I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat, either. I’ve never been affiliated with either party. I’ve been reminded recently why I chose not to really associate myself with any large group. The law of averages is going to pretty much guarantee that while I might agree with what the core of a group says, does, or represents there will always been some fringe element that I vehemently disagree with. I choose for there to be no such associations.
It is the nature of politics that any group will be identified by its most extreme constituents. Whether that is fair or not is not the point–it is a reality that must be dealt with if one wishes to navigate the modern political landscape. Today is no exception.
The remarks about rape by Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for Senate from Missouri, have been well covered. The ramifications of those comments should be obvious. Akin needs to drop out of the race. I, like many others, had never heard of Akin before his comments. Now they are the only thing I have by which to judge him. Even with his apology, my impression of him is that he is an idiot to have said what he said and I question his ability to think rationally on other issues. He’s done, politically. To judge a person’s entire career and future on a quick sound bite may not seem fair–though in this case, I think it is–but again that is the nature of politics.
Akin staying in the race gives too much ammunition to his opponents and too many opportunities for the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) to smear all Republicans using his words. It has already begun. He needs to step aside. So far his posturing suggets that he will stay in the race, but I both hope and predict that this is indeed just posturing and he will withdraw before the 5 PM deadline. Of course whether he will or not makes good political theater and junkies from both sides will no doubt be watching with glee. But the prudent decision is clear.
My naive hope is that the actions of one person wouldn’t be used to paint a negative image of an entire group. This isn’t a red vs. blue issue, this is an issue of fairness. Democrats will take much pleasure in leveraging Akin’s comments against all Republicans. But they shouldn’t. No more than should Republicans use the news that Democrat Kerry Gauthier, Minnesota State Representative, was caught having oral sex with an 17-year-0ld boy against all Democrats.
Like I said, with any large group, the fringe will always exists doing and saying reprehensible things. With political groups, these should just be mere distractions from the real issues of the day. But substance has long since been chased from the day to day events of any political race. So today we watch yet another outlier take center stage. Here’s hoping the hook comes promptly at 5 PM.