NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Values Thing
Today's bloggerI unfortunately missed the march for women’s lives this Sunday. I heard it was a great event and that YDAtl was well represented. I wish I could have been there. I enjoyed Benson’s post and Shelby’s highlights. Today, I wanted to focus some attention to Shelby’s final comment about his own reservations about this painful issue.

I agree that too often liberals assume that their opponents on abortion are simply misogynist assholes. I’m not saying that we need to be sensitive to the feelings of abortion clinic bombers and I know it’s hard to be polite when someone is waving a picture of a bloody fetus in your face. However, many thoughtful and loving individuals are pro-life and it might not hurt us to treat them with some respect. If you believe that a woman is carrying a life during a pregnancy you might be justified in your concern for how that life is treated. Saying “if you’re against abortion then don’t have one” is like saying to me “if you’re against child abuse, don’t abuse your child.” Not really an effective argument.

I have trouble with a lot of these moral/values issues – they always feel like red herrings to me – Republicans bring up divisive social issues to distract us from the fact that our democracy has been sold to a corporation. It’s not that I don’t think abortion, gay rights, and teaching evolution in classrooms are really, really important topics. It’s just that one’s opinions on these issues are so personal and so strongly held. I know other people have more patience than me with this kind of thing, but I just have no interest in arguing with a stone wall – which is how I feel when I talk to someone who is staunchly anti-choice or vehemently anti-gay rights.

Some of these people seem to be decent and intelligent and then we start the values argument and some chip gets activated in their brains and all real discussion ends. I actually think that’s how some people have thought of me, especially during the 2004 election year.

I have this feeling when I’ve been baited into a values debate that I’m being duped. I might be doing just fine and then all of a sudden I’m aflame with passionate anger. It’s easy to get the liberal riled about something. I must be the butt of some joke. I wonder how people think they’re going to legislate this stuff. How can you legislate something like abortion when the majority of people don’t even think it’s a sin? What is the plan for all those unplanned pregnancies? How morally satisfying will it be to punish young women? What about gay rights? What law would be effective? The one keeping them out of the military? What about one preventing them from living in committed partnerships with each other? No, this plan to create a fundamentalist, police state just doesn’t sound feasible. Have these guys been to Midtown Atlanta?

Sadly, it’s not a joke. And, even if it’s a diversion away from vital economic issues it’s a diversion with serious consequences that I can’t just blow off. But I think I would prefer to change the flavor of the debate – a debate with more compassion and consideration. The crazies – the Rick Santorum’s of the world – must be fought and exposed for the frauds they are. Many others however, should be treated with the respect and dignity due to any human being. We are always going to stand up for equal rights and for a women’s right to make her medical decisions. But we are also going to stand up for everyone’s right to voice their own opinion and for tolerance and respect.
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posted by Justice at 4/10/2006 07:24:00 PM


Blogger Jason said...

I think Justi makes a great point. It presents the conundrum that pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Democrats face in their respective parties. If we can get pro-life Democrats to agree with the proposition that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare", we can honor their pro-life beliefs by fighting to make sure that the need for an abortion doesn't arise. In the GOP, they just want to flat out ban it and make the "sluts" have these children that they don't want and will not care for. Sure, adoption is great, but I don't see GOP families racing to line up for adopting unwanted children. I suspect it's because many of those children are minorities, but that's another post for another time.

4/11/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

"How can you legislate something like abortion when the majority of people don’t even think it’s a sin?" Why does something have to be a sin? But perhaps that gets at the issue itself. How we look at the world. Religious Zealots think they must impose their ideals on the rest of us. Abstenance is thier answer as is their definition of the sanctity of life. Which is Abortion bad sending young boys off to die is huh ok as long as it is for oil.

Jason what's with the hate? "hey just want to flat out ban it and make the "sluts" have these children that they don't want and will not care for." A little too judgmental.

4/11/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Justice said...

Well, the language of sin may have a bit of a judgemental and cruel ring to those of us who have had our numerous sins pointed out to us by fire and brimstone types that are so plentiful here in the Bible belt. However, all sin means is missing the mark. All of us miss the mark quite a lot in our lives. Nobody's perfect. So for me it's easy to say that we're all sinful creatures.

There are lots of people who are concerned about a culture that celebrates greed, permissiveness and selfishness (a sinful culture) - that doesn't concern itself with the good of the community. I don't think they're wrong. I would say that many of them have been seduced by the right wing rhetoric of "family values." This has led them to believe that the problem is Hollywood culture and not an economic policy that is destroying working families. I can't help but think they are our natural allies - we just have to get better at speaking their language or at least appealing to their better natures. But I don't think we can leave sin or judgement out of the discussion.

4/11/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Benson said...

I'm all for leaving sin and judgement in the discussion. Part of having ideals means drawing a clear line, for yourself, between right and wrong. The reality of politics is compromise, but beyond a certain point compromise is wrong. That goes for every issue, values or otherwise.

I'm going to expand on that thought on Saturday. Good post Justi.

4/12/2006 05:29:00 PM  

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