Monday, January 23, 2006

W Rides Again

I try to lambast this kind of stuff with satire, but sometimes it just seems too sad to joke about it.

Why do we give any press at all to this ugly social conservative need to impose their view on those who do not agree with them? Why is their right to NOT have an abortion if they oppose it not enough? And why are there so many white men in these protest groups? Why is their influence within their own committed relationship not enough? How are we expected to respect the views of people who have no respect for the views of others?

And how does a freaky guy from a group like this get elected president? How stupid are we that we do not identify this strong anti-democratic tendency in a guy who seeks the position of ultimate democrat? How is his approval rating in the toilet and yet he pursues the wrong side of a very controversial issue? How do we honor the convictions of a person who seeks to pevent us from following ours?

Here's a better headline. Bush to Abortion Opponents: "We will eventually succeed in controlling sinners and infidels one and all. And then we will make them pay." Don't laugh; this seems as slippery a slope as they come.

There used to be a bumper sticker: "I love my country, but I fear my government." Amen.


Dzesika said...

Um yes. There is a reason why I'm proudly an expat American, sad though that may seem.

BrianAlt said...

It's very depressing.

Chairborne Stranger said...

I am proudly an expat American as well.

Lizzie said...

"Why is their right to NOT have an abortion if they oppose it not enough?"

Excellent point.

I was at a women's rights march here in DC a couple of years ago and got in a screaming match with one of the counter-protesters about that very thing. She was holding a sign that said "I regret my abortion" and I marched right over to her and asked her what the hell that had to do with MY right to have one (I might have used a little stronger language, but I'll spare your blog). I told her if she regretted it so much, not to get another one should the situation present itself, but that the U.S. can't legislate based on her personal regrets. I regret doing 21 shots on my 21st birthday. You don't see me whining about bringing back Prohibition.

Kate said...

You know I can respect the fact that people are against abortion. But for me I have a problem with the big picture.

Many of them are against all birth control, support abstinence-only sex education and don't believe in any exceptions for abortions. They vote with a group of people that don't want to pay to support the children that are born and many are avid about the death penalty. It all adds up to a very ugly picture.

I've never been one to argue a "slippery slope" but these people may teach me otherwise.

wunelle said...

On the road today. Thanks for the responses.

CS--You're not an expat; you're a superpat! ;-) (Stay safe, my friend.)

Lizzie--I would have loved to see a tape of that "discussion!" I admire you showing up, since I'm not sure I could remain civil in the face of people who are exercising their democratic prerogatives in an attempt to control others.

Kate--Of course I respect a person's choice about so weighty an issue. I'm not taking a stand about the issue of abortion itself (nor would that stand seem appropriate for me, as a man, to expound too forcefully). And I have seen this same hypocrisy you write about up close on many occasions, flying with married guys with their "W" stickers talking about all the "action" they get from Central American women. Disgusting.

Mandy said...

Well, the other thing that bothers me is that W is completely inconsistent in his "life ethic" - it seems like he only cares about the sanctity of life *before* birth. He, however, has no problem with sending people off to war or having people be executed. I may disagree with the Catholic church on a number of social issues, but I can at least respect them - they oppose abortion, war, and the death penalty. Fair enough - they're consistent.

And the thing that makes my skin crawl: Karla Faye Tucker was on death row in Texas for committing murder. She had found a relationship with God in prison and became a Christian, and was petitioning to have her sentence changed to life in prison so she could remain there and minister to other women about what God could do in their lives. Bush, in a Vanity Fair interview with Tucker Carlson (not someone known to be in any way, shape, or form politically liberal), MOCKED HER BEGGING FOR HER LIFE.

What a revolting hypocrite.

Joshua said...

I am not sure what sort of can of worms I am opening here, bu tI need some clarification:

How is abortion like sending people to war? I get the death penalty analogy, although I think it is a bit skewed, but I honestly don't understand the other one.

wunelle said...

Joshua--Sorry, but I'm on the road and not able to spend much time blogging for a few days. But I never turn up my nose at dialog, though this is an issue where influencing others or changing minds is probably impossible.

I don't presume to speak for another. But (to venture my own opinion) I think it seems hypocritical of W to uphold the sanctity of life in one case while seeming to take a cavalier attitude towards it in other cases. If life is as precious as his so called "pro life" stand should imply, then we should undertake war--which by definition will involve deaths in large numbers--only as an absolute last resort.

I think we cannot remotely claim to have followed that dictum in our present case.

Esbee said...

In case you missed the memo, I woke up stupid today. Therefore, I can offer nothing on your post; it's far above my head. So either post something frivolous, or hope I wake up smart tomorrow.

Dancing off to bed with a dim, cowlike face,

Joshua said...

Don't you think that is a bit of a straw man fallacy?

It just seems like we are comparing apples to grenades.

Joshua said...

I am sorry, I spoke too rashly, and I didn't provide any basis or backup for anything I was saying. That sort of makes me an asshat.

SO let's start over. I think it is actually a fallacy of false analogy, and I think I know why now.

