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Akin's martyrdom as sickening as his words

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

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 carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

gotanyfacts 2 years ago

I know nothing about Mr. Akin except what has been presented in the news recently. From those reports it appears that he is against the destruction of what he considers a living person from fertilization on, regardless of the circumstances. At the other end are some pro-choice people who consider the unborn as part of the mother's body giving her the right to abort for any reason at any time. Most people on either side of the abortion issue recognize that there are situations that challenge our sense of what is right and moral causing us to wonder where lines should be drawn. What struck me about this controversy is media presentation. Carlton's commentary is a good example of putting the worst possible spin on what was actually said. Carlton’s spin: "...that women didn't really get pregnant from "legitimate rape," instead of pregnancy being less likely due to the woman's reaction to the stress of rape. Even if Akin's information is faulty, such spin is bordering on dishonesty. In the seventh paragraph, the misquote is combined with opposition interpretation (what the other side claims the speaker meant), attributing their own logic to the speaker and pretending that their thoughts are his, suggesting that he blames the victims for being raped. Blatantly dishonest! The suggestion that Nicholson play Akin in a movie makes sense for the caricature produced by the media and enhanced in Carlton’s article, but most likely not for the real life Akin. Unfortunately the media prefers caricature over reality.

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Jimboob 2 years ago

Yeah, like we don't understand what he said. Sure we don't. And he isn't the only one that feels that way. This election really shows the real difference between the two parties. Think long and hard about all the issues.

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gotanyfacts 2 years ago

sorry, Jimboob..response below

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Todd Akin's remarks clearly prove he is a pretty sick puppy. First of all there is no woman who can voluntarily control her reproductive organs so as to selectively exclude fertlization. What an ignorant remark! This man is a US Representative who is running for a US Senate seat. He doesn't even understand the basic biological concept of 51 per cent of the US population. This has nothing to do with how the press presents this freak. The real question is how many people share his intellectual weakness. I'd bet fifty bucks the fool would ultimately say the woman causes the rape. Do the world a favor, paint him and his ilk with neon for everyone to see.

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gotanyfacts 2 years ago

Jimboob and Fryar... you both seem to highlight the problem we have in this country of hearing what we want to hear about certain issues. Jimboob says "...like we don't understand what he said." Fryar doesn't if he thinks Atkin said a woman can "voluntarily control her reproductive organs so as to selectively exclude fertlization." He did not. Correct or not, he said he had been told by some doctors that the violent act of rape could cause the body to respond in a way that decreases the likelyhood of conception. You and I can fume and claim we know the darkness that lies in the hearts of others (and demonstrate the fools we can be). But the members of the media have a standard that must be met to keep us on an even keel. This is true even in an opinion piece.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

He absolutely said the female body has ways to try to shut down the whole thing and then he said let's assume that maybe that don't work or something. He doesn't get to apologize for this stupidity and you don get to make this into something other that unadulterated ignorance. It is an affliction of people who are limited to their lights - how far do they shine? Don't try to make this into a misinterpretation or a mistake.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Either you didn't read or hear what he said or you don't understand the queen's English. He absolutely said the female body has ways to try to shut down the whole thing and then he said let's assume that maybe that don't work or something. What species has that capacity. You can pretend that you see or know some mysterious element that isn't there in his comments but you don't. That is an absolute biological fact, you don't. The man said what he said and you can supply folderol all you wish but it's just nonsense. Akin is a nut and so are his apologists.

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gotanyfacts 2 years ago

Where did he say the woman has voluntary control? This you created, as well as the assumption that he would blame the victim for the attack. Your anger clouds your logic. I disagree with the man's position on the issue but I also disagree with concept of creating a persona that does not exist for the sake of attacking his viewpoint.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

He has also apologized for his misguided statement...unlike, Biden's "...they gonna put ya'll back in chains..." or Debra Wasserman-Shultz (sp?) many outright lies. Anything to distract from the Obama's failed policies...

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

gotanyfacts, you are not reading what the man said. "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" The female body does not have ways to try to shut or to open that whole thing down. That is where the term voluntary applies - "the female body has ways to try to shut . . . down. . . . that whole thing down there." The female body has no mechanism " to try to shut down " fertilization. To try to try try to try.

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gotanyfacts 2 years ago

The human body also "has ways to try" to destroy invading bacteria. Are you saying that means we have voluntary control over our immune system? When a family member's doctor told her that her body was trying to reject her unborn baby, do you think he was accusing her of voluntarily rejecting the baby she and her husband had been trying for years to have? If can distort your face to the degree you have distorted your logic you shouldn't need a mask this halloween!

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waltspecht 2 years ago

Look folks, the man expressed his honest opinion. Now the voters know where he stands on that issue and can make an educated assumption as to whether to vote for him or not. Would that more Politicians were like him and we knew what was really in their heart of hearts, instead of the steady stream of lies and innuendo most of them spew. I may not support his view, but I am glad it is public. Just think of the write in campaign for President if we truthfully knew what was in each canidates mind. I doubt we would vote for any of them.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Your comment is so ignorant it is shameful. I now know why Erskine Caldwel wrote "Tobacco Road."

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waltspecht 2 years ago

Exactly what is ignorant about appreciating truthfullness in Politics? It is something that has been missing from politics for a very long time. How many political positions and promises have proven to be lies once the individual is in office?

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USTPC 2 years ago

I would have to ask the same question....why is his comment ignorant? He has a valid point. It really is too bad that politicians say what people want to hear when it comes time to be elected and then do the opposite once in office. Be truthful.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

the female body has ways to try to shut down the whole thing and then he said let's assume that maybe that don't work or something. duh

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gotanyfacts 2 years ago

Again... when does he say the woman has voluntary control? That is the foundation of your charge. My point is not the validity of his statement, but the dishonesty in distorting what he said. Showing that he is misinformed about physiological responses to being raped does not create a powerful weapon for his opponents. The answer is to put words into his mouth, create an opinion for which there is no evidence and promote the opinion as a fact. This is a common practice in politics, magnified by journalistic activism.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

All of this drivel after quoting one of the angrier women in the world (Sinead O'Connor) who has never been short on controversy (particularly as it relates to the Catholic church. See SNL). She once claimed to be a lesbian, then, later denied it. She's been married 4 times, once for a whole 17 days.

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Mr_Heatmiser 2 years ago

From what I've been able to gather, what he said was actually regarded as plausible until a study in 1996 disproved it. The doctor who told him this was elderly and clearly out of the loop.

The more unfortunate (for him) part of what he said was his use of the word "legitimate." Obviously by "legitimate" he was intending to refer to the more violent rape incidents, in which it was previously believed that the stress the woman endured could often prevent implantation of an embryo, versus the still terrible but perhaps somewhat less traumatic "date rape" situations. In using the word "legitimate" in describing the former, though, he inadvertently implied that date rape was not legitimately rape. Going to be pretty hard to come back from that one.

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