Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Continuing GOP Trivialization of Rape

On April 15, the NH GOP and the NH Tea Party (which are the same thing as far as I can tell) got together and had some anti-tax rallies around the state. These brave folks nobly protested having to pay taxes. Events took place at Market Square in Portsmouth, Victory Park in Manchester, the NH State House in Concord, and the town docks in Wolfeboro.

All of these locations have something in common - they're public! Paid for by the taxes the teabaggers were complaining about. Irony sticks her head in the oven, once again.

The Concord Monitor had a story about the various events. The CM quoted GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Kimball:

In Concord, gubernatorial candidate Jack Kimball drew cheers with an anti-tax message. He decried the state's taxation of business while criticizing its relatively low level of services.

"I don't mind paying my fair share, folks," he said. "I don't think any of us do. But I do mind when I'm raped. It's awful."

Rape is a serious, violent crime. For an aspiring politician to trivialize this crime to score cheap political points is offensive. I hope that Mr. Kimball never encounters a stranger who puts a gun to his head and rapes him. I hope that he's never beaten up and gang raped by a group of men. I'm certain that Mr. Kimball wouldn't be so damn cavalier about the crime of rape if he'd actually experienced it.

The CM got a lot of emails from readers about Mr. Kimball's statement - and so he felt compelled to go on the defense:

“I used the term ‘rape’ talking about taxation at the Tea Party in Concord. I think the Concord Monitor took the remark out of context and there has been a lot of negative reaction. People that know me know that I don’t say things to purposefully hurt people.
“I want to apologize to anyone that is offended. My remark was clearly not intended to offend people. People should watch the video and see what actually happened. I’m sorry to those that were offended, I will choose my words better next time.”

GIven that he admits to using the term rape to describe taxation, it's hard to imagine how the paper took his remarks out of context. This is the thing - we have free speech. When we engage in public speech - we may be held accountable for what we say. This is when we have to take personal responsibility (an anathema to the GOP) when we employ that free speech.

All Jack Kimball had to say was, "Hey, I made a poor choice of words, and I certainly didn't intend to trivialize a violent crime in order to score cheap political points" and I'd be congratulating him. Instead, he's blaming the Concord Monitor and offering up a forced and insincere apology.

The rape analogy is a common GOP rhetorical device.
Barack Obama and the Date Rape of America by David Kupelian. Grover Norquist referring to bipartisanship as date rape. Rush Limbaugh equating extramarital affairs to date rape.

Last year we had a number of GOP rape apologists who were in favor of the US doing business with military contractors that require employees to sign contracts saying that they can't sue the contractor in the event of being gang raped by their fellow employees. NH's own Judd Gregg was one of those men.

One in six women is raped during her lifetime. One in four women on college campuses. One in three women serving in the US military in Iraq is going to be raped by a fellow soldier. One in 33 men will be raped in his lifetime. This cheap hyperbolic device adopted by the right wing hate media and their acolytes is an insult to every single person who has ever survived the very serious CRIME of rape.


Matisse said...

Cannot agree more, Susan!

THE said...

Thank you, Great Artist.

Irregardless NH said...

“I want to apologize to anyone that is offended."

Jack Kimball - like so many of his GOP brethren - resorts to the tawdry rhetorical flourish of blaming his listeners (and the Concord Monitor) for his disgraceful comments. It must be the fault of those who hear (and report) his statements, rather than his own misogyny.

This is the lowest of the low....not that there's....

DissedBelief said...

So glad you wrote about this Susan. When I "attempt" to listen to the hysterical rantings and ravings of the GOP and the tea partiers, it is with confirmation that they never say anything of substance or deep insight. Hateful and violent verbage appears to be their only thought process. What is sadder, is that they have the audacity to call themselves patriots and descendants of founders who surely must be turning in their graves at this disgusting spectacle.

The Broerderbonders in white apartheid south africa performed in this same manner when finally, they realized that white might did not make right and Mandela had to be released and brought into the equation.

Their weak apologies do not veil their collective rage and hate. I don't know how this can be fixed. But Washington isn't working and the Grim Old Pathetic is one of the problems.