Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Palin Syndrome

There's something really nagging at me the last couple of days. I didn't think it would get to me but it has and I have to say something about it.

It's about none other than Sarah Palin, her nomination as McCain's running mate, for which I believe she is unqualified. But mostly, my thoughts are about whether the children of candidates are fair game for the sport of electoral politics.

I'm inclined to state my opinion on this as no, it's not okay to do this. There is a thread going at Liberality's where she posted about this issue, very fairly and succinctly gave her take on it, quoted from the posts of some of the people on her blogroll and invited other readers to speak their minds on the issue. What ensued was a rather respectful batch of comments, both pro and con regarding the question I'm musing.

But this post isn't really about that post and its comments, specifically. It is on the same topic and I promise to eventually get there, but rather than the comment I posted there, this will be lengthier and directed at my own blog friends and acquaintances; a couple of whom I share with Liberality.

At one time I was obsessive about politics. I worked with peace disarmament groups at the grass-roots and college level and attended local and national protests during the Freeze Movement. In fact, I tortured my poor boyfriend, then husband and now friend, The Cunning Runt, with my fatalism, negativity and disdain for the U.S. government. I still hold the disdain, but the negativity and fatalism are no longer a part of the way I look at things. I do still become discouraged and outraged and sad and scared. What I no longer do is wallow (and I used to be a real wallower, too...about everything!) I do what I can to stay informed, I've long held to my ideals, beliefs and values politically and socially. I've mostly lived by them.

In the last half decade or so, I've been feeling differently about life. I've discovered that anger, resentment and bitterness toward others, toward issues, toward life and living just don't work for me. This isn't to claim that I'm "holier than thou" or "goody-goody". If you were to ask my children, my partner and my closest friends you'd hear, among other things that I get angry. My kids would even say - a lot. You'd hear that I can be very blunt and direct at times and that I don't always listen. I have some history behind me on these counts and I am aware that I'll spend years trying to repair it. But repair it and maintain it I must. As Divajood stated in a comment on this post I wrote: "justifiable anger" is a luxury I can no longer afford. And that is exactly what it's come to for me in recent years.

Anger destroys me. It has wreaked havoc on my marriage and doubtless left some sort of impact on my daughters. I'm not beating myself up for it. It will do no good. I'm not using life-long depression as an excuse. Even though anger can be a manifestation of the illness, part of getting a grip on it is trying to keep the anger monster in check.

I want to make it clear that I am staunchly pro-choice. Having two biological daughters and two steps, makes me particularly alert on and passionate for, this issue. I also want to make it clear, if it isn't obvious by my side-bar, that I am rather left-wing in my politics. My father was a lefty working class dude who made sure we knew the truth. Left-wing politics are in the family genetic code.

I don't write extensively about politics on my blog because it's only one facet, albeit an important one, of my thinking, my passions, my life and my ideals. Since my blog is many pieces of who I am, politics crop up here and there. How could they not? But politics do no longer inform my entire way of being.

Which brings me to how anger and politics, politics and anger, mean-spirited mud-slinging and people' s private lives inter-twine. And, to Sarah Palin and the whole mess surrounding her nomination, including her family life. Deep breath.

Do I feel that Palin lacks the experience necessary to be a V.P. candidate? That doesn't concern me so much, as Barak Obama is also lacking in experience on certain levels and though not my first choice, he's our only hope now. Do I condemn Palin as a bad mother because her teen daughter showed up pregnant? Not really. As I've already stated, I raised my daughters with access to information and birth control. One of my daughters, the youngest, is not sure if she could follow through on an abortion should she get pregnant. That is her choice; it's her body. And if she chose to have that baby, I would support her as best I could. What I really take issue with in Palin's case is that while she sees fit to encourage her daughter's choice, she's simultaneously working hard against my and my daughters' right to choose what's best for us in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. That is the issue for me. It is discouraging and maddening to me that politicians want to take away a woman's right to choose. Does this justify angry, vicious and mean-spirited attacks from the media and the blogs on her young daughter and her boyfriend? I have to say that for me, it doesn't.

