It Takes More than Being a Nitwit to End
Political Aspirations in MissouriBy: Mildred Robertson
Having come of age in Missouri, it has pained me to watch the sideshow that has become the senatorial race in my former home state. It was appalling that Claire McCaskill appeared to be in the fight of her life to hold her seat against right wing ideologues. But it appeared earlier this week that Republication Senatorial hopeful Todd Akin had imploded, making Neanderthal remarks about rape. Akin asserted that victims of “legitimate rape” could spontaneously reject impregnation; a statement that drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle, with even Mitt Romney taking a stand against his ill-informed, backward statement.
Aside from the illogical, unfounded, ridiculousness of the assertion, his statement demonstrated a lack of understanding and compassion toward women in general and rape victims in particular. You would have thought that citizens of the Show-Me State would demand more of its political leadership. But, it appears, it takes more than being a nitwit to end your political aspirations in Missouri. As of Monday evening Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning polling firm out of North Carolina, reported that Akin continues to lead McCaskill 44-43.
Even though prominent Republicans across the nation have withdrawn support for Akin, he believes the Christian evangelicals, anti-abortionists and those who simply despise McCaskill and Obama will keep his campaign from failing. He is even using this gaffe to attempt to raise money, saying that “the liberal elite” are attacking him on the basis of his strong pro-life conservatism.
He says he’s not perfect. And on that one simple fact, he is right.
While we do not expect perfection from our leaders, we should expect common sense, the ability to research facts, and the intelligence to interpret them. If Mr. Akin holds this outlandish position on what constitutes rape, and the physiology of the human body, what other wild, unfounded beliefs does he hold that would influence his decisions as a Senator? You would think that his performance this past week would have given him pause, but instead, he seems emboldened.
I hope that the citizens of Missouri recognize that this election is about more than with what party they affiliate, or whether they lean left or right. It is even about more than Pro-Choice or Right-to-Life.
The problems that face our nation are myriad and complex. Regardless of our political leanings, we should want individuals in our state houses and in Washington D.C. who have the capacity to understand these issues. We need folk who lead us to know that the decisions they make impact real people with real lives. These issues are not just data on a chart, or position papers, but real social and economic issues that affect the quality of our daily lives..
As these politicians struggle to reconcile their own positions with those of their sometimes fringe constitutents, they must realize that good governance is bigger than a party, a position or an individual candidate. It is time our political leaders understand that truth is seldom found on the far left or the far right, but generally, right in the middle. We need politicians who can reason together and find that middle ground.
Todd Akin appears to lack the capacity to reason. He is not alone. And as long as the halls of Congress are peppered with people like Akin who are too far right or too far left to ever approach perfection, our democratic process will suffer.