While I recognize that I, as a man, do not have a lot of insight into what it is like to be sexually assaulted or raped, I think the furor over the politics surrounding the topic over the last several months necessitates a post.
I think President Obama yesterday gave probably the best response a man can give regarding rape, and the politicizing of it; “The idea that we should be parsing, qualifying, and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people, and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” and followed by “What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians – a majority of whom are men – making healthcare decisions on behalf of women.” Exactly.
And while I don’t necessarily agree that conservatives are waging a “war on women”, I think their problem is that they’re politicizing issues that are inherently personal, not political. Republicans support the status quo in most respects, and this includes the continued subjugation and control of women by men and policy. That is why Roe vs. Wade was so abhorrent to conservatives, it revoked male control over a women’s right to choose what she wanted to do with her body, and instead gave the right to choose to the person who has the most insight into what is best for her…herself. Conservatives are still clinging to these antiquated ideas of meek women who need guidance from their knowledgeable husbands, fathers, brothers, male friends…politicians. And instead of raging a cultural war on the issue, which at least makes more sense - attempting to sway the majority of the public to feel a certain way – they’re waging a cultural war by proxy, the proxy being an ultra-conservative party platform and implementation of ultra-conservative policies.
With the support of the Republican Party lying mostly with old people, wealthy people, and religious people, all of whom have an interest in the continued subjugation of women, it’s no wonder that they continue to pander to those crowds. But what they’re missing is that regardless of how they feel, or what they say, women are not going to sit idly by while conservative assholes push harder and harder to go back to a time when their rights were limited to what their husbands allowed them to do. We’re in a new era (and have been for decades) where women will stand up for their rights; protesting, voting, running for office, donating to politicians and parties that support their rights. And with old people dying, and their antiquated ideas dying with them, eventually these radical conservatives will realize that they were and are on the wrong side of history. The culture wars WILL BE LOST by conservatives.
Onto the actual comments made by Rep. Akin. The guy represents the party; what he said is what they believe. They put complete intolerance to abortion, regardless of rape or incest, as part of their party platform for the Republican convention. It’s kind of difficult to throw one of your members under the bus for saying something that is part of the open party platform.
But that is where Republicans are these days. They’re clandestinely (or at least they wish they were) pushing for radical right-wing legislation, while pretending they’re moderate. There is NOTHING moderate about “parsing” rape into different categories. Rape is rape. It’s tragic when it happens, and awful that our society is constantly questioning and blaming victims, instead of asking why there are so many rapes that are occurring. The questioning after a rape becomes a woman’s burden to bear, instead of questioning the person who was responsible for the rape. The questions that are asked are ludicrous; what were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Had you been using drugs? Did you know the person? Had you had sex with anyone else recently? These questions are moot. We don’t ask someone who owns a jewelry store that gets robbed why they keep their valuable items on the counter, instead of locked away in a safe. A crime is a crime, and we should not subject the victim to further anguish and diminution by grilling them on what THEY could have done differently.
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and the Republican Party support legislation to outlaw a woman’s right to choose what is right for her, even in cases of rape and/or incest. This needs to be known, and Republicans need to be shamed. This is not a political issue, but because Republicans are using politics as a cudgel in the culture wars, Democrats need to strike back by destroying (politically-speaking) the Republican Party.