Legitimately Stupid

     “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has a way to shut that whole thing down.”
     The national brouhaha over this idiotic statement by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri – which probably will cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate, and may cost them the White House – has missed the point.
     Akin’s offensive statement, “legitimate rape” – (as opposed to, we may assume, an “illegitimate rape,” by a woman who was “asking for it,” or who “said no but meant yes”) – is not the main, stupid point.
     The main point, which no one in our nation of sheep has seemed to grasp, is Akin’s attack upon science, as well as upon women.
     No one, to my knowledge, has asked candidate Akin, how the “female body” can “shut this whole thing down” after being raped.
     This is not a “mis-statement,” like forgetting the name of the president of Latvia, or misspelling Albuquerque.
     It’s a candidate for an immensely powerful office making up a bogus “scientific fact,” and claiming government policy should be based upon it. And doing so to try to get an edge in an election.
     It’s an attack upon science, as well as upon more than half the people of the world – upon women.
     In the quasi-apology Akin excreted, he said that all the clamor was about his unfortunate use of one word: rape. Actually, it’s been about his use of two words: legitimate rape, but let’s not quibble.
     Is Akin misogynist and sexist, too much so to hold public office? I don’t know. Plenty of rich old white guys in Congress have been so insulated by yes men for so long that they no longer know when they’re being offensive. Plenty of guys who never made it to Congress are like that too.
     But we don’t have to scrutinize Akin’s motives. Most people would have a hard time untangling their own motives, a lot of the time.
     The point is, Akin is too stupid to hold office.
     Either he said it with malign motive, in which case he’s a bad man. Or he said it because he believes it, in which case he’s stupid. And I don’t want a guy that stupid, or that malicious, making decisions involving life, death and trillions of dollars – some of them mine.
     Let me tell you a true story. When I was a public high school teacher, one day two special ed teachers were preparing a lesson on sex education at the lunch table. Both had graduated from a respected, expensive private college – a Catholic college. They were about to tell their classes that the most likely time to get pregnant is the day before menstruation begins. That “the egg gets lower and lower each day and so the last day is the most dangerous.”
     I said, “That’s incorrect.”
     That’s what their college biology teacher told them.
     “He was wrong,” I said. “That’s not how it happens.”
     So they looked it up and – what do you know?
     Now, as with candidate Akin, there is no need to analyze their professor’s motive. It could be that he thought birth control was evil, so he deliberately misinformed his classes year after year. It could be he was just stupid.
     It doesn’t matter. A man that stupid, or malicious, does not deserve to teach college.
     And a man as stupid, or malicious, as Akin, does not deserve to sit in Congress.

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