A Legitimate Choice
Until last weekend, whenever I heard the word 'legititmate' I thought of Kenneth Branagh doing Edmund's soliloquy in a Renaissance Theater Company recording of “King Lear”, which I listened to while schlepping in the University Book Store warehouse in the mid-1990s:
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word: legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
Now, thanks to Todd Akin, U.S. Rep from Missouri, current Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and professional douchebag, my association is somewhat more ... base:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
You see where it comes from. If you're pro-life, the tough question is “What about in instances of rape and incest? Do you demand that the woman, or girl, carry the fetus to term?” This is the wish-fulfillment answer. Oh, women don't get pregnant when they're REALLY raped. That's science. It's what I understand from doctors.
Or misunderstand from doctors.
I like that word: legitimate. I'd like to talk to the GOP about that word. Because in my lifetime, in U.S. elections, they've rarely given me a legitimate choice.
I shouldn't be that hard to win over. I have conservative elements in me. The mewing and whining of the left often bothers me. The political correctness of the left often bothers me. But in almost every election, increasingly so as I age, it's not even a contest. The choice is between the conservative, which is the Democrat, and the reactionary, who is the Republican. It's between those who want to hold the line and those who want to dismantle what we have, those who want to repair the social safety net and those who want to hack it to pieces, those who think government has a role and those who think it has virtually none.
In my lifetime, the GOP appeals to fear and retribution, paranoia and selfishness. Its candidates are chest-thumpingly stupid, and proudly so. They invoke God against the Constitution and the founding fathers as if they were gods. They are expert propagandists who spread their bullshit uniformly across the country. They accuse others of wanting to take what we have, then take what we have. Anyone who doesn't agree with their platform is a Socialist or a Communist or a Fascist—or all three. They are adept at the Big Lie. They accuse the opposition of being what they themselves are—again and again and again. They demonize the powerless and hold up the powerful as victims. They are always on the wrong side of history when it comes to the rights of others, and then, when it's convenient, they rewrite that history. They like to rewrite history. In this way, they are absolutists in rhetoric but relativists in strategy, relying on the relativity of truth to obfuscate that which doesn't favor them, which is most things. They undermine democracy by not giving me a legitimate choice.
I'd like one, one day.