I have little respect for the likes of Sarah Palin. What I do hold respect for are the ideals and the teachings of many wise people from Jesus to Martin Luther King Jr. that hate begets hate, that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", not to mention (and call me simplistic and naive, if you want to) The Golden Rule. Yeah, that little rule you learned in school that now, more than ever, we should be teaching our children. I try to daily with my students but also for them, I try to live it. Not just for them; but for myself and my own family; for the brotherhood and sisterhood of man and woman kind and yes, even for the fragile planet upon which we depend so much and care for so little.

I hope you can now understand some of the reasons I aschew mud-slinging. Satire is one thing and I appreciate it but nasty snark and snotty politics turn me off. If politics weren't so much a part of the fabric of my up-bringing and my life, I would be tempted to drop out completely. Not just because of the constant up-hill battles against the hawks, the neo-cons, the fascists, the racists, the powerful rich, but also because of the negativity and nastiness of the "liberals".

I've only been blogging since February. My first introduction to the bitter taste of nastiness came from the attacks on Hilary Clinton in the media and small and large blogs alike. I was not a supporter of Hilary Clinton and I detested the way she slimed her opponent. By the same token, I took issue with the Obama campaign taking aim at her. But even war between the candidates I can understand. It was the blogs and blogger comments that made me crazy. At every turn, there were nasty insults and foul, sexist remarks. I took issue with that and said so plainly in a couple of comments to blog posts that I read. I also took every opportunity to talk to people I know in the non-virtual world about my disdain for such practices.

Sarah Palin, as far as I'm concerned, is no exception. Her stance on just about everything is the exact anti-thesis of my entire belief system. That's only the little of her that is known so far! And yet, I can't bring myself to engage those who drudge up the dirt on her family; particularly her young daughter. You can say that Palin deserves it. You may say that in American electoral politics anything is fair game. You can even claim that's the only way to win. You may even be right. But I don't want any part in it other than to highlight the issues of the Republican platform and to illustrate the hypocricy I see as evident. Who and what the Palin girl is or is not; whether she drinks beer and fucks like a bunny after (sorry) and what kind of family her boyfriend comes from don't interest me. Hell, I could even care less if her mother-in-law votes for her or not. I simply don't believe that type of voyeurism serves any purpose other than for people to either spew off (as in the case of lowly bloggers like myself) or in the case of big blogs and news media, to peddle their banal journalism; if you can call it that in some cases.

In conclusion, I want to make it clear that I'm not referring to any of the blogs of my regular readers. Certainly DCup's essay on the issue on her blog Politits was quite fair and mostly stuck to the issue that Palin appears to hold most dear: her so-called "pro-choice" stance, which illustrates her hypocracy. I enjoyed and appreciated that post.

I find it sort of ironic that people who throw their little fists of mud at people like Palin because they feel it's the only way for Obama to win the election, aren't following the lead of the candidate himself, who refuses to engage in such tactics. I'm no huge Obama fan. The point I'm trying to make is: the Dems have a very well orchestrated campaign, with lots of people thinkin' and thinkin' on behalf of the big win for the White House. Perhaps their miscalculating but if the Obama campaign thought they could win by engaging in disparaging the Palin family, I think they would go ahead and do that. So why are the liberal, lefties or whatever you want to call us, voters engaged in it? I have to question the motives.

If you've made it this far. I thank you. Really. I needed to get that off my chest. And I don't have time to edit this, so it's going "as is", even if there are holes in my thinking or typos or what have you. And my apologies for failing to link people. I'll try to get to it later.

I'm now off to watch that nauseating RNC.

32 comments:

  1. Thank you, Pagan, for understanding that I'm writing about the choice issue because it's a strong conviction of mine. I support and defend Bristol Palin's right to have and raise her baby. I simply want her mother to extend that same choice - to have or not have babies - to my daughters. And to me, for that matter (perish the thought!)

