Is that harsh? Republicans have been spending the last few days explaining to us how and when ladies, with their lady parts, can get pregnant during rape. Rep. Todd Akin famously explained that during “legitimate rape,” women don’t get pregnant. Now Steve King, the horrifically stupid congressman from Iowa, would like to explain how he’s never heard of anyone getting pregnant via statutory rape or incest. Theoretically his experience with the subject involves at least 80% humans and very few goats, but we really don’t know:
Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. King also signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.
King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”
We’ve reached a moment, I think, where I have to let the cat out of the bag. What I really want to say about Steve King, and Todd Akin, and so many of the people I have spent the last several years covering, well, I really can’t say in this forum. I’ve spent several years writing about these people on this blog, and I feel like, during that time, I’ve contributed to a good number of successful “wins” against those people. I’ve been here as we crossed the “tipping point” of popular support for marriage equality, but I’ve also been here to cover an onslaught of kids taking their own lives because people influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Linda Harveys of the world have bullied them to death. Those, indeed, were the darkest days of my professional life. I have very, very rarely internalized the issues of this gay rights fight. Yes, I am affected by it, but I was not one to really hem and haw and stew about it on a personal level. And then the kids started killing themselves, or at least it started getting media attention, and there was this one week in 2010 where I just broke down with a few of my friends at a bar because I had written about FIVE FUCKING KIDS that week, who were all dead because they had internalized messages of hate that came from their families, friends and communities.
I suppose that I started to look back at my own upbringing during that time and saw some scary parallels. I was fortunate enough to be raised by two of the most loving parents anyone could ask for, but they too had a lot of struggles with the idea of having a gay child, and they weren’t helped by the community of obese, honey-boo-boo-style bigots who surrounded them during the time I was coming out. I, of course, am referring to the church where our family went during those years. It was a group of people who think they’re entitled to all the respect in the world due to their bank accounts (most of which were accrued by their ancestors), their heritage (white, white, white! the church was founded by people who were upset that their former Presbyterian church had gotten too black), and their hilarious belief that they are the “intellectual” side of the Christian spectrum. Congratulations, folks: you read Calvin’s writings and you found a happy home for your sense of entitlement, your racism and your homophobia. Of course, the rest of the city is embarrassed by you, but, well, you’re in your own little world.
I’ll be here for a few more days, when I’m able, but I’m leaving Truth Wins Out at the end of the month. I’ve taken a position with the Democratic Party, because I believe that right now, more than ever, it’s time to invest my energy in what I really believe in, and that doesn’t involve any hemming or hawing about where my political endorsements lie. It’s also time for me to commit fully to my true passion in life, which is music. You may not know this, but I’m a singer/songwriter/pianist, and I’ve finally written my first record. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s taken a lot of twists and turns to get here, but the record is called Lost In The Fire and it’ll be out next year. Of course, my major in college was piano performance, and I’ve been reconnecting with that side of my musical life as well, so who really knows where you’ll see me next in that arena.
My voice isn’t leaving the progressive blogotubes or journalism world. Don’t worry. For the moment, you’ll be able to find me several times a week at Wonkette and at Whiskey Fire, and probably two or three other high-profile places (but sporadically).
There are some readers out there who, I guess, think of me as the one who really goes after these Religious Right bigots and holds nothing back. There are likely some who think I’m simply too mean.
To both groups, I would say: ha, you ain’t seen nothin’. When I decide to deal with their obnoxious asses in the future, I will hold even less back than I ever have, and, well, the greatest secret anybody knows about me is that I’m actually the nicest person you’ll ever meet — but I reserve that for people I care about. Otherwise, yeah, I definitely have the capacity for “mean.” People who deserve my kindness get it sevenfold, and people who deserve a different attitude…well, then. You get the idea.
I have loved the past several years working with Wayne, and in that time I’ve learned so much, but none of those lessons have encouraged me to be nicer to anyone we oppose. If anything, I’ve realized that there is a very basic futility to attempting to reach those who are committed to denying LGBT people their lives and livelihoods on any sort of human level. They don’t work on a human level. We saw that after the Family Research Council shooting. It took all of five hours for Tony Perkins and all of his compatriots to start using Tony’s “friend’s wounding as a pivot point for raising money.
I will always defend a person’s right to speak freely about his/her beliefs (as I did during Chicken War 2012), but I will also always remind people that the flip side of that right is that the rest of us have a right to criticize, to protest, to berate and to gleefully mock those who cling bitterly to their bigotry, as if it’s a gun-slash-penis substitute they keep under their old mattresses.
I will, however, quickly, take this moment to bid adieu to one anti-gay bigot whom I’ve covered over these years:
Linda Harvey, you are just an awful human being. You lie without remorse, you abuse without restraint. I bid adieu, of course, with a caveat, as I’ll be at Wonkette, which reaches a really huge audience, so even though I’ll be unsubscribing to all your bitter missives, if you happen to accidentally cross my Google Reader, I might be tempted to embarrass you for simple funsies.
(Aw, Porno Pete, you thought that would be about you. Silly man. You’re still small potatoes.)
To the rest of you: thank you for reading. I have come to care about those of you who are regular commenters, and have sincerely appreciated the support and love you’ve shown me over the past few years. I hope you’ll come with me to Wonkette, Whiskey Fire and wherever else I show up, and I hope you’ll also stick around with Wayne and John and the important work they’re doing here. They need your support, as they continue this work that they’re so passionate about.
I’ll probably pop in from time to time with a random post, as the mood strikes me, and I’m sure I’ll run into you all in the comments section from time to time. Until then, I’ll just leave you with a few lines from the poem MacKenzie quoted on The Newsroom the other night:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
Godspeed, and all my love, y’all. See ya soon.