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October 25, 2012


USA TODAY has rated Indiana University as the number one basketball team in the country for the upcoming season. Though my alma mater and I, like most Hoosiers, am a basketball aficionado, I have doubts of such a ranking. Unfortunately, that is not what the state of Indiana has become known for in the last day or so. It has become the laughing stock of the nation, and it has nothing to do with basketball or its recent adoption of a so-called “right to work” law (a travesty in itself).

It has to do with Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, and his statement regarding God’s will and pregnancy by rape. I am no youngster, and that is the most ignorant statement I have ever heard come from a politician’s mouth.

Such a statement in isolated context (if one can isolate it from reality) is bad enough, but what is worse is what it portends in his lack of judgment as a member of the United States Senate if elected. Do we want a senator with a guaranteed 6-year job and with such a mindset to sit in on delicate negotiations having to do with atomic weapons? Trade negotiations with China? Backdoor negotiations with terrorists and Iran? Critical tax and budgetary decisions? Is his mind so narrowed by ideology and inanity that he cannot function as a representative of people as one of only one hundred in the United States Senate? It would appear so, and that’s just part of the problem.

One senator can hold up all sorts of executive appointments, including those to the courts and important federal agencies. One senator can file notice of filibuster and stall not only bills, but even stall their being called up for debate. One senator can do untold damage to the governing process itself, not to mention his/her final vote on the merits (if such bills can ever come up for a vote). Everyone in the country and especially those in Indiana of whatever political stripe should take another look at this candidate. He does not appear to be someone we should invest with such super power as he would have if elected to the United States Senate. He appears to be cut from the same cloth as a senate wannabe from Missouri, Akin, who is also bereft of judgment and ideological to the core.

There’s more to consider: What is the message of Akin, and now Mourdock, to women? It is this – that the politicians will define rape to suit their ideology and will now invoke Diety in the process. Women (who happen to possess the bodies being defined) are to have no say in such definitions. As we have said in history in another context, “Theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to do or die.” I have a question to the Akins and the Mourdocks of this world – who appointed you to make the definitions and enforce the rules relating to someone else’s bodies? God (as Mourdock would have us believe)? Or the “natural” processes of a woman’s body and how they react to rape (Akin)?

Who are these people? How can they possibly have arrived at a point where they may be elected to the United States Senate, given such mindsets? Where have they been the last hundred years? What about the collective will of the Republican party in nominating such yesteryear ideologues to high office? Where has the party been since its origin out of the ashes of the old Whig party?

Eisenhower and Ford and Nixon and even Mourdock’s Republican predecessor now serving in the Senate would not have put up with such claptrap. Why are we getting only a mild rebuke of Mourdock’s views from Romney? Does that mean that Romney secretly agrees with Mourdock on God’s intervention in human history to oversee pregnancy arising out of rape – on Akin’s “natural processes” of the female body to resist pregnancy when raped?

Romney, of course, wants it both ways. He cannot help but know that these two candidates for the Senate are ideological fruitcakes, but he is nevertheless forced as a political matter to register only a mild rebuke because their failure at the polls could leave the Senate in Democratic hands, which in his view would be a political fate worse than death. He is also well aware that 53% of the voting electorate is women, a reality he ignores at his peril.

If the people of this great nation (and especially Indiana and Missouri women) let Romney and his twin fruitcakes get off the hook with this latest triumph of women-hating ignorance, then they will have asked for a future mired in the past, a reversal of the many gains they have made in a more enlightened age. This is not just a matter of who wins the political battle soon to be decided; it has to do with the basic structure of America far beyond tax and budget fights etc. It is a battle for progress; a resistance to ignorance; a fight for the soul of America.

I happen to have a number of followers in Indiana, and for the above and many other good reasons I urge them to do everything possible to defeat the candidacy of Mourdock in the forthcoming election. We need clear thinkers in the Senate, whatever their party. He does not qualify.  GERALD  E

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