"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Remember the DLC!!!

The prospect, even the small prospect, of a Kerry presidency brings out inexplicable longings for Bill Clinton. Although Clinton was out to lunch on abortion (was there ever any statement as bogus as the whole "safe, legal, and rare" thing?) and had lady trouble, one sensed that he was realistic about the role of government. Okay, okay, there was that whole attempt to nationalize about 12% of the economy, but this is a rose-colored exercise! But seriously, wouldn't all of us be happier if we were facing a choice between Bush and Lieberman instead of Bush v. Kerry? I'd certainly have a less apocalyptic view of the near term.

1 comment:

Virgil said...

Let's take on for discussion this one portion of the initial post:

>was there ever any statement as bogus as the whole "safe, legal, and rare" thing?

I grant I'm taking this thing wildly off-topic from the get-go, but this is my lauching point, so please bear with me.

The premise here is that "safe, legal, and rare" (SL&R, let's call it) is just about the most bogus statement that can be made. I'd like to try and find out how so. Let's take it piece by piece, in order.

Safe: If an abortion is done, it should be safe for the woman having the abortion. I can't find anything particularly difficult about this part. I think everyone's for safe medical procedures, even if we disagree with what's going on. To label this part bogus would seem akin to saying that any woman who gets an abortion deserves to die, and I don't think people of reason are going that route.

Legal: Abortions should be legal. Now here's something to sink our teeth into. It's a widely held belief that abortions should not be legal. I think this is a reasonable stance to take for anyone who believes that an unborn person is a person in full and should be granted full protections, any Judeo-Christian who reads clear anti-abortion sentiment in the Old and/or New Testaments, and surely many, many others who reach this point of view through other avenues. There are, however, many non-Judeo-Christians in America. And there are Judeo-Christians who find no clear direction on abortion in the Testaments. There are those who are unconvinced that the full rights and protections of citizenship should extend to a developing fetus, even, as many would prefer, to a fertilized ovum that has not yet embedded in a uterine wall. Many quite correctly observe that the U.S. Constitution does not confer citizenship to anyone until they are born. Again, there are plenty of avenues to a belief in legality. There are arguments to be had and points to be made here, but I'm focusing on this charge that SL&R is bogus, and I'm not finding the grounds to so strongly dismiss it here.

Rare: There should not be alot of abortions going on. OK, do we really even need to dig into this one? I think all persons of integrity can grant that this is a reasonable idea.

So the crux of this matter would seem to lie on the legality piece, with arguments against "Safe" and "Rare" falling into polar opposite fringes with, one would hope, tiny constituencies. Taking another look at legality then, I'd like to suggest that there are many resonable people who argue for legality from the starting point of American religion freedom. Given that theocracy is explicitly forbidden by the Constitution, and generally undesired by much of America, one can, I think, make the case that religious freedom by its very nature entails legal abortion to some degree, if one finds that anti-abortion sentiment is largely a religious issue. Religious freedom is something to be taken seriously, not the least by evangelicals, who may not always posess the demographic percentages they enjoy today.

One can claim that at the very least, legal abortion allows all Americans to practice as they believe. Presently, people are free to do work in their community to support their belief systems. And they can meet with their God, or non-God, within their own hearts and do what they think is best. One can also agree with this claim, and still oppose legal abortions.

This is a call for American unity. Not over the abortion issue, for who could make such a grandiose entreaty? It's a call for unity in dispensing with partisan bickering. When something which seems so clearly to be reaching for middle ground, like SL&R, is dismissed not only as bogus, but bogus in the extreme, it looks like a simple refusal to honestly engage.

To assume evil in the hearts of the opposition surely can not be good for any of us. Yet we hear it echo across the country in statements like "liberals hate America" and "no blood for oil."

Why be willfully blind to the good in others?