Now I know what the value of ignorance means.
-- Sinead O'Connor
So, this is what we've come to in America. We've got people who would be our leaders, people asking for our money and our votes, who don't have a clue about the basic principles of human anatomy.
Not that that stops them from making asinine statements in support of their efforts to take further control of people's lives.
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican who is challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill for a seat in the U.S. Senate, laid out his no-abortion, no-matter-what policy for TV station KTVI last week by informing the interviewer that women didn't really get pregnant from "legitimate rape," sparking a firestorm of criticism that made its way into the presidential dialogue.
Akin said in the TV interview: "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape is) really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
Ummm ... let's see ... women's bodies shut the whole thing down ... rape pregnancy is rare ... legitimate rape ...
Follow-up question, Mr. Akin: Are you out of your freaking mind?
Women's groups immediately condemned Akin's comments, pointing out that, using his logic, any female who is impregnated by an act of violence on her body was obviously "asking for it." After all, if the rape was legitimate, her body would have shut the whole thing down.
Sadly, though, far-far-far-far-right conservatives -- many of whom, in this case, are calling themselves Christians, leaving legitimate followers of the faith to ponder at least a name change to erase any risk of association -- have come to Akin's defense, praising him as a man of "highest principles."
A couple of political nobodies, much like remoras latching onto the underside of a shark in hopes of picking up some of the killer's leavings, Rep. Steve King of Iowa and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, have gotten in touch with media outlets like Fox News -- which offered its fair and balanced opinion that "too much was being made" of the controversy over Akin's comments -- to offer their support for their colleague. Nothing like jumping on the unpopular side of a controversy to try and convince the public that you're relevent.
Huckabee even made strong statements on Akin's behalf after sending out an email asking gullible voters to send the man money, likening his new BFF to "a soldier being left behind on the battlefield" and invoking the "A Few Good Men" image of the Marines' "Code Red" form of justice being inflicted by the Republican party.
You can't handle the truth, indeed.
"The party's leaders have for reasons that aren't rational, left him behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound," Huckabee told the Washington Examiner. "In a party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. ... I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview. This was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin's own Republican Party.
"Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are 'conveniently pro-life' for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred? ... If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I'm waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves."
Maybe ole Hucklebuck thinks Jack Nicholson will play him in this movie, too.
Perhaps the saddest part of this sordid political gaffe, on its way to fading into the obscurity that is modern-day news, is not that there are influential people who think the way Akin does. It's that they've convinced themselves -- and others -- that what they think is right.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.