First, I’d like to preface this with one thing. Before anyone gets the bright idea to start complaining about what I have to say here, bear in mind that I am not making these statements without some degree of experience in the matter at hand. I was date-raped in college. To be exact, the situation would undoubtedly meet the requirements of what Todd Akin considers “forcible rape”, since it was a violent situation, and the only reason why I call it “date-rape” is because I had actually dated my attacker. It wasn’t one of those “Oh no, I had sex with HIM?”, followed by after-the-fact claims that it had been against my will situations. I fought, and had the bruises to prove it.
Now that you all know where I am coming from, let’s focus for a moment or two on Akin’s asinine statement. In case you missed it, I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’m not entirely unfamiliar with screwed up comments on the role of women, abortion, and all the other hot button issues to do with sexuality that get the religious right all in a tizzy. Before there was Akin, there was Rick Santorum, after all. I read Santorum’s manifesto, It Takes a Family, and bluntly, his “crazy” isn’t very far from Akin’s current nonsense. But it wasn’t Santorum’s undoing here in the Keystone State. What did him in had more to do with dollars, than religious nonsense. Why? Because we were all wise enough to know that dear old Santorum wasn’t in a majority on his wacko ideas about any of those religious issues. Even with the shift right, he still isn’t. And this time around, his religious views got him early victories, but his fiscal issues that screwed him here in Pennsylvania, came back to haunt him.
Enter Akin, and the race for the Senate seat in Missouri. No matter how wackadoodle the man is when it comes to issues like rape and abortion, he is still a better fiscal choice than his opposition. Call me silly, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the folks in Missouri aren’t any less intelligent than the folks here. I think they are smart enough to realize that in this election, they need to vote in favor of their pocketbooks, not their Bibles. Scream at Akin, and demand an apology or retraction of his silly statement about legitimate rape victims (whatever that means) not being able to get pregnant against their will. But, stop demanding that he step aside.
Seriously, this is not worth it. He’ll eat crow for this one way or the other, and even if he doesn’t, the bottom line is that there is no way he could ever cause a law against abortion without exceptions for rape victims to be passed. Bluntly, there are far too many big fish to fry before anyone even thinks about this on the Hill. If nothing else, take it from a woman who could have easily ended up in need of an abortion after a rape. Akin’s statement is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It was ignorant, and he should apologize for it. But, handing that seat back to Claire McCaskill over this is overkill.
I don’t know what Akin will do to make up for this, if anything. But, the priceless response would be an apology, and perhaps something about not bowing to Islam, and the practice of rape and forced conversion. I can dream, can’t I?
UPDATE: Akin did respond. Yes, he did say that he misspoke, and expressed his feelings of empathy for victims of rape. And, more importantly, he placed the focus back where it really belongs:
“But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.”
“It’s the economy, stupid!”