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The right’s war on facts

Guest Columnist

Published: Monday, October 15, 2012

Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 13:10

I think we’ve all noticed that as the election has heated up, many politicians’ definition of the truth gets a little sloppy. Facts, it seems, become whatever they and their constituents just want to be true. Neither party is entirely blameless here, but one party this year deserves an award for outstanding achievement in lying.

And let’s be clear – there is no room here for false equivocation – the two parties are not the same in this regard.

I can’t speak for history, for what was once the case, but this year the stakes are higher and the lies are bolder. And the trouble is that people are eating it up. So let’s go over some of the year’s most egregious offenses.

There’s a joke about social conservatives and small government: “Republicans want government to be just small enough to fit in your vagina.” If you take offense to that joke, look no further than HF2033, legislation proposed by Iowa representative Walt Rogers.

After narrowly losing his race in 2008 against local incumbent Jeff Danielson, in 2010 Rep. Rogers ran in Iowa’s 20th district and won. In 2012 he submitted legislation that gives women the “option” to view and hear a description of an ultrasound of their fetus before choosing to have an abortion.  
The only problem? The law doesn’t give women the option not to have the ultrasound probe inserted into their vaginas. Many would consider forced insertion like that rape, but that’s just an inconvenient fact, disregarded by social conservatives perhaps because they feel the government can’t commit legitimate rape.

Or take for example a proposal this year from Republican 42nd District Rep. Kim Pearson, HF2298:
“Any person who intentionally terminates a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, where death of the fetus results, commits feticide. Feticide is a class ‘A’ felony.”

Rep. Pearson would like abortion to be punishable by up to life in prison. Of course Roe v. Wade makes laws like this unconstitutional, but that’s an inconvenient fact that is lost on social conservatives.

These bills aren’t alone: in the past three years, the Iowa legislature has seen more than a dozen bills proposing unconstitutional limits on abortion or variations of Walt Rogers’ bill. Four were proposed just this year, and the legislative session isn’t even over yet.

Simply put, if you’re a woman, you should vote Democrat. If you care about women’s issues, you should vote Democrat.

And those are just two bills proposed in the Iowa legislature in the past year – bills that were blocked by Democrats. And yet conservatives’ backward views and selective recall of facts isn’t limited to the Iowa legislature or even to women’s rights. This has been a particularly bad year for the truth in our nation’s legislative history.

U.S. Representative Todd Akin in our neighboring state of Missouri believes women lie about being “legitimately raped” and that many women are getting abortions despite not being pregnant. Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s 5th congressional district defended Todd Akin amidst this scandal, and further believes we should not criminalize dog fighting because it’s akin to boxing. He said to do so would “elevate animals above humans.”

Rep. Jon Hubbard of the Arkansas state legislature has described slavery in America as a “blessing in disguise.” U.S. Representative Paul Broun recently said on video that the earth is 9,000 years old and that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the Pit of Hell.”

Whatever you feel about the state of the Presidential race, if you believe in facts, reject the current roster of Republicans down the ticket. And if you’re a conservative and you’ve read this far, you know that you have to reject this year’s Republican candidates – your party has abandoned reality, and they have  abandoned you.

Aaron Friel
Sophomore, mathematics and computer science

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