Abortion?: I support abortion rights wholeheartedly. I know that no matter how careful a couple is, accidents happen and I think that it's grossly unfair to saddle otherwise-responsible people with a burden they did what they could to prevent. I think that the whole abstinence thing is naive and simplistic, and ignores why people have sex to begin with. I also think that saying that giving a child up for adoption is a good alternative to abortion is also naive and simplistic. There are enormous emotional consequences for both acts, and they are not the same. I had an abortion at the age of 15, and it's a decision that shaped my life and that I don't regret for a single instant.
Prostitution?: There is nothing that will ever be done to curb the sex industry. That being said, I think that prostitutes should be licensed and that any establishment offering sex should be subject controls as stringent as those that govern establishments that serve food.
Alcohol?: Our country's attitude about alcohol and other drugs is very much informed by economics, and reflects the kind of thinking that a committee with the bottom line in mind demonstrates. Hence the decision that marijuana, cocaine, heroin are illegal and alcohol and tobacco are legal. Alcohol and tobacco have better lobbyists.
With the kind of advertising that alcohol receives, it's difficult to give my own children a coherent message. I find it difficult to answer questions that boil down to "why is this wrong now, but not later? Why is this wrong, but that very similar thing is not wrong?"
So my attitude has become "anything that impairs one's judgement is something that one must think carefully before indulging in." If you drink, understand the consequences of it before you start. Know what you're going to do if you have to drive somewhere, make an important decision or get the wild urge to get a Care Bear tattoo.
Marijuana?: See above.
Smoking?: This one is the most troublesome to me. Smokers tend to think that their smoking only affects them, but they don't see the haze of cigarette smoke that clings to them like a cloud. Now that most buildings in California are smoke-free, this means that there are smokers huddled in every doorway, creating a gauntlet of smoke through which I must pass to get inside. I do think it was a mistake to outlaw smoking in bars. A bar is a place that people chose to frequent. If you don't want to go in because there are people smoking, you don't have to go in. It's not like smoking in the grocery store or the hospital.
My grandfather died of emphysema. It took him more than 20 years, all of which took place during my mother's lifetime. She told me that he was sick when she was born, and it's why the family moved from Edinburgh to Phoenix. As soon as she could drive, it became my mother's job to pick up the oxygen bottles that my grandfather needed constantly. My mother spent her entire childhood taking care of him, and she was pregant with her own first child when he died - she never got a childhood. Smoking did this.
Other drugs?: If your life is so miserable that you must escape it with drugs, there is much more wrong than drugs. I could lump television in here with all the other drugs that either take the pain of your own situation away or at least pretty up a life that's dull and sad. But when the outside stimulation is gone, you're left with a life that's dull and sad. Wouldn't you just want to fix that first?
Gay marriage?: There are two distinct things meant by the term "marraige." The first is the joining of people's lives, the sharing of goals and dreams, planning their present and future to include each other. That is the practical kind of marriage and the kind that no church or government can (or should) regulate. The second thing is a legal consolidation of resources and appointment of a representative in various legal circumstances. Why anyone should care about this is beyond me. What does it matter to you whether the "spouse" covered by my insurance is male or female? How does it hurt you that the person who inherits my property should I die without a will might be the same gender as me? I find that it's hard enough to find a single person in this world who will love you unconditionally, and those people who are fortunate enough to find that person deserve to insert them into their lives in whatever way they want.
Illegal immigrants?: White people have this notion that the U.S. is such a fucking paradise that people from all over the world flock here just to be part of it. That's crap. The fact of the matter is that America is a giant fat guy who's still sitting down, stuffing his face as fast as he possibly can. There are waiters who are falling over themselves to bring the big fat guy even more, knowing that as long as he keeps eating, they're going to be paid well and probably get a fat tip. There are the cooks who don't actually come into contact with the fat guy, but if the food's not good, he's sure to tell the waiters who come back and abuse the cooks and threaten to fire them. There are other diners who want a share of the food, but their needs are being neglected by the waiters who know that those other diners aren't going to spend as much or leave as big a tip, and so aren't worth the time. And then there are the mosquitoes. They are the immigrants. The mosquitoes are attracted by the smell of the big, fat guy. They bite his flesh, causing him minor discomfort. They take his blood, but it's a miniscule fraction of the total blood of his body. They come because he is bloated and has more in his system than he needs. West Nile aside, they are not going to kill him. But don't think for a minute that the mosquitoes think this guy is great, or even better than the foetid pond that they came from. He's just a giant fat guy who's got blood to spare. And no matter how many mosquitos you swat, there are zillions more. If you weren't so fat and juicy, they wouldn't give you a second look.
Drunk driving?: Idiots deserve death. And if they don't die from the accidents they cause, they should be hunted down and gibbeted by the families of those they kill. This includes YOU, Archbishop O'Brien.
Cloning?: Good luck. Life isn't that simple. There have been no successful long-term clones of animals. Even Dolly the sheep aged and died prematurely. We just plain don't know enough to successfully create human beings, so I really don't see what people are all up in arms about.
Racism?: My father once told me that there will always be people who need an entire class of people to hate, just so that they can feel superior. How pathetic are they?
Premarital sex?: I consider it the test-drive before buying the car. In fact, it's occasionally a good idea to fuck them *before* the first date, just to make sure that they're worth sitting through dinner and a movie with.
Religion?: I have a special place in my heart for those of great faith. I can't help but love people who do what they do with the overwhelming desire to do good in the world. That being said, I think that people who are angry, greedy and stupid in the name of religion are lying either to themselves or the world at large. It's very difficult for me to think that God is on the side of anyone mowing people down with machine guns and tanks.
The war in Iraq?: Planned well in advance of 9/11, pushed through Congress with fabricated evidence to take advantage of the ignorance of most Americans regarding the history, geography and politics of the Middle East, and going to last much longer than Bush realized, even though Saddam Hussein told him going in that it would turn into a long, bloody guerilla war because the Iraqis don't want us there.
Bush?: Bought and sold.
Downloading music?: Frankly, I have a hard time looking at Madonna's or Eminem's lifestyle and feeling very bad for them. Nobody in their households are missing any meals because somebody donwloaded a song. And anyone who's downloading Britney Spears gets what they deserve. Her music.
The legal drinking age?: Is completely arbitrary, so why can't the government be consistent? As long as someone is still in school (high school, college, whatever) it should be illegal. I'd be happy to see the age for the draft, drinking, voting, etc., all raised to 25. Hell, make it 40. Just make it consistent.
Porn?: I think that it encourages people to objectify one another. It means that I get to have you be sexually available to me without my having to do anything more than pay some money for it. And that means that if I ever see you in person, or anyone who reminds me of you, I will think of them that way. I will act inappropriately because I will believe that everyone should be that way - sexually available to me without my having to make any effort.
Frankly, if you want sex from me, you have to convince me that you deserve it, and no number of dollars is going to do that.
Suicide?: I believe that a person's life is her own to do with as she wishes. We will never know why some people decided that their family and friends would be better off without them, but I also feel that I'm not in a position to say "My happiness is more important than yours. You should be willing to live a life of pain and suffering or submit to mind-numbing medication so that I can keep you." The end of life is the end of life, and no matter how it comes, those left behind are going to feel the sting of it. The people in my life who have died have died of disease, old age, auto accident, suicide, murder. Perhaps suicide makes the survivors feel that they failed, but I don't see it that way.
And if you want to defriend me now, you probably should.