    Frankly, I'd love to see that issue laid to rest forever, but since the Republicans thought it was a good idea to nominate a person who is pretty extreme in her views, then I find it necessary to address it.

    And I understand your frustration with the level of discourse in some places and I suspect you exercise your right to bypass those folks. I think that's an excellent tactic for staying calm in this silly season.

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  2. I think that the underlying issues that are making people jump down Palin's throat have less to do with her family than general resentment at the behavior of Palin and other militant, Christian fundamentalists.

    The Christian extremists attack and judge others constantly for not living up to their archaic value system. Yet, nearly all of the militant Christians don't live up to that value system either.

    I see the whole thing more as a fightback than anything else. There may be better ways of handling this, but I think it is important to understand the underlying, and legitimate, grievances behind the Palin backlash.

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  3. I believe I understand that, libhomo. And yes, there are better ways of handling the fight-back. I agree.

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  4. i have read quite a few blogs talking about the palin pregnancy issue and not one has made disparaging remarks about bristol. most question the odd circumstances of palin's 'delivery' and i personally think bristol is the mother of trig. again, i don't think it's necessarily newsworthy. palin sucks as a mom but that isn't even relevant to hash over.

    what i find debatable is the lies, the coverups, the type of scandals she is involved in and the fact that she has much less experience in important areas than barack obama. the only reason i have talked about bristol palin is in conjunction with the obvious lies and cover up her mother perpetuated surrounding trig's birth- and most recently, the apparent need to try and cover up her current pregnancy. i don't want someone in office that lies or is secretive- she is currently refusing to testify and claiming executive privilege- we have had quite enough of that with bushco.

    so, as to whether candidates' minor children are fair game- i would say only to the degree their parents put them out there.

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  5. Betmo: I agree with you about the cover-ups and lies. Those issues are certainly worth our questioning and probing. That's not what was at the heart of my post, though.

    And regarding the children of politicians being fair game: I maintain that children should not have to be the victims of their parents unfortunate choices. The fact that Palin's daughter is out there is not her fault. I can't and don't want to change what people write about and take issue with. I just don't want to take part in it.

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  6. DCup: I thought your post was mature, fair and well-thought out. While reading it, I shared not only your opinion but your frustration.

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  7. The only thing I resent about Bristol Palin's pregnancy, is that it was so obviously concealed, in the initial Palin Roll-out last Friday.

    I mean, if Palin had said "I'm a Hockey Mom of five . . . and soon to be a Hockey Grandma!" that would have been the end of it, as far as I'm concerned (well, except for the noxious anti-choice/anti-sex ed policies of Palin).

    But she didn't. Having a daughter get knocked up out-of-wedlock, didn't fit the IMAGE she (and McCain) wanted to portray, of their All-American Family---so she hid it. And revealed it, ONLY when bloggers/tabloids starting digging up things that "didn't quite fit".

    [Speaking of All-American Family: what business of ours is it, really, that their youngest child has Down's Syndrome? I think THAT story is being cynically milked, as well. But was anything as scary, as that image of McCain doing the two-handed reach-around w/ Bristol and Baby-Daddy Levi today? "Look marital, kids, if you want your mom in the White House!" Sheesh. :-X]

    I'm really sick, moreover, of the Right-Wing sycophants knocking down Straw Men re the meme, "the Left is sexist". I defy you to point out ONE THING anyone on the Left has said, which has been sexist re Palin. NO ONE has said Palin can't serve as Veep because she has 5 kids, or a Down's kid, or a knocked-up kid! It's just been said the Left has said this, BY the Right!

    No, it's her policies (which are too many and too scary to list), and MANIFEST lack-of-understanding of the issues, which make her a poor choice to be "a heartbeat away" (of the 72 year-old "Face Cancer Guy", in Jon Stewart's words). NOT anything about her XX chromosomes or genitals!

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  8. JCF: I agree with you on many of your points. I'm not completely convinced that there was a cover-up of the pregnancy in the sense that it was meant to be kept a secret the entire time. Maybe bloggers forced the issue to come to the fore more quickly but no way could this be kept under wraps for much longer, regardless.

