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Monday, June 6, 2011

Politics and Pro Life




http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/my-take-rethinking-the-pro-life-label/

I’ve already blogged on this a bit, mostly in relation to a blog post of a college acquaintance who runs , a political blog of good quality, where he noted the relation of ‘pro-life” beliefs to libertarian values of freedom. In that post, “Abortion Terms Revisited”, I actually suggested a solution to this problem I’ll visit later in this post, albeit not necessarily solving what to do about the pro-life position itself.
Again, I rail on politics and its complexity, though both Democrats and Republicans could be inconsistent on the issue that divides even families sometimes. There’s always some variation on the general anti-abortion field, so as to distinguish this from the pro life issue for the moment. Some permit abortions in extreme cases, others forbid it in all situations and others are somewhat in the middle, resonating with pro choice and pro life in that they would like people to choose life, but they also respect people’s choices, as long as they don’t become abortions on demand for any situation. Of course, the pro choice thing is equally as polarizing. A side comment would enable me to transition more smoothly into what pro life would be more consistently across policies. Pro choice is not something Republicans are necessarily against. They value privatization, free market economy, freedom to choose a number of things out of various alternatives (like guns?). Their exclusion of abortion, but acceptance of the death penalty is just one of the inconsistencies many politically minded people observe about the Republican Party these days on their so called “pro life” platform.

To be truly pro life, many have begun to argue, you cannot suggest the budget for allaying the economic troubles we remain in. To cut benefits and aid to the poor is against many people’s deeply held religious beliefs. And even without religious beliefs based in the supernatural, one can argue there is still a strong compulsion for those who have plenty to give to those who have little or none. The basics of charity, generosity, and helping people live a fulfilling and satisfactory life can be said to be just as integral to a pro-life position as the commonly affirmed position of what I would call counter or anti-abortion. Pro-life is not the same as anti or counter abortion for the same reason that a counter/anti-abortion advocate can also be pro-death penalty/capital punishment or say the use of torture to advance the cause of peace is justified, among other more explicitly ‘anti-life’ positions. Of course, even the use of aggressive and excessive military strength that ignores the roles of noncombatants would appear on its face to be spitting on those lives as if they are expendable as accepted losses or collateral damage. Even soldiers, willingly putting their lives on the line, make such twisted choices in order to justify their own warped psyche’s perspective, radically changed by experiencing threats from every side and trained not to have mercy on the enemy. How does this ensure any kind of pro-life position in the general sense: that is, protecting life at all stages, whatever that might specifically be, whether it starts at birth or at conception (however questionable the latter may be). Even if I might disagree with such a a pro lifer on the abortion issue, I am more than amiable to the anti-war and anti-capital punishment positions we may both hold nonetheless.

One might say, with some backing to the argument, that Democrats are fast becoming one of the more consistent on the pro-life platform. It’s hard to find many Republicans that advocate the many things that reflect an overall pro-life policy that no doubt has cemented the appeal of the Democratic party in the wake of what might have been considered one of their weaknesses: the issue of religion and values in politics. With Democrats supposedly leaning more towards privatization of religion and separation of church and state, one might have seen them as an anti-God party, or to be fairer, a pan-religious party in that they welcomed everyone moreso than Republicans who tolerated Jews and reluctantly allowed Catholics and eventually Mormons into their fold, mostly because of shared values. But Catholics might be said to be an interesting balancer for politics and religion for Republicans against Democrats in that they were among those who criticized the Republican budget as not being truly pro-life and protecting life at all stages. The fixation on the abortion issue might be said to have hurt the present Republican Party’s support from Catholics, not to mention the fixation on fiscal policy over more imminent social issues that plague the country and the world. Then you throw in the issue of the war in the Middle East and you have a group that slowly appears to be more pro fear as opposed to pro life.

You make people afraid they’d abort a world leader or a great scientist, paranoid they’ll lose their freedoms to gun control stealing their weapons, hostile to the terrorist and motivating people to fight in wars. All this really focuses on guilt and regret over everything one does and never really affirms that we make choices, for better or worse, and that as long as we reflect on those choices, we can improve. If a woman decides to abort and then later thinks it was a bad idea, she can share her story without being obnoxious to all women who have to make those difficult decisions in those situations. If a soldier is patriotic, he can salute the flag, but he has no right to condemn someone who uses their Constitutional right to burn it just because it offends them and makes them afraid there are terrorists in their midst. And even the control of guns doesn’t mean that everyone is trying to take away all your force, but merely moderate it so we don’t have backwoods hicks using military grade equipment, thinking that martial law will be instated in 2012 or some such nonsense. If we are to be pro life, we should also be pro choice to a great extent, even if those are still polarized in popular mediums as being polar opposites. Luckily, as I blogged previously, TV stations have at least been trying to use more precise language, saying pro or anti abortion rights instead of pro choice and pro life, as if the inverse applies to each opposite. But in fact not every pro choice is pro death, and pro life is not anti choice, though sometimes it can imply anti choice in that people are afraid of the liberties people have or are afraid of them going into excess. And that’s not an unjustified fear, if you try to moderate choices yourself instead of outright suppressing everyone else’s. So pro life and pro choice people may have more in common than pundits and talking points make them think. Think for yourself, like a skeptical American should. Until next time, Namaste and aloha.

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