American Rhetoric: Differential Diagnosis

Engage with caution. These Republicans may be highly contagious.

Engage with caution. These Republicans may be highly contagious.

     Houston, we have a problem. Well, at least some of us do. There seems to be an issue, a conservative camp conundrum of sorts. (Try saying that three times really fast, with one lobe of your brain tied behind your back!) Something seems to be causing the Republican party leadership to throw themselves into global thermonucular (a la Bush 43!) meltdown, every time one of them speaks to the media.

     In the latest instance of this mystery illness, California Republican Assembly leader Celeste Greig (pictured at left, with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)) ended up in quite the pretty pickle, upon stating to the Bay Area News Group on Friday, that pregnancies as a result of rape are a rarity, “because the body is traumatised.” Greig went on to criticise former Missouri representative Todd Akin’s musings of last year on the same topic, but then agreed with the premise behind Akin’s comment;

“Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized,” she mentions. “I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.” (1)

     At this point, I’m not sure if I should trigger the “soapbox” switch or not. You see, my fine young readers, I just finished work on a related subject, parsing some data and putting it all in a nice…oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself here! Let’s finish up our diagnosis of Ms. Greig first, shall we? I’m wondering how Celeste can presume to state something like it’s a fact, but then say that she has no idea with regards to the specific facts and figures that would supposedly back up her lip-slip. McCain, Akin, Greig. Hold the phone a second, I think I know what this is; Hoof in Mouth Disease. Elephants have hooves, right? (At least to the best of my understanding, I did some fact-checking on what elephants’ feet are called, and that seems to be the consensus.) Since the pachyderm is the chosen symbol of the GOP, and certain GOP notables are always ending up with their foot lodged between the mandible and maxilla, I firmly submit that a diagnosis of Hoof in Mouth is accurate.

     Which brings me to the aforementioned data compilation. Here’s the deal: last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed S.47, the senate bill entitled, “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013”. In spite of conservative opposition in the House, the Democrats managed to get enough moderate Republicans to come over to the side of reason, and help push this bill through. (2)

     Ah, yes. Some of you are already scratching your heads, wondering what exactly the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013” is. (Long, drawn out “Welllllllll,”) I’ll try to give you the “Coles Notes”. What it does, among other things, is the following:

  • Authorises federal funding of services to protect adult and teen victims of violent crimes, such as rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
  • Supports training on these issues, to ensure consistent responses nationwide.
  • Supports the efforts of community-based organizations that are engaged in work to end these types of crimes.
  • Provides specific support for work with tribes and tribal organisations to curb the instances of these crimes against Native American women.

     I have to thank Celeste Greig for opening this door. I was deliberating on exactly how to present my data here on The Cybersattva weblog, and Ms. Greig has graciously provided me with as near perfect an opportunity as I could ever hope to have! Yes, the door has been pushed ajar, and I will gladly step through it.

     It would seem on the face of things, that the Republican party has been consistent in its opposition to any legislation, including VAWA, that would serve to strengthen women’s rights. It’s even been said by some that the Tea Party, and by extension the GOP, are “anti-woman”. The data retrieved from last Thursday’s House vote would seem to strongly support this conclusion, especially in states with a majority of GOP representation in the House.

     What you are about to witness is a first for The Cybersattva. That’s right, folks! I present for your perusal, the first ever Cybersattva Investigative Analytics workbook! (This is in MS Excel 2003 format, so you will need at least that to view the file.)


VAWA vote state breakdown.

VAWA vote state breakdown.

     Within this workbook, is a breakdown of the vote tally that I linked to further up in the article. The Tea Party Caucus vote is of special significance, because again it would seem to lend credence to the assertion that this political entity is opposed to women’s rights legislation. To the immediate right and below are a few pieces of “eye candy” for you, from the workbook. To the right is a map of which states’ representatives voted mostly for the bill’s passage (in green), or mostly against (in red.) The cross-hatches are states with a 50/50 split. Below are some gender-specific vote results.

     Folks, I will leave it up to each one of you to ultimately decide what, if anything, these results indicate or imply. All I humbly request is that you peruse them, and gain a better appreciation for the intricacies and indicators in domestic politics.


In closing, since Oklahoma was one of the states whose reps went the wrong way on VAWA, I’ll leave you with this little gem from 1988:


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