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  9. Again, I have to reiterate that I'm not against forcing Palin to be questioned and probed regarding her problems as governor of Alaska; nor for her extreme far-right policies on contraception, sex education (or lack there-of) and abortion. I simply believe that the kids should be left alone. And I'm not a sheep. I'm not saying that because Obama said it. I happen to agree with his stance that family is off-limits. And these precedents of anything goes, even taking lethal aim at the children of public figures, trickles down into society in a way that makes me sick. I'm sorry. I see it in microcosm in local politics; even the inner politics of organizations. The ridicule, bashing and abuse of family members of highly visible people is just another manifestation of vicious gossip that serves little purpose other than to be ugly.

    A lot of you feel there is a higher purpose in this. I say the ends don't justify the means. And while I respect each and every one of you who has commented so far and it is none of you who prompted my post, I still maintain and feel strongly that the kids should be left alone.

    This doesn't mean the issue is closed or the comments should close at this point. I've learned a lot about where you stand and I share much of perspective. I welcome others to continue to voice their viewpoints.

    Peace.

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  10. The end never justifies the means. I couldn't agree with you more.

    The only thing I hate more than the mud-slinging would have to be the hypocrisy you spoke of. I feel like a little kid in an argument, standing there and crying, "You don't play fair!" It's just plain frustrating.

    I can't stand Mrs. Palin. If she was just someone I ran into in the super market, I couldn't stand her. Nothing to do with politics. I tried watching the convention, and just had to turn her off. But....and it's a huge "but"....no one should have to put up with the slurs and nastiness she is facing, and an even bigger "but"....No one's children should have to face it. I don't care if they are angels or if they are devils. They are children. They are all going to learn about life at its worst, very quickly I'm afraid.

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  11. This is a great post and you elucidate some of what I'd like to say if I had your eloquence. And wisdom!

    I feel very similarly about anger and have taken a similar journey.

    That said, anger has been and always will be a part of me. It is how much of a part and how it gets worked out that matters.

    So yesterday I wrote a very angry sounding post about how I am no longer going to post in the negative, but I did feel compelled to say it with the force of my anger, that I could not swallow.

    My point was that for me, staying in that place is not productive for me or for this country.

    If people want or need to say things about Palin, I support their right to do so. If we fight with each other over slights, anger and misgivings about certain positions then we play into the hands of the GOP.

    So I say, let's all visit each others blogs but if you don't like what you read, just leave.

    Is that possible?

    We all have different voices. Us fighting with each other over them won't help.

    I want to work for positive change. I don't think Obama is the best candidate, but as you so wonderfully said, he is the best candidate we have now.

    Peace to you and thanks for your wisdom and how you share it with great generosity and hope.

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  12. I have mixed feelings about this issue. I do agree that Palins daughter should be left out of the lime light but by the same token, Palin herself has made this whole controversy an issue by her rigid stance on abortion and funding sex education. My heart goes out to daughter and boyfriend, two youngsters who have found themselves in the middle of a political discourse. I can't imagine the pressure they must feel in regards to getting married even though at their age it would be a disaster.
    I also remember well the comment McCain made about the Clintons daughter: She is so ugly that Janet Reno must be her father. I didn't see all the outrage from the far right when that remark was made! So as far as leaving family out of the discourse it goes both ways don't you think?

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  13. Pagan, Your post seemed to be extremely well thought out and very well stated. I agreed with most everything you said. There is a lot more I want and will say later but I'm late and walking out the door! I felt compelled to make sure that I at least left you a comment as to the importance of what you are writing about and have to say. I too, will have a little different take on a few things, but the way you wrote this and how it was filled with such passion and conviction was admirable and to be respected! We each are writing our own individual beliefs, feelings and thoughts "that belong to us" and should not be dismissed or discounted as "too different" by others. Even if we totally disagree, we should respect each others opinions. Different, maybe, but the degree of importance should never be discounted...As you referring to something about, The Golden Rule...Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... As well as, until you have walked a mile in my shoes, let no one judge me! These are great ways to live our lives by, I think! This greater than thou judgemental tone that some people seem to think they are given that entitles them the right to judge, makes my skin crawl!! Will try to be shorter and more to the point as I have more time to think and reflect and collect my thoughts in a more concise manner about all of this. I'm late so...out the door I go! Fantastic and Important Post! Peace!!!

