There is widespread acknowledgement that political acrimony and partisan polarization are at a record high within living memory. “Americans are more divided than ever,” proclaims the Associated Press. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton noted in her concession speech that “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought.” And then the last four years happened, culminating in the Capitol Riot and the second impeachment of Trump.
I do not believe that our nation is about to die, but I do think that our democracy has been growing increasingly unhealthy. And in the long run – by the time my grandkids are old – I do believe that our democracy will have fallen apart at the seams unless current trends are reversed. Continue reading
I am personally thrilled with Amy Barrett as the newest Supreme Court Justice, though far from thrilled by the process by which she became such (including the Republican-controlled Senate’s procedural hypocrisy in deferring Garland’s hearing but rushing Barrett’s). But amid the discouraging signs of the politicization of the Supreme Court confirmation process, the decline of political discourse in general, and the nation’s increasing polarization, I read one article that I found very encouraging: a self-proclaimed liberal writer who personally knew Justice Barrett back in her days as a clerk for Scalia and who, though anticipating that he will disagree with many of her opinions, is glad that the court is getting a brilliant legal thinker who is also a good person. The nation deeply needs this kind of capacity to recognize goodness and merit in people who are on “the other side,” and I want to recognize and honor that when I see it. Continue reading
I watched Trump’s inauguration address along with, according to him, trillions of other people. I was pained by the vitriolic rhetoric and us-versus-them mentality, and then I wasted an hour sinking deeper into misery scrolling through other people’s responses to the event. (See our very liberal, very smart friend’s response to Trump here.) Some were funny. Some were depressing. One, however, really scared me.
I can’t be sure that the post was real, but the woman’s confusion and fear seemed to be viscerally genuine. She wrote that she had been trying to have a baby and had just been to the doctor and been told she was pregnant. She was overjoyed—until she realized that it was Trump’s inauguration day. “Now I’m torn,” (and I paraphrase), “I don’t want my baby associated with that horrible man, so I’m considering getting an abortion.”
I was floored. I am not pro-Trump; I remember telling my husband through tears late on Election Night, “you PROMISED me he wouldn’t win!” as if it were his fault. With David, I understand the fear and pain and worry about the future of the country when someone counter to your views gains political preeminence. But even if we’d elected Big Brother or Hitler or even Dracula to be president, I would never consider having an abortion just because the announcements coincided. Maybe it’s my stubborn Irish heritage, but I could never concede the fight like that: he may have won the presidency…
But I will win the war.
I’m not talking about a partisan war, or even a political one. I’m talking about the fight for goodness, morality and human rights. Women, especially, have a superpower in the war we are all fighting—but it’s not one we generally think about. Continue reading
Abortion is NOT the Holocaust (and I’m Pro-Life)
This election—and any election year—always carries a heavy, tense question among pro-lifers. The question is, can you ethically vote for a candidate you otherwise like if they are pro-choice? To those who are already pro-choice, such a question sounds narrow minded, but if you actually believe that a fetus has life and “is a person, no matter how small”, then it’s a valid question. After all, hopefully none of us, conservatives or liberals, would vote for any candidate who promoted killing the elderly, disabled, or a minority race. But when people compare abortions to the holocaust, they are warping the actual situation, and even hurting the pro-life movement.
In light of the congressional testimonies concerning abortion, and because abortion has been a popular topic on our blog, I thought I would try and look at the issue from both sides. As with all debates there is a lot of complexity and I don’t see an easy answer. To me, the differences between the pill, the day after pill, and an early abortion seem tenuous and somewhat arbitrary—the location of a few cells. No matter how you do it, birth control is unnatural and stops somethings natural. And yes, I am including abstinence in the list of unnatural acts, particularly among a married couple. But there are many unnatural things that have improved the world, and I think birth control is one of them. And here I can sympathize with some of the pro-choice arguments.
Woman’s liberation has been more than a political movement; it has also been a technological feat. Continue reading
I just finished reading The Good Earth, a portrayal of thousands of years of ancient Chinese history wrapped up in the life of one man. Wang Lung is a father and farmer living in a world of tradition, superstition and blunt mortality, whose existence revolves around the dispassionate but life-giving land. Pearl S. Buck writes,
“There was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods . . . Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together— together— producing the fruit of this earth.”
The land is both nurturing and uncaring, life-providing and destroying. It exists beyond the little lives and little centuries. What in Modernity compares; how can we understand with our tiny first world problems and contingency-sparse existence? Yet as one reads, the vitality of the land imprints like a footprint in the soil of a freshly turned mind; one can feel one’s sympathies and world view shifting and even temporarily settling into an ancient order of life, of death, of birth. It is somehow familiar to some primal ancestral self, still stirring in the blood from ages ago.