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    The Thing About Todd Akin


    via Think ProgressI’ve been writing dribs and drabs about Todd Akin. Save for a few tweets most of my thoughts are scattered across a number of notebooks and Google documents. My thoughts haven’t met the light of day not because I’m not angry. I am very angry. Possibly more angry than I should be and every time I think that the anger has subsided it’s there again. My thoughts have been numerous but I keep coming back to one glaring thing that we really need to discuss: You see, the thing about Todd Akin isn’t that he makes  ignorant and harmful statements. It isn’t his woeful disrespect towards women whose anger, in response to his statements, he believes to be a fabrication of the liberal media as opposed to ‘legitimate’ statements of disdain and disgust towards him and the office he holds. The problem with Todd isn’t that he said he misspoke which is really code for “I let my true colors show. Oops! My bad!”.

    The think about Todd Akin is that he’s not the only elected representative who believes that women are second class citizens. To the Todd Akins of the world, a zygote is more significant than the person who houses it. He’s not the only one who believes that it’s OK to legislate what a woman does with her body. He’s not the only one to be flippant about the severity of sexual assault against women. He’s not the only one to think that we women are a hysterical bunch and we’re overreacting upon hearing such comments.

    Todd Akin is not the only one and he will certainly not be the last.

    The thing about Todd Akin is that it seems that we need someone like him to speak his mind in order to get us to wake up. I’m not just speaking to the women, but to all of us who care about the people who make up 51% of this country but have unequal representation. Think about it; do you think we would be having this conversation if more women held office? Do you think we’d have to endure parsing the definition of rape for days on end (“Is it legitimate? or is it forcible? Either way,  they don’t need to have a voice”). I strongly doubt it. But more than that the thing about Todd Akin is that his views express a more prevalent issue far bigger than a single congressman from Missouri. He’s just a piece of a machine that believes that men should be making the choices for the type of health care are able to receive and it makes me absolutely crazy. The thing about Todd Akin is that at least he gets us thinking about the issue of being a woman in a country where men get to make these decisions.

    We are better than that.

    There are issues that I love to discuss to death like education funding v. defense spending what I do not love is the continuous conversation of how men essentially get to legislate women’s bodies and yet we will gladly do something about the education funding but never about this. That’s my problem. I hate to bring it back to political engagement and democracy but so many of these issues that ebb and flow in and out of our collective - the country’s - consciousness when it comes to women could be abated by occupying a voting booth.

    While I tire of having this conversation, I have no intentions of stopping. If that means spending the rest of my life keeping women informed and pointing to this incident - Akingate - as a warning then I will. Because it’s not going to end. The anti-choice crowd isn’t going to stop. So, why would we?


    Gut Reaction: Paul Ryan

    This is all immediate reaction and not at all about policy or wonkish. Stay tuned for positions, etc. during the week.

    While most woke up to the news of Paul Ryan being selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate and reacted with “Who?” I woke up - at six AM no less - and thought “Oh shit”. And then I went back to bed. I awoke two hours later and it was still true: Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin could be the Vice President of the United States of America.

    Most people are unaware of Paul Ryan, who he is, where he’s from, and, most importantly, his politics. In fact a caller on C-SPAN decided right there on Saturday morning after seeing a two line blurb on Ryan and that he majored in Economics , and gosh darn it! She was going to now vote for Mitt Romney because of what amounts to 140 characters.

    Let that sink in for a minute.

    It’s been two days since this announcement and it has yet to fully sink in. And when I do allow myself to really think of the possibility of Paul Ryan being a breath away from being President of the United States my heart beats faster. Which, if you think about it, is a great way to get the base going on either side.

    This race has been going on for what seems like years and in that time enthusiasm has waned and people have become complacent and bored. Apathetic, too. With the announcement of Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has solidified his conservative base while at the same time showing a true contrast between himself and President Obama. For many “inside beltway” types there has long been a stark difference between the two camps and we’ve tried to convey that message for months with few results. Paul Ryan is like taking a steak knife to the Democrats/Republicans/What’s the difference? blob and cutting it right down the middle.

    Paul Ryan terrifies me. He’s a conservative’s conservative and not in a crazy Bachmann-esque way but in a way that allows him to get his Medicare slashing, draconian cuts to education, more money for the ultra-wealthy budget passed in the House of Representatives two years in a row. He’s the man who would tell you that despite your health as a woman, you should not be allowed to have a life-saving abortion.

    Paul Ryan is polarizing. He’s a hot button. He evokes a visceral reaction from the left because of his extremism. And now, he could be Vice President of the United States.

    I’m scared. But damn, y’all, I am fired up.

    Further Reading:


    What Ayn Rand says about Paul Ryan

    The Ryan Role

    Mr. Ryan’s Cramped Vision

    Top 5 Worst Things About Paul Ryan’s Record

    The Case for Paul Ryan to be Vice President

    and the case against


    The Trouble With Hair (?)

    "Then there were the hot comb years where I spent every Sunday with my mother threatening to give me something to cry about as she took a smoking piece of metal to the nape of my neck. Then the relaxer and the ensuing burns and hair breakage. How could I forget the braids that were once so tight that my scalp bled?"

    Talking about my hair, Gabby Douglas' hair and black women's hair over at The Broad Side.

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