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  14. I am trying so hard to follow Obama's lead! I have anger issues and I too work on them every single day - moment by moment.

    My feeling about Bristol Palin is - leave her alone! period! that should include those who are using the poor child as a poster girl for family values.

    As I continue to watch the RNC I must admit to getting angrier and angrier. They are so mocking of all things complex and thoughtful.

    I especially resent all the Republicans calling Obama soft and elite because he believes in and practices civil intelligent discourse. So I get angry for him LOL

    I hope I continue to keep my sense of humor and my humanity and my manners but I often feel like I can't promise that.

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  15. An outsider's view (forgive my ignorance if it appears to be too obviously transparent):

    It seems to me that Palin and her family have become 'fair game' for some because she is a candidate who has gone out of her way to show off her 'family values'. I agree with one of the above comments which points out that more often than not it is such 'Christian fundamentalists' who turn out to be the biggest hypocritres of all. These are the sort of people who make most ordinary folk feel like throwing up. Having said this, I don't think that it is fair to make attacks on Palin's family members. The person at fault is Palin herself - not for holding her views but for holding double standards. Isn't that so often the way with politicians? It's, 'do as I say, not as I do'. This is the reason I have no time for ANY politicians.

    I don't know enough about Palin to comment deeply about her views in the broad sense. I do have some sympathy for her anti-abortion stance, however (ducks head and jumps into fox-hole). I want to say this because I consider myself to be a staunch socialist but I do not think that left wing politics should necessarily be equated with a 'pro-choice' position. Of course, I believe that, in certain circumstances, abortion will be necessary and humane (e.g. for victims of rape, incest or where the health of the mother is severly threatened) but I believe that abortion has become far too easy in many societies. Both men and women need to take far more responsibility for their own behaviour. I expect this sounds simplistic, doesn't it? That's because it IS simple. Far too often, we go through life living in our self-centred manner and some of the biggest victims of this are the resulting unwanted unborn children. This is obviously not just the fault of the two people most direcyly involved (who need support and love in such circumstances) but also the fault of our educators, spiritual leaders, the media and all of us. The thing that mosy makes me sick is the commonly held 'liberal' view that an unborn child is merely something called a foetus until the end of gestation. This is just rank foolishness and far too convenient. No, a being comes into existence at the moment of conception and there's no getting away from this no matter how uncomfortble it makes us feel. So, we should agree that there are times when it may be necassary to kill another living being. A human being. So, hypocrisy is to be found on both sides of the political devide. Let's atleast have the honesty to admit what we are doing.

    Sorry to bang on about this but I just want to say it as I see it. Yes, I probably despise most of Sarah Palin's views but that doesn't mean that, as a leftie, I will disagree with everything she says. I didn't even disagree entirely with Margaret Thatcher!

    Too much 'liberalism' has done the world few favours and I think we are paying the price with so many social problems, both here in Britain and in the US. I don't think Obama will change things very much and I know that the Labour Party over here is utterly redundant. Politicians? Mostly a bunch of self-serving careerists who I wouldn't trust as far as I can spit. Macaine, Palin or Obama? Will it really make THAT much difference to the poor, the mentally ill, the physically sick, the down-trodden or the disenfranchised? Personally, I doubt it.

    I post all this with the deepest respect for my fellow blogger and friend, The Pagan Sphinx.

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  16. Bobbie: I wrote this post before watching Palin speak at the RNC. After seeing her, hearing her, feeling her vibe to whatever extent is possible through TV, she truly makes made my stomach turn to knots. She's DANGEROUS. Anything, short of dragging her children through the soap opera she's helped to create, IS fair game against her: the corruption in Alaska, the lie she told about saying no to the Bridge to Nowhere, her lack of foreign policy knowledge and experience and whatever else can be leveled against her political career. And she came across convincingly, if you attempt to assess her speech through the lens of a Republican or other American voter who has not yet made up their mind about who to vote for.

