A world of political drones
The Kansas City Star
Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri has created a political firestorm for stating his marginal views on rape and pregnancy. Mainstream America from the right and the left has united in condemning him. His opponent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was quoted in The Star saying, “This is a little window into his mind.”
Unfortunately, this may be a window into our political process. Akin is no political rookie. He has been in Washington for the last 12 years voting on issues that affect all of us. We need our leaders to know the difference between political propaganda and real science. If he is reading, believing, and publicly quoting marginal ideas that are being fed to him by special interest groups, the guy is dangerous. We need leaders who can think for themselves or at least know the difference between marginal and mainstream ideas.
Akin is trying to unseat an incumbent in a critical swing state. This means he needs moderates and independents to switch to him. A smart politician would hold fast to his or her beliefs, and tone down the party rhetoric moving into the general election. This guy is so clueless he is quoting misinformation coming from the extremes of his own position. How has someone of this caliber contributed constructively to the very complex issues of national security, health care, job creation, immigration, or anything else?
But here is the really crazy part: Our political process is about buying lackeys, not electing leaders.
Akin’s party has been funneling millions of dollars into his campaign coffers over the last decade. No one noticed during this time that he was very marginal, not only in his views, but in his judgment?
Apparently no one cares. Akin is just a tool to get to a majority vote. And now that he has become a liability, he is being laid aside for another tool that will work better.
My greatest fear for our country is the art of governance is giving way to the “Art of the Deal.” There is no substantive debate on the issues of our day. Instead, vacuous political drones are purchased by special interest groups to regurgitate the party line. When the drones go rogue, they are cast aside for another.
America, we need to pray. We need to think. We need to vote. Elections matter.
Rev. Dr. Mark R. Holland is a United Methodist Pastor and serves as Commissioner of the 1st District At-Large in the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.