“Maybe Republicans should just keep their mouths shut whenever rape is being discussed” (Cont.)

To go into the "Gallery of Republicans Who Say Offensive Things About Rape  Making The Whole Party Look Stupid." The sad part is, the gallery is filling up...

To go into the “Gallery of Republicans Who Say Offensive Things About Rape Making The Whole Party Look Stupid.” The sad part is, the gallery is filling up…

I just wrote the quote in the title a couple hours ago, and now this.

Rep. Brian Kurcaba of the West Virginia House of Delegates was involved in the body’s debate over a proposed bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that does not allow an exception in cases of rape. He said:

“For somebody to take advantage of somebody else in such a horrible and terrifying and brutal way is absolutely disgusting. But what is beautiful is the child that could come as a production of this.”

I’m sorry to be uncivil and blunt, but he’s an idiot, the comment is signature significance of a near-clinical deficit of compassion and common sense, and any man this dull should not be allowed within 50 yards of a legislature.

Imagine saying to a recent rape victim, “But look on the bright side! You’ll get a baby out of it, complete with the DNA of the vicious felon who defiled you! Isn’t that beautiful?” Well, that’s what Rep. Brian Kurcaba did  say, and not to one rape victim, but to all of them.

He’s apologized, but you can’t apologize for being an insensitive, tunnel-visioned ass, just for saying things that let others know you are an insensitive, tunnel-visioned ass—and you shouldn’t really apologize for that, because people need to know.

Maybe Republicans should just keep their mouths shut whenever rape is being discussed.

But I already said that.

67 thoughts on ““Maybe Republicans should just keep their mouths shut whenever rape is being discussed” (Cont.)

  1. Well, saying that killing the child won’t undo the father’s wrong MIGHT be permissible, since it’s true, but there’s no winning here.

    • It does, however, truncate the consequences of the crime. If you are going to wade into that complex morass, you have an obligation to be prepared to deal with the complexities. (And by you, I mean him.)

    • Sounds a lot like the anti capital punishment argument that imposing the death penalty won’t undo the crime or bring back the dead.

          • Because the jury could be wrong, and history has shown time and time again that innocent people have been executed or have been put on death row in error.

            And I believe in punishment — killing relieves them of their punishment. Put them in prison FOREVER.

            • But do we not trust courts to resolve legal issues? why should courts be trusted to resolve, say the constitutionality of racial segregation in public schools, but not whether or not a person should be put to death?

  2. I don’t buy into signature significance. I don’t know a single person, who hasn’t said or done something that they regret and or didn’t mean. That being said there is no excuse for being an insensitive jerk. And some people who show a pattern of behavior that I think should disqualify them for office.

    • That means you don’t understand signature significance, Travis. Of course there are mistakes. Of course everyone does uncharacteristically bad things. Tell me: does John Edwards’ affair while his wife was dying and he was running for President, covering up a love child, strike you as something anyone could or would so or is it signature significance? How about Wanetta Gibson, lying about being raped. Just one mistake that anyone would make? Come on.

      You can debate which kinds of conduct are signature, but you can’t possibly say there isn’t conduct that a single instance is enough to tell you all you need to know about someone.

      Do you really think anyone who has given real thought to what it means to be raped would ever say what this guy did? In public? Even once? I don’t. SS.

      • By analogy –

        When juding a Sea Captain’s worthiness at sea, and the same Sea Captain gets drunk in his own home and yells an obscenity in conversation with his wife, is not Signature Significance. The same Sea Captain getting drunk at the helm of his ship as a storm approaches and the boat must navigate the shallows IS Signature Significance.

          • Here is what I do not understand.

            Rape victims vote.

            Unborn babies conceived through rape do not vote they can not vote, for they are not even Americans.

            Mr. Kurcaba is a politician, and a politicians first, last, and only duty is to the voters. those who forget this duty or compromise this duty is not fit for office.

            There is only one right choice for politicians when choosing between rape victims and any unborn babies conceived therein.

            How could any politician favor the interest of aliens (since unborn babies are not Americans, they are by law aliens) over Americans?

            • Well, it’s principle. But you have to be able to articulate the principle so it doesn’t sound like you reached it by not giving a damn about competing interests. People with principle vote!

            • This is probably the least logical assertions I’ve heard you say or allude to (and you mostly only allude to things).

              Politician’s first, last, and only duty is NOT only to the voters. It is to the entire population of the district they represent, regardless of whether or not members of that district can’t vote or don’t vote. Those who don’t vote don’t get to complain about represents them, but those people still represent them. As for those who can’t vote, that’s an asinine assertion.

              In days gone by entire swathes of people couldn’t vote, now it is only those under age 18. The elected representatives STILL represent them as well.

              If your description of the system were accurate, we wouldn’t apportion representatives by the population (as we do), we’d apportion representatives according to the voting-eligible population (which we don’t).

