Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speaking Truth to Stupid: Rape Ignorance and Voter Suppression

Okay, my “strength and fervor” have been replenished since my last post and I feel strongly motivated to comment on two outrageous trends within the Republican Party – policies and practices which, God, common sense, and civic participation willing – will help defeat them at every level come November.  I’m referring specifically to this week’s outrageous allegations by Missouri senatorial contender Todd Akin that rape victims cannot get pregnant from rape, and so no exception is needed in anti-abortion laws (and efforts) to permit rape (and incest) victims to have abortions.  I’m equally appalled and downright terrified by ongoing nationwide Voter Suppression efforts.  It would appear that real freedom is in real trouble in 2012.

In the rape matter, we have another unfathomable example of how Science Ignorance and Religiously Influenced Science can have a devastating impact on legislative efforts to address urgent matters.  It’s in the same scientific class as “climate change is a hoax” and “wind and solar power can’t work because what happens when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing?”  This stuff is dangerously dumb.  But the latest attack in the War On Women (which, of course, is just a phony Liberal construct) is a horrendous combination of gross ignorance and stunning insensitivity.

Prior to the 20th century, Western Medicine actually asserted that when a woman’s uterus was not properly engaged in what it was meant for – incubating a fetus – it literally floated around inside her body, contributing to otherwise unexplainable female melancholia.  Now, Akin and his ilk are reviving a long-held anti-choice belief that in instances of “legitimate” or “forcible” rape (as opposed to fun and welcome rape?), a woman’s body shuts down and prevents pregnancy.  Her “juices don’t flow” and her “tubes tighten,” they say.  Oy, vey! 

Therefore, exceptions to anti-abortion laws must be eliminated, say these cavemen, because willfully fornicating women who get themselves pregnant through pleasure could easily lie about rape or incest.  Anti-abortion proponents aren’t going to let that loophole threaten the Personhood of the Unborn when “science” can “prove” rape doesn’t cause pregnancy.  I guess this will show the approximately 34,000 rape victims annually who get pregnant through rape who’s boss!

Now instead of science, one of the worst periods in American History – the era of Jim Crow and poll taxes – comes into play in regard to Voter Suppression.  Republicans at both the state and federal levels would have us believe that voter fraud is a huge problem that must be addressed with stringent ID and voting hours laws to ensure that people who are not legitimately entitled to vote cannot be registered and get anywhere near a voting both.

The fact that over the past umpteen years there have been more bungee-jumping accidents than incidents of voter fraud doesn’t enter into this.  Conservatives would have us believe that Voter Fraud is a real and urgent problem just like seeing the President's college transcripts and a real birth certificate, since the one he provided was obviously a forgery.  Accordingly, Voter Suppression laws are now in effect in 38 states – and they have a direct and purposeful impact on the young, the elderly, Blacks and Hispanics, and the poor of all ages and ethnicities – in other words, people who are more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans.

It’s not unreasonable to require first-time voters to present some form of identification when they register.  I vaguely recall that when I registered in the early 1970s, I presented a phone bill and my Social Security card – which showed where I lived and that I was on the government grid.  I had no problem then and have had no problem in the 40-odd years since.  Now, many states are asking for birth certificates (which many people no longer have or never had – and getting them, if available, costs time and money) and, more specifically, photo IDs.

In suburban and rural America, most people have a driver’s license.  But in urban areas, that’s often not the case.  Many students have school-issued photo IDs – but in some states, like Texas, a student ID isn’t acceptable; neither are company-issued photo IDs – don’t ask me why.  States are requiring government issued photo IDs – such as passports (most Americans don’t have one), a driver’s license, or a state-issued photo ID that one can get through the Motor Vehicle Bureau whether or not you’re a driver – but this too costs time and money.  Many working and poor people don’t have one or the other or both, nor do they have the means of transportation to get where they need to go for this.

It is sufficiently distressing that half of the country doesn’t even bother to vote, whether or not they have the “appropriate” ID to register.  To make it deliberately difficult, if not impossible, for many people who want to vote to do so is obscene and totally contrary to what this country supposedly stands for.  It is estimated that up to four million Americans could be disenfranchised by these Voter Suppression initiatives.  Democrats, Independents, Liberals and Progressives are up in arms.  Republicans/Conservatives are quietly letting political shenanigans take their course.  After all, if they let everyone vote, there’s a good chance that Batman and Robin will lose to President Obama – and, as they have stated clearly and publicly, beating Obama is their primary objective.

Left to their devious, self-serving devices, Republicans stand a real chance of throwing Roe v Wade, the 1965 Voters Rights Act, Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, environmental protection, any attempts at gun control, the existence and strength of unions, gay rights & marriage, and all support for education, the arts & humanities, and public broadcasting, under the bus.  They say Obama has robbed Americans of their freedom – how and what, they don’t say.  But it’s clear that the Republicans can and will do some serious freedom robbing if we don’t stop them.  Make sure you register and vote – and speak up.  Nothing less than functional Democracy is at stake.

1 comment:

TinCanMan said...

Republicans won't stop until they drag us all, kicking and screaming, back into the thirteenth century, stamp out human rights, women's rights and establish a Theocracy in this country. Mr. Akin is a member of the Dominionist movement and their goal is to do just that.