If anybody got the impression I was offering up an “explanation” for Todd Akin’s horrible remarks about rape and abortion, my sincerest apologies. But I can’t entirely blame them because in reviewing the post, I realize that in my attempts to describe the age-old problems social conservatives have when it comes to defending their views—and let’s face it—some of these views had best be kept private, I should’ve been harsher on Akin than I appeared to be.
What that man said, and to his credit, he realized he was incredibly wrong in his choice of words, was a product of many years of a willing acceptance of old shibboleths held by many people, both male and female, about rape. There’s never been a scrap of truth to the notion that during a rape, the trauma is such that the victim’s body goes into such a state of shock that it produces a certain kind of hormonal reaction so as to prevent conception. This myth, and I’ll confess to buying into it years ago, is pure junk science that’s been cleverly packaged as truth and peddled by some heavy hitters within the prolife movement, notably Dr. Wilkie, formerly the lay Godfather/guru of the national prolife movement. In fact, for years he was the head of the National Right to Life Movement. I sincerely hope, he, too, was innocently conned into buying this dangerous myth.
Unfortunately, and I say this out of sadness rather than any desire to stir things up (because this thread deals with Ryan and his economic policies)...the ultimate payees of this junk science aren’t the political opposites of the prolife movement. Far from it. Because when the voters catch on that they’ve “been had” in any way shape or form, in the end, this will result in an understandable drop in morale on the prolife side and who’ll pay the ultimately much higher prices in terms of violence to their bodies, their dignity and self-respect, not to mention even the lives of the women and their unborn children? Need I elaborate?
Perhaps so, should there be anybody willing to take Akins’ side in this matter. First the women, then the unborn, (should the rape victims become pregnant by their rapists.)
Since Ryan’s the principle figure in this post, it’s also fitting that his role in not only shaping the GOP’s budget be scrutinized and fairly critized for its draconian cuts in services so desperately needed by poorer and single mothers of young children; it’s interesting to note how quickly he and his new (unofficially political boss, i.e., Romney…his actual “bosses” are his Wisconsin District constituents) came together to say they would not prevent rape victims from obtaining abortions.
Notice they purposely left out any mention concerning who’d pay for them, or, and this is crucial to remember when considering where the Missourian fits into this story as it unfolds, any mention of HR 3, or for that matter, a previous statement made by Romney indicating a full enthusiastic response to a proposed bill outlawing abortion for any reason. (Should we be surprised given Romney’s habitual flip-flopping? It’s one thing for people to change their minds, but how they change them and how often they do so with such rapidity so as to suggest they’re more concerned about keeping their poll ratings high, thus their “viability factor” high enough to be considered “serious enough” to merit large campaign donations…well, that’s a problem the Romneys of the world will have to sort out for themselves.)
Ryan’s situation is more complicated. To be fair, when he agreed to work with Akin on HR 3, it was probably seen as a practical piece of legislation leading to the end of government-supported abortion. It certainly didn’t meet the long-established guidelines long known to every Catholic. Ryan, being the devout Catholic he’s reputed to be (and it’s not anybody’s but his pastor’s/shepherd’s initial calls and God’s ultimate judgment if he fits this description ... has to tread a fine line. If he wasn’t “on the same page” with the top of his ticket on this, especially given the explosively sensitive nature of the issue, and Romney’s deservedly low poll ratings with likely women voters, he’s finished as a VP candidate. And, by going along with Romney in his unusually firm (for Romney anyway) denunciation of Akin and public cutting off of support from the top of the party’s ticket), Ryan’s also contradicting his previous work with Akin and his Church.
The ticket was wise not to tell Akin to drop out. That’s the Missouri state GOP’s role; a point even the Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill sensibly raised yesterday morning on MSNBC. That hasn’t stopped the usual gang of pols calling for the usual penalty, even though the carrying out of the penalty for embarrssing one’s party on extremely sensitive personal issues, invariably results in the firing squad, which 9 out of 10 times has a circular shape when it’s carried out.
