Like most Americans (the sane ones, at least), I watched in horror as our elected officials almost brought our country to the economic brink a few weeks ago with their outright silliness over legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Despite the fact that every Congress has gone through this drill many times (including under Reagan and Bush), this time around the young Tea Partyers decided it was time to draw the line in the sand – the economy be damned.
They cried that they had been sent to the Congress to send the message that we needed to get control of the “reckless” spending that was running rampant in our federal agencies. So, screw your silly debt ceiling, they shouted! I don’t care, Mr. President, if you are cutting a few trillion dollars in spending. It’s not enough! And, while you’re at it, don’t even think about raising any taxes, even on the billionaires who could care less if they had another $1,000 or so taken out of their paycheck. There will be no compromise – and let the chips fall where they may!
What a friggin mess. It was a game of machismo and Obama, because he actually believes in governing this country, had to blink.
And so it is with the debate over abortion. As followers of this award-winning blog have seen in the past, the “debate,” and I use that term loosely, generally boils down to a cyberspace shouting match where no one gives any ground, where no one dares say “hey, you got a point there,” lest they be accused of treason. Yes, there are some who have a bottom line but at times do show that they are at least hearing the other side. But, for the most part, it is dueling academic reports and quotations.
So, for example, a pro-lifer will make their argument invoking Genesis (“and Adam begat Cain who then begat Tommy after he smote his bro Abel all the while declaring that there shall be no abortion”) or St. Luke the Meek (“ye shall never abort a possible Savior”). They will spend hours insisting that their book is the only one worth shit, that it is the all knowing edition that lays out everything that must be obeyed – even if you wear a turban. It is the WORD of the munificent and compassionate God, pure and simple and, if you stray from his oh-so-loving WORD, you will spend ETERNITY SURROUNDED BY FLAMES IN HELL. Sorry, but those are the rules.
Then there are the pro-choicers who quote their own Gods or, to be more exact, Goddesses. Steinem, Abzug, Friedan, Madonna. Theirs is the word, the woman’s body is sacrosanct, it’s our way or the highway. They believe that every anti-abortion person is a true nut ball or, worse, a terrorist. The crisis pregnancy centers are all run by freak-a-zoids who don’t give a crap about women and who, once they talk that woman into having the baby, will disappear forever. Adios, mama, you’re on your own! Meanwhile, the pro-choicers will insist that that damned thing floating around in there is a fetus. It ain’t a baby you idiot! It doesn’t matter that the mother calls it a baby when that eight week fetus is wanted. Nope, when we’re contemplating abortion, it’s a fetus, pure and simple.
The problem in this country is that we live in a bumper sticker world where no one dares to give ground any more. I am right and you are wrong. End of story. Indeed, when was the last time you ever heard anyone say “hey, you got a point there, I wanna think about that.” OMG! Hey, we got a wimp over here folks! A flip flopper! Off with her head!
So, much like we saw in Congress, the abortion debate has become one intractable mess.
Well, I’m sorry but no one has the monopoly on wisdom on this or any other issue. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. To be sure, I am totally pro-choice but, damn it, at 24 weeks it sure looks like a baby to me. And while I still support the right to abort it, it pains me to see it happen. On the other hand, to the pro-lifers out there, you are never gonna convince me that a 6 week fetus is a baby or a “person” as some of you would suggest. Get real.
I say we toss aside the bumper stickers for a bit.
Let’s start thinking and actually TALKING for a change.