Tom Smith, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, has just stepped in to clean up the pregnancy/”legitimate rape” kerfuffle created by his fellow Senate candidate, Todd Akin of Missouri.
Smith condemned Akin’s infamous comment, yet agrees with Akin and the GOP platform that abortion should be criminalized without any exceptions. Then Smith went on to break new ground on the issue, articulating … um … a handy new way to think about a rape victim who is impregnated with her attacker’s seed. Says Smith, it should be a just another case of “giving birth out of wedlock.”
In the modern Republican Party, this is moderation.
I’m burning up because the country has just endured the hottest July in recorded history, more than 60% of the nation is in drought, scientists tell us that such catastrophic climate events are the new norm, and for the first time since the Great Depression, middle-class families have lost economic ground for more than a decade. My blood’s also boiling because industrialists like ExxonMobil’s boss, Rex. W. Tillerson, says we will just “adapt” to climate change. Earning $35 million a year in “political speech,” he probably feels we’ll just adapt to oligarchy too. Do you know what I feel, Mr. Tillerson? I feel you’re playing with fire.
I am indebted to Leonard Pitts Jr., the Pulitzer Prize winning Miami Post columnist, for contrasting our deeply troubled nation in this Advent Season to the more imperiled America on Christmas Eve, 1941.
Two leaders–the U.S. president and the British prime minister–lit the national Christmas tree and said the following:
FDR: “Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love and in God’s care for us and all men everywhere.”
Churchill: “Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grownups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.”
These words of high purpose from 70 years ago are absent–and seem even quaint–in our ideologically riven society. “Grownups” on each side of our domestic political divide are studiously avoiding the “stern task and formidable years before us,” concentrating instead on narrow, short-term political advantage for themselves. Rather than resolving, by sacrifice and daring, to protect and defend our children’s inheritance of a nation as good as the one left to us, we seem to have pledged eternal hostility to all who fail to adhere unwaveringly to our rigid view of the world–even if the ensuring stalemate threatens the world we will leave our children.
God save us, everyone.