Warning: I talk politics in here, and in doing so, I discuss some subjects that may be triggers for some people. If you don’t know what a “trigger” is, you probably don’t have to worry about it.
Those Crazy Republicans*
Recent news headlines have become increasingly hard to believe. I saw this tweet that summed it up quite well…
Becoming increasingly difficult to discern “real” news headlines from that of The Onion. U.N. denies plan to invade TX blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/…
— Sophia Chiang (@ophiesay) August 27, 2012
(* by which I mean the crazy Republican politicians, not all of their Republican constituents)
The article it links to talks about how the U.N. actually had to make an official statement denying plans to invade Texas because of one Republican judge’s conspiracy theory about what would happen if Barack Obama gets re-elected.
Republican candidates have been alienating women on both sides of the political fence. Todd Akin not only proves that he failed human biology when he claimed that women’s bodies can somehow prevent a fertilized egg from becoming a viable pregnancy if they were “legitimately” raped, but by throwing that word “legitimate” in there, he shows that subscribes to the dangerously old-fashioned mentality that women don’t have the right to say no… and it supposedly only counts as rape if there was violence involved.
While I count myself among the statistically “lucky” women who have never been the victim of date rape, violent rape, or any other type of sexual abuse. But I’ve sat in the emergency room with an 8-year-old girl, who’d been admitted to the psychiatric hospital I worked in about a decade ago, while she underwent a rape kit. At first, her story involved a stranger leading her into the woods near her home, but it would come out later that it was her father and her brother who had abused her. But I don’t think it ever got prosecuted, because the emergency room doctor found the girl’s hymen intact. On one hand, I suppose the fact that she hadn’t been subjected to penetration was at least a small relief…but her months in the pre-adolescent unit I worked in would only reinforce the fact that she had been sexually abused in other ways. In that emergency room, though, it seemed to me like the doctor and the police officer present had both washed their hands of the whole thing when they found her hymen unbroken.
So that brings us back to the Republicans. Like the guy who likened babies conceived from rape to babies conceived out of wedlock – you know, since both are shameful. (You know I’m being sarcastic, right?) Missouri Republican Committeewoman Sharon Barnes decided on behalf of all rape victims that their resulting pregnancies were a gift from God. Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Todd Akin that would redefine rape as only the forcible kind, and would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest. So, God forbid, that 8-year-old girl had been violated in a way that got her pregnant – girls do hit puberty very young sometimes – Paul Ryan’s law would have made it illegal for her, an extremely young victim of incest, to terminate the pregnancy. You think my example is extreme? That 8-year-olds don’t get pregnant? You’re probably right. But say it was a 12-year-old girl instead who had already hit puberty, raped by her father. Paul Ryan wouldn’t make an exception for her. He’d want her walking into her middle school classroom carrying her father’s baby, shamed by her father, shamed by her classmates, and then forced to endure labor and delivery. You think this wouldn’t happen either? I bet it’s happening right now to some poor girl, forced by family, but not by the system, to have the baby. Oh yeah… and Paul Ryan’s excuse for his no exceptions anti-abortion policy: rape is just another “method of conception.” Oh, and in an effort to deny abortions to more women, the highly Republican state of Arizona has declared that pregnancy begins before you’ve actually had sex to make a baby. The ramifications of this are so profound I don’t even know where to start, and we’re not even talking about biological fact. (Since I just started my cycle, does that mean Arizona considers me pregnant right now? I’ll skip the registry at Babies R Us in favor of the registry at Pinterest.)
Note on my abortion stance: I am pro-choice. I am not pro-abortion. I wish no one ever had to have an abortion. I wish all babies were born to parents who want them, love them, and can afford to take proper care of them – financially and emotionally. But we’re not in that ideal type of society. Women are not properly educated or given adequate access to contraception in order to prevent pregnancy. And even those who do take proper precautions can find that they are not 100% effective. Or they have a health problem that could threaten their life if they tried to carry the baby to term. (If the mother dies, the baby dies, too. So why would we not preserve at least one life if the mother can be saved?) The official 2012 Republican Party platform calls for a blanket abortion ban, with no consideration for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. That’s hardly pro-life. I can never truly understand the set of circumstances that bring any woman to have to choose to have an abortion, so I don’t believe I have any right to tell her what she can or cannot do with her body. Too many politicians can’t see past their ideology to confront reality.
