Congressman Todd Akin (R. Missouri) has violated a sacred trust. For this he has been shunned by his own party.
Is the trust a healthy respect for women? Get serious. It’s the pinky-swear that Republicans take that they will never actually express (in public) their deep-seeded, voodoo superstitions and attitudes about women.
In case you’ve been living under a rock – and a big one – Todd Akin, last week, said: “…that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (his emphasis).
Wow. I actually thought that writing about this would be easy – there’s so much to work with… so much to be enraged about. But I find my head spinning with disbelief. Representative Akin a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He is on one of the most important legisative committees in this country on science, and he must have flunked high-school biology. Believe it or not, this is what offends me the most. But then there’s so much to choose from.
Another thing that bothers me is that what Akin and his braintrust appear to be saying, between the lines (not too well hidden), is that it’s OK for just a few women (rare?) to be forced to carry their rapists baby. Akin said that the rapist should be punished, not the “child.” Paul Ryan apparently agrees that rape is a “method of conception.” I wonder what their attitudes would be if they accepted the 100,000 (which could be a really low estimate) rapes that occur in the U.S. each year as “legitimate.”
It’s tempting to think that this ongoing fiasco represents an inherent misogyny in the Republican Party. It’s really more base and less dramatic than that. What women and “sympathetic men” (men with a heart and brain) don’t realize is that women are the production system for a resource – labor power.
Would you let your lawnmower stop cutting the grass because it felt violated by your hands on its handle? Would you let your car stop taking you to work because there had been no justice when someone dinged the door in a parking lot and the car was upset about it? Of course not.
Women produce the babies that will, according to Republican plans, not become educated unless they can afford it. They will, instead, get trained to do the work that big-time capitalists need done in factories or financial enterprises or private medical practices or picking strawberries. Women are the cotton gins of America. Or, more accurately, they are the inanimate machines that make other machines that make other, useful items.
Republican capitalists don’t hate their cotton gins. They need them to keep on plugging away. Don’t fret your loss of humanity, ladies. Welcome to the club of those who don’t really matter except for the job we perform and the value we add for someone richer (i.e. better) than us. I ruptured a disk in my back, once, working at a warehouse. That’s nothing compared to being forced to have a rapist’s baby, but the pain stays with me and reminds me of my position in this world.
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.