Republican senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock has done voters a big favor. His bizarre statement that “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” followed by Mitt Romney’s continuing endorsement of Mourdock, gives voters clear insight into Romney’s character.
In a reply to Bloomberg News, the Romney campaign’s response was that “Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views.” Asked whether Romney will withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock or insist that an ad that features a joint appearance of the two candidates be taken off the air, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said Romney’s campaign “still supports him.”
Why would Mitt Romney continue to support Mourdock? Because he doesn’t want to alienate his far-right base, which engineered Mourdock’s nomination. More important, Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, expresses the same views as Mourdock. Ryan recently stated that rape is just another means of conception.
Romney is a man with no core beliefs, which allows him to come down firmly on both sides of the rape question. He is able to both endorse Mourdock and disagree with him at the same time. Even an Etch-a-Sketch can’t draw two pictures at once.
Let’s step back a moment to look at what rape really is. In the minds of people like Mourdock and Ryan, rape is a just another sexual act between two people. In reality, rape is a crime of violence perpetrated by one individual against another.
In my seventeen years running a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, I met many victims of rape and incest. A few of them had been raped by strangers, many were raped by people they knew and had trusted, and some were raped by a violent relative. The youngest was twelve years old, had been repeatedly raped by her father and was carrying his child. Unlike Richard Mourdock, I don’t profess to speak for God, but I have a difficult time believing that violence against women and children is part of some divine plan.
Richard Mourdock is a symptom of what is wrong with far-right Republicans, and I am hopeful that he will be soundly rejected by the voters of Indiana. Mitt Romney actions are symptomatic of a more serious problem. He stands for nothing except an obsessive need to be elected President. He will embrace any position, or even conflicting opinions, if doing so will propel him toward his goal. He believes nothing, will profess to believe anything, will change his position on any issue, if that will get him to the White House. As a American, as a woman, as a mother and grandmother, I am frightened at the thought of a man like Mitt Romney being elected President of this country.