America does not have a draft, or mandatory minimum enlistment. That means everyone who joins our armed forces does so under no duress but their own. In the age of information, I can’t feel sorry for anyone who signed up and expected not to have to go to war. In fact, the very first oath they take clearly explains, and has them repeat, that they are on call 24/7 for this country, and anything their commander in chief feels necessary for them to do. We can go over and over whether or not that commander in chief is worthy of such a high honor, but the people who join must take that seriously. At least so long as they are active duty.

Unborn babies, however, do not have such a choice. In fact, the only voice they have comes from their mother, who may or may not have their best interests in mind, and a bunch of wacko activist groups on either side of the issue, who most likely do not have their best interests in mind. The analogy to a soldier, then, is unfair to the unborn baby.

And, I might add, though a bit less strongly, the same may be added for those who are put to death under capital punishment. Barring the, I think, very few cases where the person is actually innocent, that person is there because of the choices they made. The law was already in place, the consequences quite clearly spelled out, and they made a choice to break that law. If they thought they would get away with it, or somehow buck the system, shame on them. In this way, they are a lot like the soldier. It is unfortunate for many of them that circumstances led them to a decision they did not fully think through, perhaps, but all the resources were there from the start for them to do so.

In the case of the soldier and the person on death row, there is choice. The unborn baby, however, is not afforded this luxury.

I want to point out that my own views on all subjects remain largely the same as most of you. However, I take exception to lumping them all together, morally. I think it can be seen how someone could take a moral stand on one of these issues (abortion) without compromising his or her seemingly opposite values on the other two.

Sorry this was so long, please see my asshat reference by way of excuse.

wunelle said...

Joshua--I agree with all of that, and I agree that the analogies are not iron-clad. I think the one common thing beneath these disparate issues is the taking of life and the control of the person who makes the decisions about it. We seem--all of us, and no less myself--to want to see the common elements beneath these controversial issues, and to see a kind of unifying thread that connects a person philosophically from one issue to the next. I think that "pro-life" is a label which creates expectations, though I admit that this alone is not the soundest platform for an argument. Still, it would not seem inconsistent to me for a pro-life president to be anti-war or anti-death penalty; yet this is not what we often find.

Joshua said...

Though very few people agree with this asertation, I think "Pro-Life" easily INCLUDES war, and, in less cases, death penalties.

In the case of our current war, for whatever reasons we are actually over there (as opposed to the thousands of speculated and lied about reasons) the quality of life, and in actuality the sheer number of lives, will and has increased as a result. That is to say thousands of people are not being killed by a tyrant for their beliefs, fed feet first into woodchippers, and help in rape rooms.

It may also be argued, thoguh I think more weakly, that putting a person to death for the murders of others prevents that person from murdering others again, which is often the case upon release. It also has the benifit (and I use that term strictly in a budget analysis) of costing tax payers tens of thousands of dollars less each year. The amount of re-offenders, especially at the highest teir crimes, supports the idea that they WILL offend again. Thus putting them back int he system, at a loss to society both in terms of dollar bills and life.

I really don't want all this applied to Bush, I think to do so would be, at best, a mistake, but I think it still bears mentioning that these two concepts can live together.

Kate said...

Joshua, just for the record, oppposing the death penaly doesn't mean letting murderers go free.

Kate said...

Whoops, penalty

wunelle said...

In discussing the war itself, I think we're all hobbled by our lack of real, hard data. And while I think this is one of the most secretive administrations in history, I nonetheless understand that a lot of stuff concerning the war is classified and will remain that way.

But my point is that we all make our judgments about something as serious as going to war with another country based on the information we have, both directly relevant and indirect information.

I for one will not quarrel with the idea that Saddam is an evil person who caused great harm and suffering and death. Nor will I argue with the general idea that the Iraqis may be better off without him. And from that judgment to our present situation is not an unthinkable leap.

But I think there is so much stuff that swirls in the air between that point and this one that gaining an informed judgment is very, very difficult. I have said many times that I hope my perception of W and his group is wrong, and that my assessment of the war and our motives is wrong. And I don't mean to question the good intentions or motivations of those who are willing to grant the president the best of motivations.

But I cannot count myself among them. I suppose I am vulnerable to criticism for letting my dislike of the man (men) lead to extreme skepticism of everything that comes out of his mouth. But I think his track record is horrid, and the consequences of our being wrong in this matter are SO GREAT that I would have liked to be much, much better informed and / or persuaded before we took the plunge.

This is an endless topic, I know. And I will say again: I hope I'm all wet.

Lastly, for what it's worth, I am not myself opposed to the death penalty. But I think that "punishment" has little deterrent effect in murder cases, and I think revenge is a non-functional dead end. I think we kill a killer (or a serial rapist or what have you) because they have incurred a debt to society that cannot be repaid, a debt greater than their value to society. None of us is that precious that our lives have unlimited value. (I'm sure that is not a popular view.)

Off to Connecticut and back to Kentucky.

Joshua said...

Actually, I agree totally with your view on why we use the death penalty.

Also, Kate, I didn't mean to say that that was ALWAYS the case, but life without the posibility of parole is neither a life sentence, nor an absolute denial of parole, in most cases. And I certainly don't want to say that if we don't kill them we let them go free, but such a thing DOES happen more often than it should (which in my T totaling estimation is 0%)

I really don't want to sound like a contrarian here, and I think this is a hell of a discussion, but I jus tthink there is at least one side not being explored.

And I have a lot of free time.