Thursday, September 25, 2008

Choose Life

I think I have finally awoken from my baby haze and two-week paternity leave to address a highly divisive issue that has somehow escaped this year's presidential campaign: abortion. I personally see this issue as non-political and more of a health issue. However, I realize as McCain becomes more and more desperate, he will go to the anti-choicers for some 11th hour assistance.

Actually, what woke me up was a Facebook post by a former high school classmate of my brother's. Marla (her name has not been changed to protect her identity) posted a diatribe against any presidential candidate that is not pro-life. She doesn't name names, but we all know what she's getting at.

I decided to respond to Marla's post. I wrote something like this...

So, which candidate is more forthright/forthcoming with his faith?

Obama regularly speaks of his faith. In fact, I would argue that he is way more comfortable with his faith than McCain. Besides, McCain cheated on his first wife with his current wife. Isn't there something in the Bible about that?

I often like to imagine Jesus as our president. Of course, most Republicans would accuse him of Socialism. He would regularly require the rich to give what they have to the poor. There would be health care for all and no war.

So, when I read your post and considered these issues, I assumed that you will be supporting Barack Obama for president. I salute your courage and forward thinking in such an important election.

Take care and God bless,
Marla, being the professional writer she is, responded...quite poetically. Check it...
I'm not looking for a guy with a perfect past. I'm looking for a guy who values human life.

God knits babies together in their mothers' wombs. I don't mess with that. Neither would Jesus.
Yes. That's what she wrote.

"God knits babies together in their mothers' wombs. I didn't mess with that. Neither would Jesus."

What the hell does that mean? I asked R if she remembers feeling any knitting. She said other than the hat she knitted for Lucia, she couldn't recall any yarn-craft going on in her uterus.

I still think Jesus would make a good president.

Anyway, I had to respond...

Values life? Oh, you mean fixing America's health care system, ending a war, creating programs that prevent unwanted pregnancies and STD's, supporting stem cell research, reducing domestic and gender-based violence, and fighting poverty? Those are all ways to improve the quality of life in this country. You're right! Barack Obama is definitely the right choice.

Have a blessed day!
In all fairness, Marla has not had a chance to respond, but I can't possibly see how she won't agree with me...unless God also crochets babies or bakes them in her Easy-Bake Oven.

Why is this still an issue for so many voters this political season? Have we not seen the alternative to safe, legal abortions? Didn't the pro-lifers learn from Bush that a presidential election will not overturn Roe v. Wade? How does this issue really affect their lives? Really?

What is so "pro-life" about a "pro-life" political stance?

The only way to ensure that our daughters, mine included, have the same opportunities as men is to allow them the choice to continue or terminate a pregnancy. If a man does not want a baby, he can maintain his traditional role as father and have little to do with raising the child...or he could just leave. Besides, he doesn't have to carry the fetus for nine months. These situations create terrible disadvantages for women.
Our country doesn't do enough as it is for children (and mothers) once they're born. We don't fund daycare and preschools the way we should. There is no guarantee that a child will receive the health care he/she deserves once they are born. Of course, a baby's mother only makes 75 cents of every man's dollar, so who can afford a baby in the first place? And if he/she survives all this, don't expect to get any handouts for college.

We are so lucky to have Lucia in our lives, but it is so wonderful because it was our choice to have her. We are privileged to make that choice. We are privileged to have educations, careers, and a home. I don't want to live in a country where reproduction is not our choice.

What really gets me about these one-issue voters is that they don't see the big picture. They often support candidates that aim to cut social welfare programs, propose abstinence-only education, and are pro-death penalty. I realize that social welfare is a problem, but one has to wonder what Jesus would do. I believe that Jesus would provide for the nation's poor and needy. The abstinence-only education makes no sense. Kids will have sex no matter what we try to tell them. Why not provide them with information and protection so that abortions are not even a necessity? And do I have to explain the hypocrisy of being pro-life and pro-death penalty?

Many so-called pro-life voters will flock to the voting booths this November to cast a ballot for John McCain. Is this really the best choice? George W Bush never delivered on the promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. What makes them think McCain is different? In fact, McCain used to think that abortion should be a state issue until he later flip-flopped and claimed to support the reversal of RvW. In fact, even his wife, Cindy (whom he's referred to as a c---), was confused on her husband's stance.

Barack Obama, a devoutly Christian man, supports a woman's right to choose, not necessarily abortion. In fact, like many Democrats, Obama would like to lower the number of abortions through education and health programs. Shouldn't that be the goal? Shouldn't we want less abortions rather than more back alley hatchet jobs?

I, for one, am glad that abortion is not an issue this year, but I know that it is only a matter of time before McCain has to go "there" and rile up the Christian right (or wrong, whichever). I just wish voters could look past an issue with which the president has very little to do.

I agree that we should vote for life. I am voting to end the war. That should save a few lives. I am voting to end the death penalty. I am voting to provide health care for every American. That should make life better. I am voting to tax those who can afford to give a little more so that others may live a little easier. I am voting for the candidate who will make life better for everyone, not just the very rich. I am voting for Barack Obama for more than one reason. His stance on protecting a woman's right to choose is just one of them.

1 comment:

abby said...

You really say a lot here, Z, that really aligns with my own feelings and thoughts on the election. This is a very "me too" comment. I'm a big fan of Barbara Kruger and her work, especially related to choice.

I wanted to mention that in medieval art there's an image of Mary knitting jesus in the womb. One of my OSU lit profs told me about it but I've never been able to find it, which I've tried to do for some of my work connecting knitting to women's activist strategies (which sometimes are also connected to religion, as well as antiwar). Anyway, it's an interesting image to consider, imho.