For a couple of months now, I’ve felt depressed when I read news relating the presidential campaign. I have had this vague feeling of hopelessness. Apparently, my acquaintance Rafe Colburn has been feeling the same way. But he was able to pin down the reasons in his essay The futility of political involvement. He expresses my feelings, too.
In a campaign speech at a Boeing factory in Pennsylvania, George W. Bush said:
Another thing that’s interesting that’s happening at Boeing that probably you aren’t aware of, but you should be, is that Boeing engineers lowered the first ballistic missile interceptor into its silo at Fort Greely, Alaska. It’s the beginning of a missile defense system that was envisioned by Ronald Reagan, a system necessary to protect us against the threats of the 21st century. (Applause.) We want to continue to perfect this system, so we say to those tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world: you fire, we’re going to shoot it down. (Applause.)
I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system really don’t understand the threats of the 21st century. They’re living in the past. We’re living in the future. We’re going to do what’s necessary to protect this country. (Applause.)
Gee, did Al-Qaeda get its hands on ICBMs? ‘Cause, you know, I thought the ‘Star Wars’ system was dreamt up to deal with 20th century cold war threats.
Being a fully pro-life candidate, according to Allio and others, doesn’t mean just promising to work to make abortion illegal, supporting laws against certain procedures, or pledging to pack the Supreme Court to one day overturn Roe vs. Wade. (And for some, it means using methods other than legal sanctions to reduce abortions.) While some pro-life politicians take the so-called “seamless garment” approach, adding assisted suicide, the death penalty, and perhaps stem-cell research to the abortion issue, progressive pro-lifers tend to see the issue even more broadly than that.
“To be pro-life means also to work to eradicate poverty, to provide universal health care, to provide affordable housing, to be consistent on war and peace,” says Allio, whose office works on precisely those issues.
This reminds me of my friend Hildegard Wilke in Constance, Germany. She passionately feels that abortion is wrong, but she prefers to act in her sphere of influence–where she has a good chance of actually helping individuals avoid abortions. Instead of getting caught up in endless political debates (admittedly, the political situation regarding abortion is different in Germany than in the US), she avidly promotes use of contraception and the dissemination of information about the various alternatives to abortion. She volunteers at an organization that helps women in need and she stands on street corners giving out information on alternatives to abortion and information on contraception. The most poignant sign of her commitment came when when a new form of birth control came out: Hildegard felt obligated to try it herself so she could speak from personal experience about it.
In some ways I guess I am also a progressive against abortion. However, I don’t believe that abortion should be outlawed. I think the political debate over the legality of abortion is immaterial. Abortions will continue to take place as long as the motivations remain, whether or not the procedures are legal.
Like Hildegard, I believe that the only thing that will truly end abortion is to address the contributing social factors (mentioned in the quote above), to educate people on the alternatives and to promote values of individual responsibility (and to me, that definitely DOES NOT just mean telling a woman that if she got pregnant, it’s her responsibility to raise the child. In many cases, the responsible thing is to help the birth mother realize that she is not the best person to raise the child due to circumstances).
One of the issues on the local ballot this coming weekend is a proposal to create a new county hospital district [PDF link]. This morning, the local TV news played a short report about a group that opposes the district. The group’s sole argument against it, at least according to the very short report, is that they oppose having to pay more taxes. I have no patience for this argument as it has little or no intellectual basis. Give me an argument that you think the current system works well enough, that you oppose paying for public health care, anything besides simply the fact that you don’t want a new tax.