Congressman Todd Akin’s asinine comments about “legitimate rape,” pregnancy and abortion have knocked medicare and the economy off center stage in the political debate, at least temporarily.
Akin has apologized. Yet his comments are unforgivable because he is clueless to the hurt and damage he has caused and continues to cause. He is clueless to how hurtful his comments are to women, particularly rape survivors. His apology is empty because he doesn’t realize what he did.
Akin is clueless to the political damage he is causing as evidenced by the fact that he refused to resign his candidacy for U.S. Senate. He thinks he can win. He says his campaign is not about him, but about his message, as if he is a messiah with a unique message that no one else can deliver. Akin is a candidate for a straight jacket and the U.S. Senate.
Republicans are losing women over the Akin gaffe because 1) they failed to get him out of the Missouri U.S. Senate race and 2) their response is too male. Empathy is missing. The Republican response, which failed, is strategic and politically expedient. The strategy is sound, but empathy is missing and women feel that.
Much of the empathy coming from the left is false. It is strategic. But at least they are trying. Thus the gender gap will expand until Republican males get empathy for women, or at least fake it as well as Democratic males do.
The sin of it all is that on a political level the abortion debate is bullshit.
Regardless of who wins the presidential election and which party controls the next Congress, abortion is not going to become illegal in the United States in the next four years. Not in the next eight years either. Barring a transformational shift in the American culture, abortion will probably never be illegal throughout the United States.
Under our Constitution, there are only two ways for Roe v Wade to be overturned. One way would be through a constitutional amendment, as the Republican National Platform as called for since 1980 when Ronald Reagan was nominated and elected president. The other way Roe v Wade could be overturned is via a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Neither of those two things is likely to happen during the lifetimes on anyone reading this in 2012.
In order the the U.S. Constitution to be amended, the proposed legislation would have to pass in both the House of Representative and the U. S. Senate by a two-thirds majority. An amendment would need 290 of 435 votes in the House and 67 of 100 in the Senate. In the last 32 years since the Human Life Amendment was first included in the GOP platform, through three Republican presidential administrations including a brief period during Bush II’s presidency when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress, no such amendment has come close to passing.
Even if a Human Life Amendment passed Congress, it would still have to be ratified by 38 states before the Constitution was amended. Without the occurrence of a transformational shift in the American culture, that is not going to happen.
The same is true for the U. S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. It is not likely to happen, no matter how much prayer is involved. Even if there were 6 devout Catholics sitting on the Court, which will never happen, Roe v Wade might not be overturned. Even if it was overturned, abortion would very likely become a state issue. There would be 50 sets of laws governing the procedure. Some states might ban it outright. Not all fifty states would. Abortion would still be legally available in the United States, somewhere.
Of course those responsible for crafting the Republican platform every four years know this. If they don’t, they either can’t count or they are as clueless as Akin.
So why does the Republican Party adopt a platform every four years that includes a Human Life Amendment? In order to appease clueless yahoos like Akin, to keep the votes of the cultural conservatives and to keep their campaign donations coming.
An argument could be made that the Republican platform that includes support of a Human Life Amendment is immoral. It is a politically expedient lie designed to give uninformed voters false hope and to manipulate them. But it is also politically inexpedient, stupid and immoral because to gives the Democrats cover for eroding personal and economic freedom in the name of “choice.” To ignore the political realities and go forward anyway knowing that taking a “moral” position will give your less moral opponent an opportunity to do severe damage is immoral.
Those people of good will who are committed to saving lives by ending abortion politically and legally are failing precisely because they are attempting to do so politically and legally. Until our culture shifts, there is no chance that they will succeed. Their political efforts are counter productive. They need to take a longer view and shift their focus to impacting the culture.
They need to convert hearts and minds and give up attempting to force their moral views on others.