Dang! I missed Todd Akin's keynote address
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted September 3, 2012
Life for a Comcast customer can be so frustrating. I've just gone 10 rounds with my DVR and the cable guide's "search" malfunction. And I sit here in abject defeat.
My goal was to program it so I wouldn't miss Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's keynote speech at the Republican Convention. After all, this man has skyrocketed to the top of GOP intellectual circles with his reasoned discourse on the intersection between female reproductive organs and the criminal justice system.
Akin single handedly destroyed the Obama campaign's communication plan. Instead of continuing to trumpet Obama's successful record as an engine of jobs creation and economic titan, campaign flaks are now forced to focus on abortion, just like it was the 90's all over again.
So you can understand why I didn't want to miss the crowd's ovation as Akin discussed ovulation. But now Akin's moment in the sun has come and gone, and I missed it.
Instead I've been trying to decide where I went wrong in my initial judgment on Akin. Before the Washington Post, the New York Times and various broadcasting networks made him chairman of the GOP and Romney & Ryan's running mate, I had considered Akin an egregious violator of one of the cardinal rules for political candidates: male politicians should never discuss a woman's private parts.
Those organs are mysterious. A combustible mix of plumbing, hormones and resentment, somehow based on perceived male deficiencies in telecommunication and "understanding."
Which means the specifics of reproduction have no place in a male's campaign issue grid. Instead one merely acknowledges that babies are conceived through a process that will remain somewhat ill–defined [closely resembling the specifics of my father's discussion of "the birds and bees"] and then move on to a stirring defense of the unborn child's right to life.
When Akin said, "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare ... If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that down," the comment allowed Democrats to focus on the outrage done to the first victim, the woman, and ignore the outrage they want to perpetrate on the second victim, the unborn child.
This Akin shuffle works to the advantage of "choice" supporters because there is a fundamental hypocrisy at the heart of Democrat insistence on abortion in the case of "rape, incest and the health of the mother." (Republican fellow–travelers substitute the word "life" for "health" because even they agree "anxiety" on the part of the mother is not sufficient cause for abortion.)
That hypocrisy is found in the contrast between fervent Democrat opposition to the imposition of capital punishment on the rapist and the unyielding advocacy for the application of capital punishment on the unborn. What this does is visit the punishment for the crime of the father on the innocent child — a system of jurisprudence favored by Nazis and Communists, as has been noted elsewhere.
Pro–life supporters have trouble persuading the uncommitted public on this difficult issue because the rape victim is tangible and visible, while the child is at least initially invisible and potential. Fortunately a brilliant television commercial by the Susan B. Anthony List will, I hope, make our job easier.
The spot is titled, "How Will You Answer?" and it is found at: http://www.sba-list.org/ (on the home page click on "How Will You Answer?" on the upper right). The commercial showcases Melissa Ohden who is the survivor of a botched abortion. Her tiny body — or clump of tissue, if you are a Planned UnParenthood contributor — was casually discarded after an abortion. But Melissa was still alive and her faint cries touched the heart of one of the nurses who saved her life by literally removing her from the garbage can.
Ms. Ohden, as far as I know, was not the product of a rape, but she makes the point just the same. Life is life whether conceived in love, violence or indifference. These unborn babies deserve the same Constitutional protections granted to rapists. John F. Kennedy said life isn't fair and certainly carrying a child to term after a rape qualifies as manifestly unfair. However it's nine months of discomfort for the mother as opposed to the eternity of death for the child.
Watching Melissa Ohden tell her story puts everything in perspective, whether the topic is babies that survive a late–term abortion — her specific issue — or those executed after a rape. The ad is currently running in Missouri where one hopes Akin will graciously let Ms. Ohden assume future responsibility for the topic.
As for me, I'm learning all I can about how to program my DVR. I certainly wouldn't want to miss Akin's speech at the inauguration.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at email@example.com.