    • I reject the notion that people say things that they do not mean. Sure they may regret it, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t mean it.

      • I think when people speak out of emotion they say all sorts of things they don’t mean.

        I think when people speak without thorough knowledge of a word’s meaning, they say all sorts of things they don’t mean.

        • I think when people speak from emotion that is when they are most honest. I have only ever once called a person I was in some sort of relationship with a bad name in an argument. And I meant it.

              • Erm… when someone doesn’t know the meaning of what they are talking about then they inevitably communicate something they don’t mean.

                It is almost tautological, but still true that someone can say something they don’t mean.

                As a hyperbolic example to highlight how the error occurs – If Johnny things the big yellow vehicles that carry kids to school are called “Cats” and he said “Dude, that Cat just ran into a house!”

                “Oh how adorable!”

                “Uh, how is all those kids dying adorable?”

                “You said cat, not bus, you moron…”

                “Oh, I didn’t mean that!”

                • Mistakes of fact doesn’t change the opinion though, and that is what I was talking about.

                  He may have called something by the wrong name but the intent was still to say that the big yellow thing went into the house.

      • That’s crazy. For instance, I might say to my husband, “I’m going to kill you if you’ve forgotten _____.” It obviously is just emotion talking.

        • Apocryphal mix of two apocryphal stories:

          Lady: “You sir are Drunk!”

          Winston Churchill: “And you, madam, are ugly…but at least tomorrow I shall be sober again!”

          Lady: “If you were my husband, I would poison you!”

          Winston Churchill” “And, madam, if you were my wife, I would take it!”

          • Then there are the Niggardly Principle things people say, too. That’s when someone says something, and a hearer thinks the speaker means something the speaker does not mean. It doesn’t matter if the speaker didn’t mean what the hearer thought he heard. It’s “bad,” what the speaker said, as if the speaker meant what the hearer thought was meant.

            So yes, absolutely, I agree that people say things they don’t mean, in all kinds of circumstances. I think it is being a decent human to allow other humans the possibility that they did not mean something they said – until there is more evidence to prove that they meant it – like when lying.

            • Or when you are politician sitting before the nation and your constituency and it is assumed you have some ability to think on your toes and clearly express yourself without excuse…

              • I agree, in this case there is ample evidence to judge the “what is beautiful” nonsense Kurcaba blabbered as so ridiculously unrepresentative of both reality AND the views of persons who oppose abortion in cases of rape, that he would do his pet causes better to be quiet and thought a fool rather than open his mouth and remove all doubt.

            • Lucky, the fact is that you should be congratulated. You wrote that first paragraph, as convoluted as it is, in such a manner that I actually understood it first time I read it.

      • So I was wrong to laugh. Perhaps politicians SHOULD be required to attend seminars, pass/fail, having to succeed first in How to Think, then How to Think Before You Speak … with extra credit for How to Think on Your Feet in Front of a Microphone or When Anyone Who Doesn’t Love You or Owe You A Lot of Money May be Listening. (only the first two would be ethical, though)

          • No, no, it should be in a random application so they never know when it’s in effect. “Why no, Aunt Gertrude I think the skirt doesn’t look like a circus tent, it has the sheen of a dirigible.” “But think of the poor cable guy!”

  3. Obviously a moronic thing to say, but is it possible that he meant something else, but got the wording all mangled? I don’t say this out of bias (republicans are so good at slow-pitching stuff like this in), but because I just can’t picture any sane person, who isn’t a card-carrying member of a religious cult, saying this and meaning it.

    • Clearly, he does not have any teenage daughters.

      What he is effectively telling fathers of teenage daughters, with his support of the bill, is “if your little girl gets herself raped and becomes pregnant, we will force her to have the baby.”

      • Given that the law in question only prevents abortion after rough 3 months that’s not really an accurate description.

        I say this as someone who thinks that abortion laws should have a fixed time frame with exceptions only for health of the mother and viability of the fetus. Incest and rape are irrelevant to the question of when an unborn child becomes sufficiently advanced to be considered a person with their own right to not be killed which trumps the right of the mother to not be inconvenienced. A lack of sufficient self awareness on the part of the prospective mother is also irrelevant.

        • In this era of campaigns for equality, I keep hoping for technology to advance to enable the realization of compassion and justice to my satisfaction – as some forms of contraception at least appear to have taken us some baby steps down that road, so I hope for “contrabortion.”

  4. Olivia Benson, Mariska Hargitay’s character on “Law & Order S.V.U,” is the arguably beautiful and admirable product of her mother’s having been raped. Which causes all kinds of chaos for Benson and her mother. But things would have been much, much worse for Benson had her mother aborted her. Good TV writers are probably better than legislators at dealing with the complexities of these sorts of things, but we do need legislators to make some laws (when ethics fail us). This is a tough issue. Where does empathy end and decency begin? (And not all state legislators can be as eloquent on all things as, oh say, our former state legislator turned president is when, for example, he’s lecturing us on The Crusades and horses.)

