Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pulling wool

Will someone please explain to me what the abortion issue has to do with electing our next president? This never fails to completely confuse me. The news today is all about how an arch bishop said he’d refuse holy communion to any of the candidates who supported abortion rights. And bam-smack-whirl, we’re in the middle of the whole abortion issue in the political arena again.

Before you tar and feather me, let me say that I do understand it’s the president who nominates the justices to the Supreme Court and that they in turn, can rule on abortion rights issues.
Still though, I have to say that abortion is about the last issue I’d ever weigh a potential candidate's vote on. And before I get too deep into this quagmire, I want to acknowledge my understanding of abortion as a serious issue and one well worth thought, discussion and action. I want to say that my stance against abortion as a major political issue has very little to do with the issue itself, but rather it’s place in the larger picture.

It seems that since Ronald Regan left office, many people have cast their vote for president based on the candidate’s views on abortion. I submit that perhaps we ought to be giving other issues our attention in terms of politics. I believe that perhaps a person’s views on abortion don’t make them either fit, or unfit to run a country. I think that, actually, it’s a pretty poor way to judge a person. In fact, I think its an extremely poor way to judge a person.

I think, if you’re a reasonable person, with reasonable intellect, regardless of which side of this issue you may fall upon, that you can at least look to the other side, though you may disagree with them to the core of your being, and still see that there is intelligence, even if you view it as flawed, behind their reasoning. So many people, so passionate about an issue almost demands that each side have an intelligent argument to put forth.

If we accept that fact, we accept that regardless of our own point of view, our own conviction, our own knowledge that our views are right, that those who disagree with us do so with equal verve and conviction that they are just as right and do so for reasons which they feel are every bit as valid as our own, then we can take the step back and realize that perhaps the arena of law and politics is not the place for this difference of opinion to work itself out. The issue is too heavily divided for there to ever be anything but stalemate on the political front.

And politicians will use the issue to enrage us. They will wield it about as a talisman against an opponent if it is beneficial to them, but I have to ask, what have any of them ever done about it once in office?

I think that abortion is a fake issue in the world of politics. I believe politicians and political parties use is as a manipulator of hearts and minds knowing full well that they can do nothing, will do nothing, as matters currently stand.

I submit that they do this because the real issues of a presidential election are much more tricky. Abortion is an easy issue. Pick a side and claim the moral high ground over that choice. In doing so, they cement a certain portion of the population who believe as they do.

Health care is not so cut and dry. It requires a plan that can be enacted. Withdrawl from Iraq is not so cut and dry. It’s easy to say either stay or go, but explaining how to go about each is much more difficult and anyone who thinks it’s as simple as making a decision is very sadly mistaken. The economy is not so easy an issue. Assuring Americans of jobs opportunities, low poverty rates, low unemployment, these things require a plan of action as well. Immigration is not an easy issue. Regardless of what you believe, steps must be taken. We cannot continue to keep the status quo. Action, one way or another must be taken and a comprehensive plan that really works for both sides of the issue is needed to make things work.

And there are other issues, of course, that will challenge the next president of our country. Domestic policy, foreign policy, the next president will have their hands very full. Regardless of who becomes our next president, you are fooling yourself if you think that the abortion issue will take precedent. You should be ashamed of yourself if you want it to take precedent.

Again, I don’t say this because I believe abortion isn’t an important issue, I say it because I believe it isn’t an important issue in contrast with the things that need to be done in the business or running a government. This country will not stand or fall on the basis of its abortion policies. The other issues I’ve mentioned, and others too, will have a direct effect on the business of running a government though.

I don’t care what a politician’s particular stance on abortion might be. It has no effect on the way this country is run. I don’t believe politicians will ever control abortion. If it were ever made illegal, it would become like the drug industry, making more money, under the table, from people who don’t have it to give. Making laws about abortion will not change what people do, just how they go about doing it. And if that minor victory is important to you, then you are unjust in your cause.

This is not an issue for politicians. It is an issue for minds and hearts. Take your fight to the place it belongs and force these politicians to start talking about how they will run the government. And then, perhaps, we can separate the wheat from the chaff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my first concern with this story is that the arch bishop could make that call. I understand cannon law to a degree but it is not a priests place to withdraw communion to a "practicing" constituent. Yes abortion might be against the law of the church but many things go against the grain and will not be agreed upon.
The role is to guide, not to be chief arbitrator.
I hate the muck that is raked up through an election. - R