Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Paul Ryan Scares Me: A Brief Lesson in Civics


Well, I’ve avoided politics in my blogs for as long as humanly possible. I have this burning hatred of the political game, politicians who play it, and the whole rigged system in general. And I’d rather write a social blog.

But, to my intense annoyance, there is currently a political clusterschtup taking the nation by firestorm. And I would be ashamed to call myself an opinionated bastard if I didn’t weigh in at least briefly. 

The situation to date: Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) got mouthy on a radio show a few days back, and made the following statement:   

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Cue firestorm. Which is great, Akin should absolutely be roasted by every pundit and sane human being for this. As has also been extensively covered, Akin has sponsored, authored, or lobbied for a number of bills that attempt to limit, deny or criminalize birth control and abortion options in most cases. 

One of those bills, HR 3, contained the language “forcible rape” in an attempt to create legal distinctions between “types” of rape, for the purpose of denying abortion to women whose rape wasn’t “forcible.”

No, I have no idea what world this man is living in. But let’s get to the end of this real fast.  Co-authoring and sponsoring that bill specifically, and a few others, was a man named Paul Ryan. Who is currently running for Vice-President. Hence, an even larger firestorm heading down the pipe.

To the heart of the problem. Civics 101, Lite: the President is the head of the US Executive branch. His (or her) job is to implement and enforce the laws Congress creates, to be in charge of the military, and to be the frontman (or woman) for Congress. Because trying to have a foreign dignitary meet with the entire Congress or sign a treaty with Congress, while hilarious, would be a monkey pile waiting to happen.

Now, go back and look at the “implement and enforce” bit. Congress makes laws. Not the president. Congress. They’re the ones in charge of pretty much everything to do with policies and laws. So Congress, not the president, gets to decide what is and is not legal on a Federal scale. (With help and wrist slapping provided by the Supreme Court. And the President can say no under most circumstances. And needs to sign things—look, I’m keeping this simple, ok?) 

Half the VP’s job is to be the person in charge of the Senate. No, seriously. The job is usually done by the longest serving US Senator, but it’s constitutionally one of the VP’s jobs. Long explanation short, the Senate is the upper house, the one things go through right before the President gets them. The veep doesn’t debate, doesn’t really do much of anything in the Senate. 

But he has the deciding vote in any tie. Take a second to think that through. In any debate that is so charged and controversial as to result in a tie, Paul Ryan would have the power to decide which way the vote goes.

And it gets better! The other half of a VP’s job is to step in for the Pres if he or she can’t fulfill his or her duties. So, should Romney-Ryan get elected, if something happens to Romney we’ll have Akin’s ideological twin sitting in the White House.

I’ll hit my thesis here, then. I’ve not had enough of a look at Romney to make a call there. And while I could point to a few things Obama has done that annoy me (alright, more than a few) we’re not sinking horribly, he’s kept more than a few of his campaign promises to the best of his ability and...well, he hasn’t sucked horribly.

Barring new information, I was essentially undecided until Romney picked a running mate. And this is the point, which I cannot emphasize strongly enough:

Ryan has a record of voting as a right wing extremist. Ryan has authored bills and documents indicating an ideology consistent with the stereotype of right wing extremism. While it is possible that he’s simply catering to some strange voter base, the evidence indicates that this man is absolutely divorced from anything resembling modern reality for women’s rights.

So this Fall I will not be voting for anyone. I will not be basing my decision (as I would have hoped) on a rational look at voting records, issues, statements and contradictions. I will be voting to keep a crackpot from getting within arm’s reach of the big chair, and away from power of decision in the Senate.

Yay for ‘effing America. 

1 comment:

  1. Ross Perot and Roboraptor 2012!

    ReplyDelete