Michael, speaking as a "forced" shodan, I feel it behooves me to arrogantly disagree with you on a couple of points:
1. "Ranks were designed to represent your level of Aikido" - I think you may want to read some of the various views on ranking in aikido, beyond teacher/student they're really just an artificial way of dealing with particular organisational problems.
2. "bad effect.. peers at Q levels ", sorry but if you're the type of person to do these types of comparison, you're always going to find something to be upset about. Not all in a single rank (whatever it is) are equal in ability, then there's the wonderful "my dan grades vs your dan grades" across associations...
I have to agree with other posters who intimated rank is only important as you let it be, with one caveat. If your association has any ceilings on the types of training you do dependant on rank, you must be allowed to go for these grades.