    Fran: thank you for your thoughtful comment and kind words. I have not yet read the post you speak of but I will try to get to your blog today to do so.

    And yes, I think I can read a post and leave if I disagree and doing so means getting into an argument or alienating someone. I left a comment on Liberality's blog because she asked for feedback on the Palin issue. Otherwise, I am leaving the issue alone if I disagree. Good advise, Fran.

    Minnesota: You wrote:

    "So as far as leaving family out of the discourse it goes both ways don't you think?"

    I couldn't agree more. That McCain comment is so mean-spirited, rude and hurtful and he deserved all the flack he got, which, as you pointed out, was not nearly enough.

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  17. I have to buzz but I'll respond to the rest of the comments later!

    Thank you for your feedback, all!

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  18. Kelly: please do come back and comment some more! Thank you for your supportive and thoughtful comment. I will add you to my blog list if that's ok?

    Dianne: oh, how I know that struggle! As said in my response to Bobbie, I wrote that post before I sat down to watch Palin and other nit-wits speak at the RNC. I was outraged and I have to admit it. I was very, very angry. But I kept it together, still allowing for some peace and reconciliation with that anger after we turned off the T.V. It's amazing how hard that was. I'd largely been out of touch for a couple of years, to be honest. My daughter shamed me into keeping up (thank you, SG1!) and that's when I started blogging, in February. Anyway, the reason I kept away from news was because I just got so angry and despondent and consumed! When I took SG1 up on her challenge to become more informed, it was only after a long talk with myself about how I was going to handle it when I could not stomach what I was facing. I've been ok but it's a constant battle and as you said, moment by moment. Thank you, Dianne.

    Bear: first-off I want you to know that my response to your comment is filled with every bit as much respect and friendship as yours.

    Then there is the matter of how I disagree with almost all you say about abortion! :-)

    In my opinion, am embryo (from gestation to about 8 weeks) is not a viable life. After that the viability of the fetus is questionable to me if it cannot survive on its own.

    I actually do have some issue personally with abortion, I'll be honest, and this is perhaps where we may find a tad of common ground.

    As a woman, a mother, I PERSONALLY would not obtain an abortion after the first trimester unless it was a)medically necessary, b) I had been raped or c) there was medical evidence of a serious abnormality - in which case I have never been able to decide if I would have an abortion if the tests were not able to determine the extent of that abnormality, which they often don't. Or didn't used to when I was giving birth to my children. Thankfully I never had to face that.

    My second child was not planned. In fact, my first was only seven months old when the second was conceived. After the initial shock, it took me not very long at all to decide I very much wanted this child; that is if I didn't actually know it all along. For me, an abortion would have been a matter of convenience.

    However, I steadfastly maintain my position that abortion should remain legal, safe and accessible to all women.

    I agree with you that people need to exercise personal responsibility. But I'd like to add that even though abortion is still legal in the U.S. it is far from accessible to everyone. If a woman, for example, has insurance coverage (many companies do not cover birth control methods and/or has the money to pay out-of-pocket, it is much easier to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. A poor and/or young, and/or uninsured woman faces a much tougher challenge. Any national or state insurance funding does not cover birth control, let alone an abortion. To complicate matters, abstinence-only (Palin supports it) sex education is the only thing allowed to be taught in most if not all public schools. Makes it hard for a kid to learn about their options, never mind get the birth control and use it.

    In the U.S. it's not just the abortion issue - it's the education, the medical care, the access and the affordability.

    Lastly, the American religious right are such hypocrits about their "right to life stance"! While they maintain that an embryo is a viable human, they support state-sponsored killing in the form of executions.

