Sunday, July 1, 2012


A modest supposal


Here is the deal.  This country is divided in a way that is, in my opinion, insurmountable.  The level of separation in the most basic perceptions of life, morality, and good sense, are so acute we are not going to change each other’s minds, or win arguments with each other.  We are beyond that capacity.  So here is my modest Supposal.  Suppose the liberals and progressives were willing to yield on the abortion issue in exchange for conservative willingness to stop fighting attempts to address global warming.  (pause for both sides to blow off steam)  Ok, so hear me out.  (Try).  First, Liberals, progressives, feminists, and the like.   Here is the deal.  (and by the way, I am a progressive).  The right to have a safe abortion is, in my opinion, the biggest single issue that fuels the right wing of American Politics.  The Right wing, by the way, is the side that is mopping the floor with the left in almost every important indicator of mojo.  Abortion is not, in my opinion, the real issue behind the motivation of right wing political interests; it is just the biggest source of fuel.  Conservatives and Capitalists, and all manner of “ist’s, are able to use the abortion issue as a red haring to distract a huge segment of our population away from issues that smack of nasty politics and good old fashion  nearsighted greed.  They can do this, frankly, because, for a lot of people in America, Abortion is the number one moral issue of our time.  People for whom abortion is repulsive feel this as passionately as any of the progressives feel about the environment, or peace and justice, or any of the pet issues of the left.  If you are on the left, pick your most passionate issue.  The issue you feel is so important that it trumps almost everything else.  Now deal with the reality, that for a lot of people in America, Abortion is that issue for them.  Are you willing to compromise you most cherished values?  Neither are they.    

    If Abortion is the most important issue, morally, for a huge segment of America, they are simply not going to play ball with people for whom abortion is considered legitimate and defensible.  They will play ball with almost anyone else.  Corporations, polluters, religious fanatics, mean spirited racists and homophobes, anyone.  They will not play ball with you.  So you have to ask yourself.  Is the defense of Abortion your number one issue?  Is it the one thing you will go down fighting for no matter what?  Let’s look at that for a moment.  The big issue seems to be the woman’s right to have control over her body.  Given that, let me just offer, gently, that women can have control over their own bodies even if Abortion is conceded.  I know I am over a line here.  But hear me out.  What if we could concede to allow the elimination of legal abortion, and agree that what we are actually conceding is the ability to wait too long to exercise your control.  What if you accepted the limitation that you have to exercise your controls earlier than conception? Surely we can come up with ways to do that effectively.  After all, we on the left are so sophisticated.   It sounds untenable.  But consider what you would gain for that concession.  The cooperation of the right in dealing with the serious issues of global warming.  The cooperation of the right on the issues that may actually have a hell of lot to do with whether there is a future or not.    This may sound blunt, but if you are willing to fight to the death for the right to have an abortion, it is not unimaginable that the death you will fight to could be the death of mother earth. 
Or at least the very real possibility of the death of the biosphere. 

    Ok. Now for you on the right.  I know many of you intimately.  Despite the fact that I am a progressive, my circumstances have been such that I know you very well.  I know that for you, most of you, abortion is simply indefensible.  It is as serious to you as the death of you own children.  I know you are not going to yield this to a compromise.  It is not a compromise issue.  Ok.  So what If I said the left was willing to yield on abortion if you were willing to stop fighting the efforts of environmentalists to take measures to stop global warming?  How much do you hate the left?  Do you hate them so much that no matter what they say, you consider it hogwash?  Do you hate the left so much that you are willing to ignore 99.9% of the scientists and climatologists, and people whose job it is to study the atmosphere, just out of shear hatred?  Really.  I don’t get that.  I know a lot of you who can never compromise on the issue of abortion, and, frankly, you are good sensible people.  Most of you actually care a lot about the planet and what is going on.   Can you ask yourself what it is, particularly, that is so threatening about the claims of the environmentalists?  Is it so hard to imagine that human activity is seriously threatening the sustainability of the biosphere?  Is it that hard to conceive of the impact of the human race on the environment?  Maybe you think it will hurt business?  All the regulations?  Maybe you think the global corporations have our best interests at heart and what is good for them is good for us…Really?  Ok, whatever.   How important is that to you?  Would you trade it save a fetus?

     Is it too simplistic to quote the old adage that a house divided cannot stand?  There is no bigger house divided more acutely than this big house of cards we call America.  It seems to me the challenges we face morally, politically, environmentally, and ethically, are massive enough and seemingly insurmountable enough, that we may need to start to consider some alternatives to just fighting each other on everything.  How bout we start bartering issues in trade.  We give you something you want, you give us something we want, and maybe we all get to live on the planet a little longer.

1 comment:

drguy0 said...

Women will continue to get pregnant accidentally or by violent acts. disease and genetics will cause the fetus to not be viable. Abortions will continue. Before Roe vs Wade women went to back doors and sought help from unlicensed abortionists. In many cases they died from septicemia (? and infection or were damaged so badly that they could never concede again. The laws allows safe abortion. Is that any less important than the health of the planet? If the "pro abortion supporters drop their support of abortion and for some reason if becomes illegal will this satisfy the conservatives who use abortion to stir the fires of political unrest? No, another culture war issue will take the place. the right doesn't care about abortion as much as it does about winning. Abortion Is a tool. another tool will be found.The only real control the public has is the ballot box. If enough people put rational thinking ahead of emotion and get mad enough about being manipulated we might be able to turn the country away from a Plutocracy --- Apathy is the weakness in America