I grew up hearing the phrase ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ used to jokingly dismiss a theory that was only taken seriously in centuries past. We knew later that there were no angels, no tooth fairies, and that the earth was very much older than religious literature had claimed.
Then, we were well into the 21st Century, only for some Americans, the clock seems to have been running backwards. In 2012 (an election year) we still have school boards trying to prevent the teaching of evolution and politicians seeking to build public sculpture of the Ten Commandments wherever there’s an available courthouse, schoolhouse, or outhouse.
Back in the 2008 election, you’ll recall that there were two major issues: why didn’t Barack Obama wear a flag pin in his lapel, and why couldn’t we see his birth certificate? Both of those should have been jokes long ago.
But the Bible Belt is still with us. Bumper stickers against same-sex marriage are all over the South like Kudzu.
“God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!” I keep asking, “then who created Steve? Karl Rove?”
H.L. Mencken (who coined the phrase booboisee) and who had a low opinion of American democracy would have sat at his table at the Algonquin, laughing at this year’s spectacles. I was sort of laughing, too, until two stories brought me up short. The first was the latest mindless attack on women by the Teapotheads.
Personified by Rep. Todd Akin (MO). That’s right, Representative. This buffoon, who recently went public with his theories on rape (and therefore conception) is a member of the House and active in the House Science Committee.
Akin’s scientific discovery claims that if a rape victim really really did not like being raped, her “system” would clamp down somehow, blocking the sperm. Of course, Akin’s little Catch-22 is that if the woman did get pregnant, then she must have enjoyed it and therefore wasn’t a victim at all. She was just another blessed mother-to-be.
The other story that connected for me was the death of the Englishman Tony Nicklinson. Locked into a speechless, immobilized body for nearly six years, Nicklinson had petitioned Britain’s Highest Court permission to end his life. The man had been shown on television sobbing because the Court had said it lacked the authority to give him permission to take his life.
Well, of course, but why did they have the authority to say he couldn’t in the first place? Whose life is it, anyway?
Which brings us back to Rep. Akin, who says that my daughters can’t be allowed to have an abortion. Why not? Because God says so. Sorry, but I didn’t get His memo. In the meantime, Mr. Akin, keep your hands off our families, their bodies, and our liberties.