Democrats & Liberals Archives

Broke Nation

As a nation we are badly broken. Divided not united, financially dependent on other nations to fund our double deficits, Dependent on nations where we are hated to supply our oil and soon our natural gas. Leaning towards the establishment of religious tests for those who hold political office is another sign that our founding fathers bet on the wrong horse in establishing this Republic. They bet that education would prevail over prejudice and knowledge would trump ignorance. They firmly bet against the establishment of religion and toward the establishment of learned discourse as the foundation of our republic and now they are close to losing that bet.

I was raised in the Catholic Religion and educated in Catholic schools. I know that the priests and bishops are not ignorant men but they are supporters of a vast level of ignorance about the issue of abortion. They have also bent their faith to the purpose of supporting an American Empire that is now totally dependent on dominating the world by force of arms. The true issue with abortion is the conflict between any rights of a fetus that can be established within our society and the rights of a female parent of that fetus. If you establish the right to life of that fetus you must force the woman to use her body to sustain its life at some substantial physical expense to her person. If you come down on the side of the right of the fetus to life you come down against the right of the woman to form her own life.

Equivocating, quibbling and otherwise denying that incontrovertible fact is a constant in our national battle over abortion. The only choice here is the choice between allowing the death of a fetus or the suppression of the right of a woman to own her body during the time that a fetus occupies that body. Religion is the only basis for the support of the rights of the fetus over the rights of the woman. The logic of requiring the woman to sustain that life against her own interests is not ethical in its foundation but religious only. Ethics can be debated; religion is a matter of belief. The arguments for the dominance of the interests of a fetus are founded in beliefs not supported by logic or the rational application of logic to the issues involved.

The argument against abortion is that it cheapens human life. Poverty cheapens human life far more frequently in our world than abortion. War cheapens human life far more certainly in our world than abortion. Religious Intolerance cheapens human life far more absolutely than abortion ever could in our world today. Yet the same people who would murder to prevent abortion will argue that poverty war and intolerance are always with us and cannot be prevented.

By the same logic the deaths of fetuses occur every day in thousands of women’s bodies and many of those deaths could be prevented by the application of existing knowledge of medicine. No one has yet argued that women be required to report to their doctor as soon as the signs of their cycle indicate that they are pregnant. Yet, if the right to life of the fetus is established as dominant that must be done so that the fetus that is growing in their body can be sustained by the most rigorous application of medical knowledge possible.

One of my relatives aborted six fetuses by virtue of the fact that she could not work and remain active and sustain the life of a fetus inside her body. Should we have forced her to live in bed and impoverish her living children in order to save the lives of those fetuses? By any logic inherent in placing the rights of a fetus above those of its female parent we should have done that. She would certainly have bourne those fetuses to term had her body not rejected them in its effort to sustain her life; she would never have taken any direct action to have an abortion. But the death of a person by default is punished by laws against manslaughter, was she not guilty of that crime?

By the logic of the rights of a fetus dominating over those of a woman she was guilty. How far do we go in that direction once those fetal rights begin to dominate the lives of women? There is no obvious stopping point once we abandon the right of a woman to choose between pregnancy and abortion. However repugnant we may find abortion as a means of birth control the woman inevitably loses her right to decide how her body will be used if the fetal right to life becomes dominant. The arguments for women losing their rights are all founded in the religious doctrine of the sacredness of human life. That sacredness is compromised in endless ways by poverty, war and intolerance but they are not the subject of religious campaigns for or against various candidates. Only abortion has reached that level of attention because it conveniently divides the electorate into manageable and easily manipulated groups.

We are living in a world of terrorism because we have abandoned our dedication to freedom and equality in order to sustain our consumer society. The idea that we are fighting to impose freedom on Iraq is as absurd as the idea that we can continue to prosper as a nation by digging ourselves deeper into debt every year. We cannot sustain prosperity for the length of our lives and those of our children by wasting fuel and other resources at the pace of our current economy. We are consuming irreplaceable resources and demanding an unsustainable level of goods and services from our world.

For sixty years it has been our national policy to use any level of force necessary to keep oil flowing around the world. We have compromised with dictators worse than Saddam Hussein and with Saddam himself to sustain that flow. Every President since 1932, F.D.R. included, has supported that policy and now we are so dependent on that flow that we cannot stop even when it threatens us with constant warfare for fifty years. Dick Cheney has told us the war on terror will take that long. The reason it will take that long is it will take us that long to extract the last of the oil from under the Middle East and move it where our economic model requires that it be sent. There are many great things about our economic model. Our dependence on using natural resources that do not belong to us at an increasingly unsustainable cost in lives and money is not one of them. Our nation is broken but it can be fixed and made healthy again, it is up to us to do that. Not the President who is trapped by our economic model but the people themselves must fix this nation.

Replacing Roe V Wade may be tried but it will not fix our nation. Adding religious training to our public educational system may be tried but it will not fix our nation. National health care may be passed in one form or another but it will never fix our nation. We are consuming more than we produce. We must either produce more or consume less by about one trillion dollars per year or our nation will bankrupt itself. That is the first thing we must fix. The second is the idea that one person’s beliefs must dominate over those of another who just as fervently believes a different thing entirely. We cannot sustain a Republic if that is how we are going to operate our political machinery. Civil war will result from that political dedication to forcing compliance with our beliefs as it always has in the past. God bless and keep you all safe in the short term, the long term is certainly up to you. ©Henri Reynard/GoldenBrush Interactive

Posted by Henri Reynard at November 15, 2004 8:45 AM