First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. — Todd Akin

The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever. — Rep. Henry Aldridge

Yeah. Remember these geniuses? Republican politicians trying to claim that women cannot get pregnant from rape, including Rep. Stephen Freind who theorized that when a woman is being raped, her body “secretes a certain secretion” which kills sperm.

I recall hearing about these statements and being amazed by them. I attributed them to a certain kind of ideological dishonesty. These politicians were trying to appeal to a voter base which would like to outlaw abortion–but even those who are pro-life will feel some sympathy towards victims of rape and incest, and it’s harder in those situations to trot out the standard accusation of “Well, she chose to have sex, so…” What better way to dismiss that twinge of compassion than by suggesting that a woman is not physically able to get pregnant from rape?

It still slays me how naive I am sometimes. No matter how cynical I claim to be, I don’t look to use and attack other humans, and so it doesn’t penetrate my thick skull that others do, and how easily they do it. I assumed that these quotes had to do with how these conservative men felt about abortion–but what if they also had to do with how they felt about rape? What if at least some of these men want to believe that they can sexually assault women with no consequence?

After all, they still think of women as objects to be used, whether it’s as sex toys or obedient wives. What could be better than to think that you could rape a woman without having to worry about unwanted pregnancy or the sin of abortion? Really, it might be enough just to make other people believe this. If she got pregnant, she secretly must have wanted it…the slut.

This puts a lot of insane Republican comments about rape into perspective. Like when Rick Santorum said women who did get pregnant from rape should “make the best of a bad situation.” Or when candidate for Texas governor, Clayton Williams, suggested that rape victims try to “relax and enjoy it.” Right! Relax and enjoy it when we assault you…after all, this is your job. Your role in life. Seriously, you should be thrilled this is happening to you.

Every time I peel back another layer of how these “virtuous” and “moral” people think about the world, it causes a wave of nausea to come over me. I will never completely understand where they’re coming from, and I probably don’t want to.

What I do understand: ­­­­Women absolutely have to vote this November. If we don’t want to live in a world in which rape is acceptable and tolerated, we need to speak up. Let’s, in Todd Akin’s words, shut that whole thing down.

Advertisements

I’m not sure if people have just been forgetting their basic debate etiquette lately, but I’ve been seeing violations of Godwin’s law happening left and right (although usually right).  Godwin’s law, of course, being the Internet discussion rule which mandates that the moment you compare someone to Hitler or the Nazis, you automatically lose the argument.  Unless your name is Stalin, any comparison to Hitler is going to sound way over the top.  One would think that we would know better by now than to exaggerate that much, but “OMG 1930s Germany” scare tactics never go away.

The most frequent victim of this kind of hyperbole over the past few years has been President Obama, because trying to provide health care access to millions of people is exactly like killing them.  I’m happy to report that the Tea Party’s rhetoric has changed…somewhat.   The latest political video sponsored by Foster Friess doesn’t claim Obama is like Hitler, it just claims that Hitler would have been unhappy with his insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  But wait!  If Hitler hates something, doesn’t this mean we should like it?  This is so confusing…

Another Godwin’s law violation was committed by South Carolina state Senator Mike Fair who, as part of the GOP’s ongoing outreach to female voters, decided to compare Planned Parenthood to Hitler.  The Senator was displeased with the results of a Planned Parenthood poll which show that over 60% of those surveyed support a legal right to late-term abortions, once they are informed that those abortions are rare and most of them happen for medical reasons.  I will come right out and say that I don’t support late-term abortions myself, unless they indeed happen for medical reasons.  However, that is still no excuse for the Godwin’s law infraction, which only hurts one’s cause in the eyes of rational people.  Since the poll results contradict sacred conventional wisdom about the American public, the Senator reacted by stating that he would no more trust any information coming from Planned Parenthood than he would trust good old Adolf himself, and that Hitler “by the way, had the same philosophy of Planned Parenthood and that is that some people deserve to live more than other people based on what the culture says.”  Hold on, you might say, a fetus, especially in the early stages of a pregnancy, is not the same thing as a full-grown person.  You might say that and then you might remember that to social conservatives, a fetus is more valuable than a person.  Fetuses need to be protected…people can just fend for themselves.

Speaking of guys who aren’t big fans of reproductive rights, Rick Santorum is receiving a Godwin’s law citation for comparing Iran to Nazi Germany.  Yes, there is a good point to be made about the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership.  But the hateful speeches have, as of yet, not been matched by large-scale violence, and they likely never will.  So the Hitler comparison remains invalid.  And, no matter how often our hawkish politicians keep suggesting it, going to war with Iran is a bad idea.

So…you know what?  Since it sounds like everybody else is breaking Godwin’s law, I might as well do it myself.  Hitler?  Bad artist.  George W. Bush?  Bad artist.  Just saying.  See how silly that is?  Still, I hope W. keeps on painting…might be safer for the world that way.

Easter Sunday is here, Christ is risen and Rick Santorum still sucks ass!  Happy Easter everyone!!

So, it’s Lent.  This is the time of year when, back when I was still a practicing Catholic, I would try to give something up.  I no longer attend church, but am thinking it would still do me good to do a little cutting back in my life.

So I think this year I’m going to give up Rick Santorum for Lent.  I have been obsessively reading, writing blogs and making Facebook posts about Rick Santorum, contraceptives and the Christian right.  All these topics need a break, before I lose my mind.  I’m sure that I am creative enough that I can find other subjects to write about.  While I’m at it, I need to give up Glenn Beck as well.  Glenn can be my bonus sacrifice.

