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My Akin Breakin Heart

22 Aug
My Akin Breakin Heart

I was not intending to break my scribble silence with two cents about a Republican candidate in Missouri running for U.S. Senate about whom I know positively nothing.  After the essential recall of the Wisconsin recalls, the wind in my sails for explicit political scribbling has flagged off.  But sometimes, even for a young curmudgeon, the bait is too irresistible, the bad taste and foot-in-mouth buffoonery such a spectacular eclat, that one risks ignorance by ignoring it.

Enter the court jester du jour, Todd Akin.  I was out of state when this latest gaffe debacle/ Freudian slip hit the press over the weekend.  Because I am old-fashioned enough, I treat email like regular mail in this sense: when I am away from home, I will deal with it all upon my return.  No smart phone, no tweets, no iPads or tablets.  Not even a quick dose of reality with a shot of espresso at an internet cafe or a lackadaisical saunter at some public library.  But I do read the paper and listen to the radio, so I had heard all about what Todd Akin said — and then later said what he meant and should have said instead.  I knew I would be coming home to countless emails about this as if I had had my head in the sand.  I counted no fewer than sixteen such emails just with the name “Todd Akin” in the subject line, not counting less specific ones with the buzzwords of “rape” or “legitimate.”  One-liners like “Unreal!” and “Dangerous and Wrong,” “Repulsive” and something else connoting the next cannon fire from the war on women.  I understand the motivation behind these attention-grabbing headlines, and I agree with their outrage.  I do not agree, however, with their conclusion that Todd Akin should step down.  What he said was both stupid and despicable, of course.  I am in no position, however, to distinguish what comes out of his mouth from what lies deep within his heart.  Neither is Chris Hedges, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, or even Barrack Obama (at least his email-sending staff).  The question isn’t whether his comments, which were in a response to a question posed to him about abortion, make him unfit for political candidacy — guess what? we have no such litmus tests for that in a democracy; anyone [with money] can run.  The question is whether a deep-seated belief or misspoken faux pas (if you care to accept that) makes someone running for public office ineligible or unfit to hold such a position.  My hunch simply is that Todd Akin is an idiot pandering to the religious right-to-lifers, as so many men — who will never have to face the gross reality of pregnancy or probably being sexually assaulted — tend to do, now that it has somehow become germane and unquestioned that power-seeking politicians have become ad hoc obstetricians and selective theologians, wannabe gynecologists who shudder at and cannot even bring themselves to say aloud the very word “vagina.”  But let the people of Missouri decide who is and is not fit for representing them in Washington, not twitter-happy activists and the bloviating blogosphere (present company excluded).

Decry what Akin said, decry what he may stand for (or against), but take away his right to run for office based on something he said, and we find ourselves making a rather nasty precedent that will surely bite us back in the butt.  Living in a pluralistic democracy (at least for the sake of argument) presupposes that we put up with shit we don’t like, maybe even can’t stand.  But to argue that someone should resign after an absolutely callous remark is a bit hysterical.  And it sends a message that the PC rank and file of the word police is vigilantly attuned to every whisper and wasted breath.  It’s patronizing and sets a worrisome precedent.  I don’t think Todd Akin should quit the campaign trail; the man spoke his mind, no matter how unethical and factually retarded his comments were.  In so doing he gave his would-be constituents a candid opportunity to ascertain what he believes.  Let Missouri decide what it wants.  And let reason, not partisan electioneering, rule the day.  National Republicans were instantaneous and all but unanimous in throwing the man under the bus, not for what he said, but for the actuarial concern that he will blow their chances to oust incumbent Claire McCaskill.  No doubt Democrats are gloating in the ignominious agony and harangue of this horse’s ass, Senator McCaskill in particular.  To be sure, he deserves it.  But if all politics becomes a stage on which a vaudeville hook whisks us away each time we say something stupid, no politician will ever speak their mind, the deficit of which sincerity we lament all too much as it is.  We are bombarded with watered down banalities and focus group-vetted talking points spouted out ad nauseum without needing to enable this generation of generalizations any further.  Let politicians speak their own take on the truth, and let the people vote accordingly.