    • Unfortunately, his apparently inexhaustible supply of mistakes and/or conviction that he is right failed him this time. Everything he said about the Crusades was wrong.

    • Good TV writers are probably better than legislators at dealing with the complexities of these sorts of things, but we do need legislators to make some laws (when ethics fail us).

      We need legislators to stay out of this.

      Could they look a man in the eye and, with a straight face, tell him that if his little girl gets herself raped and becomes pregnant, the law should force her to have the baby?

      • Having had a daughter who got herself pregnant as a teenager and then had an abortion, I question that decision, or my failure to intervene fairly regularly, and my daughter is now forty one and the mother of two of our grand children. Why didn’t we have her have the baby and raise it ourselves or put it up for adoption with a good family looking for a child to raise as their own? Were we that busy?

        • She would not have had the same life and maybe not even had these other grandchildren. “What ifs” can never be answered in these situations.

          • Your own objection undermines your first sentence.

            You can’t compare “potential humans that were never conceived” (as his grandchildren would have been when she was a teenage) with “actual humans there were killed” (as the aborted one was).

            This is the flaw of elevating material comfort and material outcome over life.

          • Beth beat me to the answer. In truth, “what-ifs” can never be answered — the butterfly effect proceeds exponentially from every possibility. … Unless you’re scriptwriting, say, Back to the Future Again.

          • Maybe it would have been a better life for all of us? I can’t say. There were tons of probably selfish considerations involved. Making enough money to raise our two kids was hard enough. Not wanting another mouth to feed (and send to private school and college) wasn’t anything my wife and I were looking for. My point is simply these issues are incredibly complicated.

            • I agree. My niece (who is like a daughter) WAS the result of a teenage pregnancy. To say that it was hard on the family would be the understatement of the year. We love and cherish her — and she is now a young adult, but our family was forever changed.

              • Yes, who knows what chaos might have ensued in my family. Had I taken on the challenge, I’m sure we could have navigated our way through the shoals. But I didn’t. I salute you and yours for what you’ve all done and continue to do. I”m sure your niece’s daughter, for one, appreciates it.

  5. Poorly expressed, but the basic point remains: If an abortion does not involve killing a baby, but just someone else’s control over their reproductive function then shut the hell up, it is none of your business. If an abortion does involve killing a baby then it sure as hell is my business and I not only have the right but the absolute duty to weigh in and attempt to stop it happening.

    If this is a baby, who the father is, or what the circumstances of the conception were are absloutely irrelevant to the morality of killing it.

    • All true, but irrelevant. Having a baby by a rapist, or having to decide what to do about the prospect, is, at the outset, a tragedy, a catastrophe, and a life altering ordeal that some man blandly calling “beautiful” is unbelievably cruel, ignorant, insensitive and dumb. Maybe Mrs. Lincoln really saw a great play, but mentioning it is despicable.

  6. “Do you really think anyone who has given real thought to what it means to be raped would ever say what this guy did? In public? Even once? I don’t. SS.”

    The issue of when life begins is admittedly a very complicated issue. Any statement of the fact that destroying a human life is inherently unethical is going to generate criticism. Narrowing in on the hot topic of abortion, any statement is dynamite.

    Once one believes that life begins at conception, it is unethical to make no statement to defend this view. Indeed it is the epitome of cowardliness to believe millions of children are being legally slaughtered, and to do nothing. There are numerous compassionate and articulate ways to express this sentiment, the predictable criticism notwithstanding.

    The question here is whether it becomes ethical to paraphrase these articulate existing arguments in one own words. The facile answer is “Yes, Of Course!” However, each individual is responsible for his own views, and must himself develop an ethical paraphrase. Rep Kurcaba fails in this regard.

    His failure, in particular, rests on his use of the “beautiful” to describe the conception of the child. Beauty is an innate virtue; something to be emulated (tempered by modesty, lest lest the emulation of virtue, become the corruption of vanity).

    With a Pro-life mindset, to say that a child can be conceived during is a plain as day fact. To call this potential conception “beautiful” is a moral judgement; that conception is worthy of emulation; that rape must thus be “admiral”. This is a profoundly unethical moral judgement; one that cannot be qualified by prefacing that rape is “disgusting”.

    At best, the conception of a child from rape is a morally neutral consequence of the profoundly immoral violation of the women’s person. Yes, the child’s life must be protected, but the women’s dignity must not be further violated by calling the conception “beautiful”. The Pro-Life mindset must not be divorced from ordinary human duty for compassion; indeed, the Pro-Life goal is to preserve the protection of human dignity at all stages as ordinary.

    • Thus, it is not unethical to speak out against a gross injustice; it is, however, unethical to promote a second injustice in the process.

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