Let’s face it, though, Akin’s a strange duck, and he’s got a lot of other very weird ideas I’d be delighted to see him trounced on for, not the least his “aw shucks I’m sorry” attitude for offending women in perhaps one of the most insensitive ways possible. But, I also respect the commonly established rules of civil politics as to how they’re (hopefully) best played out during a very emotional campaign season. We’ll all know by tonight if Akin’s “not a quitter” as he said yesterday, or whether he’ll stick it out. That call belongs, in the end, to Missourians only. Party heads have the right to their say and exercise in judgment insofar as how much $upport they’ll give, but it all rests on Akins’ head n’ heart to make.
What Ryan has to do now is decide what’s really important for him as a Catholic, husband, father, citizen, elected (and party) official, and in that order. To settle the first matter, he’ll have to do some serious “‘splainin’” to do with his pastor and bishop. That won’t be pleasant because he’s already compromised himself regarding the Church’s teachings on the economy and social justice. That’s act one. The next act, his willingness to give Romney, the most flip-floppingnest ticket-topper for both parties, (in my lifetime, at least) such a wide swath of say in such a very delicate subject of moral teaching, won’t help him in the least, especially Romney’s reputation for economc buccaneering.
Personally, I’d rather this be left out of the political arena, and where it belongs, in the heart and soul of every American, regardless of where or how they pray, or if they pray at all. Abortion and how we deal with it requires a much greater understanding and appreciation of not only God’s word, but also His eternal mercy.
Why is it that we hear so much about God’s eternal judgments comi ng from the so-called political prolife moment, couched in terms more suitable to a dreamy-eyed Hollywood scriptwriter seeking to come up with the next blockbuster Biblical film only with special effects to dwarf all previously used means to razzle, dazzle and frazzle any would-be doubter of Hollywood, if not the Almighty’s power? Is this necessary? Doesn’t it strike any of us that the movement seems to rely more upon manipulated fears rather than appeals to God’s mercy, guidance and unconditional love for everybody involved in this issue? If we truly believe God’s love is unconditional, shouldn’t we just leave what’s already published in Scripture to stand and let God decide for Himself whether or not He deems it necessary to inflict the ultimate punishment on anybody’s soul?
Maybe if we tried this more often than allowing a few (already well-placed in advance, as usual) politicos with a yen and knack of exploiting very touching and extremely sensitive personal issues, perhaps many of the millions of aborted children might have lived if only the efforts put into all the political machinations to stop abortions, sans any correspondingly concurrent efforts to provide necessary support systems for these mothers and their families—had been put into praying for His intervention first, foremost and lastmost throughout the nearly forty fruitless years spent trying to overturn the Court’s ruling. Ever notice how the same folks show up, write the same kinds of heart-wrenching, dollar sucking, forumlaic fundraising letters? They make a good living at it. It costs a lot of money to live in or around Washington, not to mention the costs of churning out tons of research papers (often containing expedient junk science to meet the urgencies of the moments at hand, renting all the office space, hiring all the “best available” advocates, and hold all those expensive gatherings. That’s nice for the folks living there. Isn’t it about time the same people who love to watch public officials squirm in their seats while facing a House/Senate hearing start putting the same kind of pressure on the supposedly prolife political movement that’s become a mirror of the permanent bureaucracy fiscal/social conservatives love pointing to for living off the “backs of the taxpayers”? Who’s been living off the backs of the parishioners and why have we tolerated this for so long while seeing so little in return for all the money sent to this relatively small, but very vocal and no doubt, well-oiled “advocacy” groups said to be acting on behalf of the unborn are doing well when they’re just supposed to be doing good? Perhaps if questions like this could be answered first, we wouldn’t be facing more wrenching dilemmas like the one facing Missouri…and the rest of the nation should he or others like him win. Trust me, any man who’d come out in favor of massive cuts in programs designed to help the poor, is no friend of the unborn, regardless of how they were conceived; and darn sure, by his lack of discernment and circumspection with regard to rape, no friend of women.
The solutions to the moral dilemma caused by abortion lies not in politics, but in our hearts. This isn’t like slavery, however cleverly it’s been packaged to resemble. This is far too individual a matter for that.
Come to think about it; how expensive is a set of Rosary Beads, maybe knee pads and little extra time set aside a day compared to all the millions sent to the black hole of the prolife movement?