In case I just can’t stop myself from blogging about Santorum—and the temptation will be difficult to resist—I have other Lent options.  Stop working so much damn overtime, so I have more time to blog.  And I can martyr myself with some serious hangovers.  It’s a hard sacrifice, but I may have to be the courageous Christian who is willing to do it.

Anyway, here’s to the official start of my Rick Santorum fast.  I’ll bash him again the minute Easter Sunday starts.

My family recently received an e-mail from relatives in Poland telling us how the “true Polish national identity” is the Catholic one, and going so far as to say that anyone outside that Catholic identity is not only indifferent to the well-being of the country, but might in fact be an evil Commie.  (Sound familiar?)  Being that my parents have for most of their lives been practitioners of Buddhism and yoga, this rubbed them the wrong way.  When my mother tried to suggest that perhaps non-Catholics, atheists, gay and Jewish people should also have a place in Polish society, the relative came back with the pleasant response that he hoped those atheists, gays and Jews would be well served by the euthanasia and abortion they so strongly believed in.

This is a growing movement in Poland right now, and many of our old friends—people who used to be rebels and freethinkers—are more and more often making these kinds of shocking statements to us.  Of course, all I have to do is turn on the right radio station or website here in America and I can hear all about how this is a Christian country and only those who are Christian in the correct way are truly a part of it.  Except that over here this kind of talk will be prefaced by the disclaimer that the talker believes in everyone’s right to have a different opinion or belief…it’s just that those with the different opinion are a “darkness” or a “cancer”.  And a cancer needs to be removed from the body, right?

Is it just me, or does anybody else feel the gathering stormy weather?  That pounding drumbeat of “those who are not like us”?  I suppose that drumbeat is always there, but there are times when it seems to flare up, and right now the tension is building up so tight it feels like the planet needs to clear its sinuses.  Then again, since the sinus-clearing usually entails a world war of some sort, maybe it’s better if we remain clogged.

One thing we cannot do is allow ourselves to be fooled by the relative calm.  After all, Western Europe in the 20th century was a very polite, civilized society as well, wasn’t it?  For now we still smile at each other on the train and give each other the fake “I’m doing great!”  In a moment of real crisis, how quickly could that turn into “You are the problem and you need to go”?  It has happened over and over again.

Maybe those times of horror are part of a strange birthing process by which our species grows.  Hey, I have the right to delude myself as much as anyone else.  All I know is that no matter where you go, you will always meet that group of people which needs to hold on to some type of dogma to be secure.  And I have met those people both on the right and the left, by the way.  I’m from Poland, so I’ve dealt with real Commies, not the bugaboo ones that conservatives invent over here.  No matter which side the true believers are on, they are bound by one common quality:  they can’t handle it when someone else thinks differently from them.  It rocks their world too much.  They lash out against it.  Under certain circumstances, they even kill.

And no matter which time we live in, it is the duty of those of us who don’t have a closed mind to stop them from doing so.  It may be a struggle which never ends.  And probably one I’m not strong enough for.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I fell victim to it, along with some other people I know.  I am just now recovering from a serious bout of Santorum panic.

I don’t think I can be completely blamed for it.  Santorum is one of those scary people known as social conservatives.  This means that on top of the usual right-wing predatory philosophy of “If you happen to be old or sick, you are a weaker specimen, and need to be rejected from the pack”, he also carries an unappetizing layer of push-it-down-your-throat religiosity.  I suppose the pompous morality is there to try to hide the predatory thinking, something that the libertarians, in all their charming honesty, do without.

Anyway, Santorum wants to annul all the previously established gay marriages–in the name, no doubt, of liberty.  He would like to allow states to ban contraceptives.  As he said in an interview, contraceptives are bad since they give one all kinds of sexual license.  In short, he represents the kind of small town thinking I instinctively fear—because I am someone who comes from a small town.  Sure, a small town in Eastern Europe.  But let me share a little secret:  Small towns are the same all over the world.  They’re FRIGHTENING.

If I want more proof that Rick inhabits a different planet than me, I need look no further than the sweater vests he is currently hawking to anyone who will donate $100 or more to his campaign.  I’m not sure why, but Christian conservatives even have a fashion sense all their own.  The make-up styles of the female Fox news anchors have induced bouts of panic in me as well.

So when Santorum came in second in Iowa, I freaked out.  I forwarded Facebook posts with all of his scariest quotes, and left rambling comments on blogs.  I envisioned a Santorum presidency and tried to decide which country I would flee to when all the condoms had run out.

Of course, I had forgotten one thing:  this was Iowa.  It was the place where Huckabee had, once upon a time, come in first.  The nominees don’t come out of Iowa.

And so thankfully, things are now in a much more predictable place.   According to the latest reports from the BBC, the crowds at Santorum speeches are still full of energy, but much smaller.  He also made the mistake of wading into his “gay marriage equals polygamy” stuff with some college students, and got heckled and booed.  Most importantly, another BBC news article (yes, I luvs the BBC) interviewed a few people in his audience who said they didn’t want to hear anymore about abortion and gay marriage.  They wanted to hear about the economy.  It’s still the economy, stupid, not theology.

Well, I have been miraculously healed from my irrational moment of panic and feel much better.  Now to get ready for the real thing:  Romney and months of boring debates about tax code and health insurance.  Hallelujah!