Wednesday, August 22, 2012

REP. AKIN AND MENTAL HEALTH


By now everyone’s heard about Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comment that women only rarely get pregnant from “legitimate” rape. Aside from his view being erroneous and brutish, it’s an example of increasingly endemic poor mental health.

Unless some alien force had captured his tongue and ventriloquized him, what he said was what he believed. His claim that he “misspoke” amounts to flatly dishonest groveling; misspeaking occurs on the level of single-word choices and typos, and this was a complete idea. Believing that “legitimately” raped women rarely get pregnant, he probably harbors a slew of other off-the-wall opinions he takes to be fact.

It seems more Americans are doing similarly, believing that climate change is a tree-hugger hoax, the 9/11 attack came from Iraq, the world was created in one week six thousand years ago, and Obama’s a Kenya-born Muslim. Never mind evidence, science, and logic—we’ll believe anything we damn please.

Obviously, this is no way to run a democracy. But it’ll get even worse unless we push for regular reality testing. It’s not enough to demand that Mr. Akin withdraw from the Senate race. We need to let him and the millions of others who operate from hermetic wishful thinking know they’re not only flat-out wrong, but actually circling the sanity drain.

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