And then there’s the Republicans who have actually come out and said – within earshot of people who could report it – that they would like nothing less than to keep poor people and black people away from the polls on Election Day. That includes House Speaker John Boehner, Pennsylvania House Republican leader Mike Turzai, and Doug Priesse of the Ohio Republican Party. The rich, white men who run the Republican party know that their platform generally favors other rich, white men – and that more poor, minority voters at the polls means more votes for the opposition. Obviously, this isn’t true across the board, because rich, white men are not the majority of voters in this country, and somehow, these crazy Republicans win some of their elections. I’m hoping that my Republican friends who voted for some of these crazies really had no idea who crazy these people were at election time.
Republicans Who Want to Take Their Party Back
I have so much love for Casey Pick of Log Cabin Republicans, who published a brilliant post on BlogHer about attempting to influence the Republican Party platform. If the Republican candidates for office were more in line with the positions she describes, a Republican win wouldn’t be so terrifying for so many people in this country. She talks about marriage equality (aka “gay marriage rights”) being the real small government position, about how we need comprehensive, reality-based sex education programs in our schools and accessibility to the morning-after pill in our hospitals and pharmacies. These shouldn’t be viewed as progressive ideas, but the far-right wing politicians have such extreme positions that shows how out of touch they are with “common folks” like us.
I have to urge all of my Republican readers to take a look at the candidates that will appear on their ballots in November. Look not only at what they say they believe in, but what sort of effects their policies will actually have on your lives and the lives of the people you care about.
If your Republican candidate wants to take away your access to birth control, wants to make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy even if you find out you will die, wants to prevent you from marrying the love of your life, wants to stay home on Election day because you’re not rich or white, wants to take Medicare away from your parents and give them instead a voucher that will fall about $6,000 short of covering health insurance for them, wants to imply that you weren’t “really” raped because you didn’t have a knife to your throat or a gun to your head… please don’t vote for that candidate.
If you can’t bring yourself to vote for the opposing Democrat, vote for the unknown independent candidate who is more in line with your values. Or write someone in. Or don’t vote for anyone at all. You don’t have to vote for a candidate on every line. Did you know that? If the Romney/Ryan ticket scares the pants off of you like it does to me, and you can’t bring yourself to vote for Obama/Biden, or even Ron Paul, you can choose not to vote for President. You can vote on the other lines where you can cast your ballot with a clear conscience. The same goes for an Senate seat or other electoral race.
The same thing goes for Democrats, or anyone, of course. If you can’t endorse your party’s candidate or anyone else who’s running, don’t vote for anyone. This does not mean you should stay home. Go to your polling place and cast your vote…even if your vote means telling the people who tally these things that you don’t like any of the choices you’ve been given. Most importantly,you’re telling your party that the candidate they chose does not speak for you. Fill out the exit poll. Email your party’s leadership and let them know why they didn’t get your vote. You can help shape the direction your party takes before the next election. Please tell me that Republicans don’t actually support the extremist ideas these politicians have been embracing in what I would consider highly embarrassing headlines.
Before you comment: This is my blog, so I can control the conversation. While I do occasionally enjoy a civil discussion about politics with people who have differing opinions, the comments section of this post is not a place for any sort of political debate. Do not attempt to preach your politics here, for I reserve the right to remove your comment. (If I like part of your comment, I may edit out any preachiness while leaving the meaty part.) If you disagree with my politics, please limit the extent of your dissent to “I disagree with your stance on abortion” or something similar as a preface to any other comments you may have. I would encourage you to post a more in-depth response on your own blog if you would like to expound upon your position; feel free to link to it in your comment if you’d like. I save most of my political debating for Facebook; my blog is more sacred to me.