Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Zero My Hero

I remember my School House Rock. And I guess those who don't believe in actually funding the educational programs they profess to support would be silly enough to underestimate the value of 0 and ignorant enough to think that is the lowest numerical value there is. But Zero is actually not a bad place to start. Not like someone in the negatives who had to make up for being so far in the red that starting at zero would be a blessing. Anyone who has had to balance a budget, at home or work knows that zero can be a very very good thing. Zero in reference to our nation's budget right now would be a very good thing indeed, as opposed to the nearly ten trillion dollars in national debt that we now owe thanks to Bush. Hmmmm, let me think 0 or - 10 trillion. which would you rather be? But I digress. I tried so very hard to watch the RNC tonight. I felt it was my obligation as a citizen, but I could not make it through Giuliani's speech. It was so ugly and so nasty and so below the belt I just couldn't do it, so I turned and watch Globetrekker instead and talked with my kids about traveling.



Honest question (truly, now) mi amiga--How do you personally reconcile Obama’s rather extreme position, in my humble opinion, on abortion with your own personal spirituality and faith? This is an honest question; not rhetorical.

I’ve heard Obama say something along the lines that he’s against partial-birth abortion ,or so called by some “late-term” abortion (I’ve read a bit about the procedure and it’s pretty ghastly, or at least it seems so to me), but he always has a caveat (and this is where the rubber meets the road, frankly) on his purported opposition—in other words, unless a law ending this practice is essentially worded perfectly for him, to ensure all possible matrix of exceptions are covered, he wouldn’t vote to pass a law to end the practice of partial-birth abortion (there is a very small number of people who call this particular practice infanticide). It seems to me that for him the perfect wording of a law that takes care of some seemingly small percentage of situations (exactly what would these be anyway??) is more critical than ending the practice itself. In other words, however bad this type of abortion is to him personally, it’s not as bad or bad enough in his estimation compared to having a law that would stop this practice because it would have less than perfect language to guard every conceivable “exception.” I must say, this bothers me.

Now…I’ve heard Obama and others say… how about taking care of the child after they are born—i.e. strong universal health care, a safe and valuable education system, stronger leave options for the mother, even father (if they are around), so that the child actually born, not just some fetus in the womb, can come into a world nurtured without the parent having to worry about their economic situation vis-a-vis their employment, etc. His point being that the “conservatives” worry only about a fetus (even if it is born partially in late-term and is exterminated), but won’t lift a finger to give real and substantial help once the baby arrives. He’s right about this! But…I really wonder how he justifies in his heart, late at night before he falls asleep, his apathy or inaction relative to the extreme practice of “late-term” abortion? Maybe it doesn’t bother him and he doesn’t worry about justifying it. I don’t know. It does confound me, though. It could be that he wants to avoid a battle with those who are pro-choice/pro-abortion, even if it’s only on this one small issue. Admittedly, that would take some personal moxie, and it may be a fight not worth having in his mind given the limited impact it would have.

Truth is, by and large, I can’t stand the politics of W. The drum beat of war seems to be the answer to all situations in his mind and in the mind of the majority of his party. He cares more about Corporate America than about Main Street America. I personally struggle with a mixture of “conservative” and “liberal” biases (I tend to lean libertarian in many, but not all cases), but man-o-man, if Obama would come out and call a spade a spade on this teeny, tiny issue, it might win the vote of some like me. He could even stay pro-choice relative to all other abortion issues save for this one, and it would personally tell me something about him that would likely guarantee my vote for him. If he would call a spade a spade on this one small issue, but then essentially on all other abortion fronts stay liberal, but then posit a real and true and substantial and fought for policy around adoption, I would vote for him hands-down, even though my personal position around abortion is more conservative. Then again, my vote probably doesn’t matter to either campaign because I don’t fall in line with the full platform of either.

That said—-positions held by a candidate on certain issues (no matter how small or insignificant—i.e. partial-birth abortion) does reveal something about intestinal fortitude and maybe even about the deep character of the candidate. Of course, it could be said that holding a position about helping to provide health care for the masses also reveals something of character (taking care of the least of these...) and indeed this position has the potential for a huge impact, whereas stopping partial-birth abortion only impacts a few. One could say, and rightly so in my opinion, that stopping unnecessary wars is pro-life! And they’d be right. And, of course, the impact would be huge. Maybe in the end it’s about weighing the cost and that’s how some can look beyond partial-birth abortion.

I know I seem a bit testy, mi amiga, but I genuinely do value your perspective and insight because I know you are a person of deep faith given what I know of you, and I would love to understand how some good folks can go with Obama so whole-heartedly without calling him out.

voixd'ange said...

Hey C - good to hear from you. Actually you don't sound testy at all to me.

I am grappling with all of these issues myself, I personally can't imagine ever having an abortion for even the most extreme reasons, but I would never want to force my decision in this regard on another woman. So I am weighing out in my own heart - can one be anti-abortion and pro-choice? If its possible I am.

About late term abortions - how do I answer that one? I can't imagine actually terminating the pregnancy after you have felt the life inside you . . . And I do feel that there needs to be very tight laws in regards to abortion. You shouldn't be able to go out and just buy one the way you buy a newspaper. The partial birth abortion issue, from what I understand is a very rare procedure that was abused by less than a handful of obstetricians and something that the pro-life movement has mis- used to try to shock people and further their own agenda. It is so rarely performed that Obama felt it was pointless to go through the process of passing a law just to make some people happy, or to try to look like you are doing the right thing when you are in effect doing nothing. So I guess that goes back to character, as does his vote on the war.

You are absolutely right in that some of us espouse a much broader definition of Pro-life, in that it includes ideas about war, capital punishment, healthcare,poverty, etc . . .

I have things that I don't like about Obama. Although his pastor and MY pastor should have never been an issue in the first place, I felt he could have been firmer in the way he handled it in the beginning and that it would have gone a long way towards keeping it from escalating the way it did. I actually was a little envious over the way John McCain handled a similar circumstance, and simply refused to be held accountable for another person's words.
My thing is this - If I am waiting to vote for the perfect candidate in which I am in total 100% agreement - I will never vote.
Living where I do, the Republican attack on the idea of "community organizers" is apalling. Community Oraganizers are the only ones who are going to make a difference. in order for there to be real change in these communities you must have people on the ground in touch with the real life residents and their needs. That Palin and McCain would attack that noble work leaves me horrified.


What are your thoughts about the so called "born alive" bills that Senator Obama voted against as a State Senator? I've heard that that the reason he voted against these on multiple occasions is because state law already covered a "fetus" born alive that should be given care.

As each day passes I get closer to making a decision to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket, but his record around the truly most extreme cases around abortion issues really bothers me and raises some serious red flags.

voixd'ange said...

Well honestly I don't know too much about it, but the reason that you stated that he gave sounds very much like him. honestly, even though I am against abortion, I don't give a lot of time to the issue because so many people already do - so I focus on other things, such as gun laws, etc . . . The fact that he won't give in and vote for redundant laws just to appease some people tells a lot about his character. Its probably the law professor in him.
I can tell you this, from what I know of him, I beleive he is a truly decent man, and that what you see with him is what you get.