Outright lying and implying that a candidate would not want to help a rape victim…too far.
By Timothy Dalrymple, October 22, 2010 12:12 am
A recent transplant from Boston to Atlanta, I have not lived in Georgia long enough to feel invested in the local politics. I should care more than I do, since the local elections will influence the life I lead, but I tend to focus on national political issues. Several recent ads, however, have truly disgusted me. They raise again this issue: What are the ethical principles that govern political rhetoric? When is it rhetoric as usual that we simply accept and shake our head at, and when is it so dishonest or unfair that it should not be tolerated?
A strange confluence of events brought me around to the topic of rape. First, a reader had found my post on prison rape. The woman, Victoria Placeo was raped and her rapist was convicted, with his sentence reduced because of inmate overcrowding. Her response to a Houston Chronicle article discussing the problem of priso rape in some Texas prisons prompted this:
“OK….my first thought before reading the article was GOOD IF THEY ARE IN PRISON THEY DESERVE IT. That was the angry rape victim in me. I had the terror of recalling my incident and then thought no one deserves that.”
I think Victoria’s response typifies how most people feel. I also think that most people aren’t considering that it’s the weak, the white-collar criminal, the gang unaffiliated, the young, who are being preyed on by the rapists, molesters and murderers in prison. Logically, it’s not the big, mean guys being raped. it’s the lower guys in the pecking order being abused. The men inside of prison may have broken the law, but that does not justify the law being broken on them.
It doesn’t matter who is getting raped. It is wrong.
Prisoners should not be meeting out punishment to other criminals for crimes outside of the prison. Once prisoners are in the clink, a whole new society and set of rules comes to the fore, true enough. But criminals are not sent to prison to be abused. IF society deems that a person deserves to be raped for their crimes, then society should have the decency to make the punishment public.
So, for example, as much as Jeffery Dahmer’s crimes sickened me, and they did, I was not happy about hearing that he had died by being killed by a broom handle and bleeding to death while prison guards were in the bathroom. Justice would have been a public hanging. But Americans, or some Americans these days, are uncomfortable with seeing the consequences of crime. They’re all squirmy when it comes to owning their role as enforcer. So, they’ll prefer a brutal murder inside a prison to a public hanging where everyone could see what happens to filth who rape, murder, and torture.
On the same day I received the comment on the prison rape article, Cassy Fiano sent me this post about a celebrity blogger, What Would Tyler Durden Do? wishing rape on P. Diddy or whatever he goes by these days for wanting oil prices to go down so he can fly on his personal jet. Here’s Diddy’s contribution to the problem of oil prices:
“Your boy Diddy right now is on American Airlines. Look. Gas prices are too motherf*ckin high. I want to give a shout out to all my Saudi Arabian brothers and sisters and all my brothers and sisters from all the countries that have oil, if y’all could please send me some oil for my jet I would truly appreciate it. But right now, I am actually, can you believe it, I am actually flying commercial. That’s how high gas prices are ok, so I feel you. Look, I’m at the gate right now. This is really happening. This is proof that gas prices are too high, we need to do something about it, so tell whoever the next president is that we need to bring gas back down.”
Diddy isn’t going to win any awards for policy brilliance, but he’s a musician. He’s also a pampered celeb who, and I’m just taking a stab at this here, doesn’t quite get real suffering. Who gives a flip? If you’re an environmental, leftist celebrity blog wacko, you do. And Tyler Durden (playing on the whole “What would Jesus do”) has his own form of rough justice:
“The fact that this jackass hasn’t been raped by a bear with AIDS is how you know hubris and karma are just fairytales.”
Where is the love? Where is the mercy? These are the same people who will donate to the ACLU and protest the death penalty, but that’s all fine in theory. But for people who break moral laws near and dear to their hearts, like say, loving cheap fossil fuel so you don’t have to suffer the indignity of flying commercial (and it is an indignity), well, that person deserves rape and AIDS.
Rape is never okay, no matter who is doing it. Fantasizing about an ideological enemy getting raped isn’t cool, either. Turning the other way, at the problem of prison rape makes America a more uncivilized and brutal place. Prison rape is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. It is not funny. It is not deserved. It is not justice.
If Americans want to sanction this behavior, then they should be willing to bring it out of the prison kitchens and closets. Justice should be public. It should represent the will of the people. It’s time to bring back public hangings, if only to bring back the public conscience.