assembly holds sway, a Democrat has never been elected to the House since the passing of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voter Rights Act (1965).

I’m not surprised that the Springfield News Leader had the headline "Akin supporters blast his critics" in 1-inch block letters above the fold, while placing the more newsworthy "meanwhile more party leaders push him to drop out" below the fold in much smaller letters. And a far too weak condemnation of his remarks as their main editorial. (I can see an endorsement for him coming after the furor wanes as a tainted but preferable alternative to Claire McCaskill.)

Here’s what I do find surprising…

I find it surprising that I’ve seen nothing – absolutely nothing – taking Akin to task for his follow-up comment that his desire is to "punish the rapist, not the child." Nothing from pro-choice advocates. Nothing from women’s groups. Nothing from liberal pundits or bloggers. Nothing from the psychiatric community. Nothing. Which doesn’t mean that that discussion hasn’t been presented, but that it has been buried so deep that even someone following the events doesn’t come across it. My belief is that it is equally as offensive, and maybe even more dangerous, than the "legitimate rape" quote.

Dangerous because of Akin’s complete and unconscionable lack of recognition that there is a third person involved in a rape resulting in pregnancy – the rape victim. Pregnancy is not a minor rash that can be treated with some over-the-counter hydrocortisone. It poses very real dangers to the expectant mother in every instance. Every instance. I see no reason that a woman should be forced to accept those dangers and certainly not to be forced for no other reason than to satisfy Akin’s self-image as "morally superior." Because it’s not morally superior. It’s morally repugnant. And here’s why.

A woman has hopes and dreams just like the rest of us, dreams that never included having a child by a man not of her choosing. Dreams that may include pursuit of an education, (put on hold if possible at all), dreams of financial independence (put on hold if possible at all), a life free of stigma (certainly not possible as long as people possess the Akin mindset), a life where she (and if married, her spouse) will not see the shadow of the rapist in the child’s face day after day after day. Dreams like those and many beyond, which the rest of society, unaffected by any such intrusion into their lives, has the ability to pursue. A fetus has no such dreams. Punish the victim.

Adoption provides the answer? Maybe, but in the case of a minority or mixed race child, I don’t see a lot of pro-lifers lining up to take on the responsibility. 64% of children growing up in the foster care system are minorities. Children with disabilities are at least equally hard to place. And while there are certainly dedicated foster parents, that system is rife with problems. Whatever dreams the fetus – now a child – may develop, they will soon be dashed as well. With the fervor to eliminate support systems (also the agenda of Akin) – punish the child.

In the group that contributes to this blog, we’ve had enough discussion on rapist’s motives– including expert testimony – to know that rape is not about sex, but about power. And the sociopath’s desire for the power to completely dominate and control other people’s lives. With that in mind, Akin’s extreme pro-life stance does not punish the rapist. It rewards him.

To my mind, that makes Akin a rapist as sure as it does the man who did the deed.