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9 responses to “My Akin Breakin Heart

  1. cc

    August 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I completly agree! Keep him in this race as disgusting as what he said was, espeically when a personhood ammendment that would outlaw all abortion including in the case of rape and incest is going to be a plank of the republicans platform. They want to do this but just don’t like when a member of the party shines a light on it all out in the open. Remember Paul Ryan and Todd Akin were co-sponsers on the bill that tried to redefine rape as “forcible” or not.

     
    • t corcoran bauer

      August 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head. They resent the aftermath of what he said, less so the actual content of his wording.

       
  2. Maggie

    August 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I disagree with most of what you assert Timothy. I personally don’t believe that someone that pathetically ignorant and intentionally misinformed about the biology of 51% of his constituents, should represent anyone. But, that will be up to Missouri, who loves company by the way.

     
    • t corcoran bauer

      August 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      In the abstract I agree with you, Maggie. But a basic grasp on biology is not a requirement for political office; it is for a field in medicine, but the man’s not vying to be a doctor. Remember how Michelle Bachmann couldn’t even get straight where the Battle of Concord occurred? Yet she still ran for president no less; and a background in history is a whole lot more pertinent than reproduction is. The point isn’t what one knows so much as who one is and what s/he believes. I think Akin demonstrated both quite dramatically, albeit unintentionally.

      But what if some lame-brained Democrat in the Senate put their foot in their mouth and insulted half of the population, say a senator either in a swing state or a state where the tilt of control of the Senate is at play. And Bill O’Reilly had a field day while Michelle Malkin got laryngitis from shouting “step down” so loud; and the Club for Growth and the American Enterprise Institute both were sending out a smatter of emails to everyone on their serve lists. Would Democrats or Democratic candidates-leaning liberals feel the same way, so quick to call for the resignation of such a character. I don’t know, but I doubt it.

      We need to be careful about the implications behind what we do, and telling someone to quit because they answer a question on the spot in a manner fit only for jackasses and ass clowns doesn’t strike me as appropriate; it smacks of opportunism.

      Regardless, nice pun on Missouri/misery!

       
  3. snagblat

    August 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent piece and I couldn’t agree more. This is true liberall or progressive thinking. Nice work!

     
    • Maggie

      August 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

      If women have to lead on this or fly solo, so be it, but is time to call out too stupid to fucking govern! Missouri will make the final decision on this piece of shit, ( BTW, I believe the fix was in on this one), because that’s how it works, but this agenda needs to be shut down. Time for Pussy Riot maybe?

      Maggie

       
      • t corcoran bauer

        August 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

        I really do hear you, Maggie — I’m not just saying so. I’ve asked myself how this whole Akin debacle would play out if, instead of talking about sexual assault and reproduction, he asserted that there were “legitimate terrorist attacks” and that say the Twin Towers and the Pentagon building had intact measures of being impregnable to such strikes as airplanes flying into them. What would the reaction have been then? A fuckofalot worse, for sure, but deep down that doesn’t change the issue, which is more of a civil liberty and lesson in civics. Where, when, and how would/could we draw the line? Hermann Cain, another one of the nincompoops running for president, said on the campaign trail that one of his biggest worries was China having nuclear weapon ability. News flash: they’ve had the bomb since the 1960s. And he was running to be in charge of the world’s largest economy and military.

        One of my worries? That someone so ignorant and abhorrent as Todd Akin could, by virtue of his holding a federal position (in this case one of only 100 select seats of a fairly powerful institution, the US Senate), vote on policies that will affect all of us as a nation, not just the poor schmucks in misery-loving Missouri who hypothetically could elect the man. But what does one do about that? Allow only the politicians we like (or loathe the least) to run for office? Pass some kind of basic IQ test? There are no credentials to hold office, which is something that makes democracy both appealing and appalling at the same time.

         
  4. Maggie

    August 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Not only the ones we like but only the ones who A. believe climate change is real and human-made B. that evolution is the basic foundation for teaching science; C. that the separation of church and state preserves both church and state and D. that women are not sperm vessels or chattel and the don’t possess magic juices that can discriminate between you had it coming rape and oops, you ended up dead rape!

    IMHO~

    Maggie

    Scream, yell, write and keep talking about it…Akin sits on the science committee for Christ’s sake!

     

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