    Oddly, I find hypocracy on the left when pro-choice is touted but the death penalty is protested. HOWEVER, I believe one of the reasons people on the left are against the death penalty is because of the prohibitive costs of the endless appeals, etc.

    I know for a fact from having read her blog, that FranIam is pro-choice and also Catholic and personally would not have an abortion.

    I will never understand why a personal decision such as abortion should be anyone's business but for the woman and her medical provider.
    The pro-choice movement doesn't demand that people who don't believe in abortion get one. Why should the religious forces try to impose a lack of freedom to choose on those who feel differently?

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  19. I find hypocracy on the left when pro-choice is touted but the death penalty is protested. HOWEVER, I believe one of the reasons people on the left are against the death penalty is because of the prohibitive costs of the endless appeals, etc.

    Huh?

    I'm against the death penalty because any human being's life---no matter what evil acts s/he has done---is sacred.

    I'm pro-choice because, like you Gina, I don't believe an embryo/fetus is sentient (and ergo, "human" in the only meaningful sense of the word), and therefore deserves that protection (compared to the millions of non-sentient lives we humans kill---much like Sarah Palin and her mooses?---everyday).

    Unless, of course, the woman in whose uterus such embryo/fetus lies, IMPUTES humanity to it. In which case, protection (e.g., health care???) from conception!

    I like to think that I---unlike what some Popoids may tell you---have a "consistent ethic of (human) life."

    Re the Family Palin: this seems out of bounds to me (doesn't mean it's not funny, though! ;-/)

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  20. JCF: sorry, I never did get the hang of HTML:

    You wrote:

    Huh?

    I'm against the death penalty because any human being's life---no matter what evil acts s/he has done---is sacred.

    Fair enough. I tend to agree except in cases when I don't agree...if you catch my drift. In other words, I cannot ever seem to take a definative stand on the issue, though I'm mostly inclined to appose it.

    And I do acknowledge that that piece of my comment was not well-thought out. I should rephrase: there are other reasons for people to object to the death penalty, one of them being, at least that's what I've read and heard people state as a CON, that it is expensive. But I agree that the moral issues are quite more important. I'm glad you called me out on it.

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  21. jcf: what makes the item you linked to funny is not the photo itself, but the wit of a couple of the commenters. I would expect no less from that bunch.
    ;-)

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  22. Pagan this is a great post. Like you, I thought Dcup's post was one of the better argued ones so I put it at the top of my post on the subject. I could certainly understand her frustration but I don't think I could agree with her 100% but that is alright because I doubt if you all out here would always agree with me 100%.

    I think bloggers need to get together to discuss whether the end justify the means. Some of the bloggers think so and I do not. I think it needs to be addressed and not ignored. This fighting tactic is not going to go away and I find myself getting very angry over it. I guess if I care about someone and visit their blog a lot and see them using this logic I get upset. I get upset and maybe I should just stop blogging because it shouldn't be my place to tell them what to blog about at all. But I do care about the democratic party and I don't think I can remain in it if so many democrats think that they can do anything it takes as long as the party wins. Like I said on my blog--when you act like the enemy in order to defeat the enemy you have just become the enemy.

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  23. Well said, my friend.

    How's that for "brief?"

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  24. Pagan,

    Just real quick, I'd love for you to add me to your blog list. I don't think I'm deserving enough, but it would be my honor to be included in your list. I'm leaving town in the morning and won't be back until Sunday, so don't think I've forgotten to write back and finish my comment, it will just be after the weekend when I get back home...Again, your post is so well done and the discussions that it has ignited are extremely important and will make us all wiser, more informed and better people by listening to all who comment!

