Saruwatari Ayumi (junglemonkee) wrote,
Saruwatari Ayumi

The Semantics of Abortion

The inimitable snowwy made this post about the semantics of abortion. It touched off a lot of debate, but most of it missed the point. The point is not about whether abortion is a good thing or a bad thing. The point is why nobody is anxious to say "yes, abortion is distasteful, but sometimes, for the greater good, it's something you have to do."

In "Of Mice and Men," there is a point at which a man is speculating that someone else shot his dog, and laments that a man should shoot his own dog. I wholeheartedly agree - every person should own and take responsibility for his/her choices, most specifically the distasteful ones. We have fallen prey to the idea that people should be able to "feel good" about themselves all the time, no matter what damn fool thing they do. Everyone who makes a bad choice is a "victim" and everyone who doesn't know how to behave has someone outside him/herself to blame.


[comment by snowwy]Yet still, most people on our side buy into it, at least to level of distancing themselves from that final, dreadful option of abortion itself. If we're fighting for choice, we can't hold that one off at arm's length out of distaste, whether our own or that induced in us by others. We have to face it, and embrace it as necessary. Would you not agree?

This brings up an issue that I've heard over and over from several quarters - to wit - the wimping out of the liberal left. Since Watergate, the liberal left has covered itself in the laurels of the moral high ground, and then proceeded to sit its big fat ass down on those laurels and not move.

Meanwhile, the conservatives have been working like an illegal immigrant at chipping away at the foundation of that moral high ground. At this point, I've heard many things from conservatives that have shocked me, moreso because they are true. The thing that was the most shocking was the allegation that liberals are intolerant of anyone who doesn't support their viewpoint. Granted, this was being said by someone who supports politicians who are actively hunting down and squashing anyone who publicly opposes them, but what it pointed out to me is that the conservatives OWN THE SEMANTIC GAME at this point.

Karl Rove has taught them all exactly how to pose the age-old "when did you stop beating your wife" question over and over, and to pose it first and to pose it often, so that liberals are constantly on the defensive.

And because the left has only Maureen Dowd and Bob Herbert (love, Love, LOVE) who hold no official positions, we're left without anyone on the Hill to defend us. Our own politicians are so afraid of the well-organized conservatives in their own constituencies that they seem unable to say that the Emperor is not only naked but is covered with boils and scabs.

For years, now, liberals have stuck to their moral high ground, believing that it was somehow beneath us to engage the opposition when the opposition was just plain talking nonsense. The problem with ignoring them, though, was that instead of going away, they proliferated. People believed that if liberal politicians weren't refuting the claims made against them (that they were weak, ineffectual, indecisive) that they must be true. This has allowed the conservatives to cast themselves as the only group who is in favor of personal responsibility, of morality and of decency.

There is currently no one on the left who is saying that it is NOT responsible to bring children into the world that neither the individual nor the society at large can support, that it is NOT moral to allow women to have abortions because they don't have healthcare that would cover birth control pills and that, at the end of a shitty day in a shitty life, sometimes sex is the only comfort you can get, and that it is NOT decent to have men who have lived their entire lives in privilege and luxury to make decisions for women who are in the most desperate circumstances imaginable.

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