I was reading a really interesting article about abortion this morning. I don’t want to get sidetracked into an argument about the pros and cons of abortion, I’m just using the article because it approaches a very controversial topic from a point of view that I think bears discussion.
Doesn’t it seem to you that too many issues of governmental policy are decided as if they were stand-alone topics? I was reminded recently that making decisions isn’t hard; but that in making decisions one has to remember that real people have to live with the consquences of those decisions for a long time. And I think abortion, and gun control, and healthcare and a great many other issues that divide us as a nation are being handled as if they were isolated issues in a closed room with a set cast of characters.
Unfortunately, I don’t think any of these and many more topics should be treated as if they were topics in and of themselves.
Abortion is not just about stopping a pregancy that began because two hormone stricken kids were making out on a parents sofa. Young adults are experimenting with sex earlier and earlier. Mature adults are having sex with more and more parthers. Marriage is no longer the institution it once was and laws that pretend that nothing has changed in society over the past 150 years only do a disservice to all it’s citizens. But that is not the end of the subject. What happens to children that are not aborted. Are there adoptive homes for them all? Are there homes for children born with defects? What about children born of rape? There are so many more issues that stand alongside the question of whether a doctor should be allowed to stop a a beating heart that really have nothing to do with the act of abortion but have a lot to do with the humanity of our society.
School Safety and Gun control also are about so much more than controlling who obtains firearms; or whether they are licensed or trained or controlled in any form. Insuring that we have schools where learning is facilitated and not hindered by fear of active shooters ought to be such a basic idea that it would be beyond having to talk about — but the fact is that so many people are locked into trenches over decades old terminology and arguments that no one is even listening at the concerns of the other side of the conversation. Yet… how long can any society exist if 1/2 of it refuses to listen to the other 1/2? We can kick the ball down the field a few years here and a few years there but the only ones we are hurting are our own children — those who are slain by madmen or sane men — I don’t care what you call them because the children are dead nevertheless.
I don’t know how a society that can’t even get it’s legislators to agree that the president is a liar and a traitor can handle an honest to goodness conversation about abortion, or gun control or healthcare which are far more subtle discussions than is the topic of a power hungry, vengeful, bitter, old white man! I don’t know anyone who denies, any more, that government is up for sale. Private interests are free to bribe candidates and officials alike and there is no longer any pretence about whether the money is just to help a candidate get elected because the recent example of the NRA yanking the donation-chains of legislators has put any nay-sayers to silence. They think they control the legislators — and they do.
It’s common for a current day U.S. legislator to spend 4-5 hours per day fund raising. I was shocked when I first came across that idea, but the expense of the modern day campaign has made it necessary for congress to spend inordinate amounts of money just to get elected — and when you owe your job to the people who bought you — well, you don’t get to do things the way YOU think they ought to be done; you owe your donors or else you donors will take their big bucks elsewhere for the next election.
There have always been lies out of Washington. I’m not a fool. But along with the fabrications there used to be people in office who actually came there at least in part for the good of the country — and not just for their own profit. There used to be bi-partisan cooperation. Oh, with a lot of pork barrel politics when getting something done called for it, but there was a lot more tit for tat going on, and not so much my-way-or-the-highway. But in those days corporate money wasn’t allowed and the little guy had more influence; not a lot, mind you, but a little.
In the last several years we haven’t been able to get a simple budget passed and Congress has ruled by continuing resolution. What happened to the days when we passed the Emergency Highway bill and funded road construction for a whopping 50 years! It can be done — but not by a congress that has been bought and paid for by capitalist companies — organizations that care only about one thing: profit for them.