    ReplyDelete
  25. jcf said 'I'm pro-choice because, like you Gina, I don't believe an embryo/fetus is sentient (and ergo, "human" in the only meaningful sense of the word), and therefore deserves that protection (compared to the millions of non-sentient lives we humans kill---much like Sarah Palin and her mooses?---everyday)'

    I just cannot accept this. We, as human beings, appear to be capable of making random decisions about when another being can join us in the human race. Surely, regardless of your views about abortion, you can accept that this is merely for own convenience? If we choose to label someone as 'non-human' they are far easier to kill. As I said in my own comment, let's at least have some intellectual honesty here. A sentient being is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as one who 'has or is able to have perception by the senses'. I believe it has been well proven that within a very short time a 'foetus' is able to feel pain. To say that any being capable of suffering does not deserve protection is, for me, utterly unacceptable. Didn't the Nazis declare that Jews and Gypsies were less than human? What is the difference? My argument is not that ALL abortion is wrong (although I do think very many abortions may very well be wrong) but that we should have the decency to be honest about what we are doing.

    Gina - of course women should be in control of their own bodies and be able to decide whether or not they have children but, to trot out the old cliche, rights always come with responsibilities. That goes for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lib: I don't think a fighting stance is bad if we stick to what the issues are and what Palin's career has consisted of. I think she should be called out - on anything that merits our concern. But to ridicule her daughter's situation at her daughter's expense is just not okay with me. Doesn't mean it's going to stop just cuz I don't like it! Because as you said, this is here to stay, and I think you're right. I believe it does nothing and in fact could weaken the seriousness with which progressive political blogs are taken. I guess I had a naive hope that perhaps we were better than that.

    And I do understand that people are fed up. This is what 8 years of Republican rule does to people. I think where I get the most upset, is with that! And things are just changing really fast in the world of U.S. political campaigns. Maybe I'm just not keeping up very well.

    And please don't stop blogging! I'm going to go with Fran's advise and just ignore things that I really get me going - if I can leave a level-headed comment, I will. If I'm too upset, I'll likely say something that will tick someone off. And we do all a right to publish what we want on our blogs, after all.

    I'm really glad you added your voice to this one. It was your post that started me thinking about this issue in earnest. Thank you.

    CR: more brief than a panty!

    SB: Again, my friend, I want to say that I respect your opinion and position on this but that I disagree.

    I could be wrong here but from what I've read a fetus cannot actually feel pain until sometime toward the end of the THIRD trimester. There is something in central nervous system that's not in place before then. Maybe because the brain develops very quickly toward the end of human pregnancy. 99% of abortions are performed before that. I'm not sure right now on a statistic for what percentage of abortions are performed in the first trimester only, but I hazard a guess it's a high percentage.

    The far right anti-choice people use a lot of scare tactics to get women to feel guilty about exercising their right to choose a safe, legal abortion.

    I know that there are perhaps other
    criteria that people use to determine whether a embryo or fetus are considered human, but I reject the concern about pain.

    Abortion is not a pretty thing, but far uglier is a society even more filled with unwanted children.

    Kelly: you're much too kind! Thank you for your encouragement and enthusiasm. I really enjoy photography blogs; looking much forward to seeing your lovely pictures on a regular basis.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The notion of fetuses and embryos actually being human beings is so farcical to me that I have trouble taking it seriously.

    As for people talking about anger, maybe the best way to deal with it is to focus it in McCain and Sarah Palin, their policies, and their political corruption. Attacking Sarah Palin for being a religious extremist is fair game to me. Attacking them both for being war mongers is perfectly reasonable to me.

    The only thing I wonder about is whether the daughter actually chose to carry those two pregnancies to full term or if she was coerced by her politically ambitious and militantly Christian mother. I guess we will never know.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Lib: the part of your comment where you wonder about the pressure that was put on the Palin girl and her boyfriend to get married and "have the baby" has crossed my mind many times. I'm only guessing but I wouldn't doubt it one bit that her control-hungry pit-bull reputation begins at home with her family.

    Interestingly, though, I noted when the camera panned on the young couple that Bristol Palin looked rather comfortable in the limelight. It was the young man (whose name I can't recall) who looked shocked and stunned. I felt a little tiny bit for him. Just cuz, hell, they're young and all this shit swirling around them. It can't be easy. Not their fault, though and that's why I can't bring myself to ridicule them.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Palin's daughter, and baby son as well, should be off limits for political pundits and discourse, period. Barack Obama has clearly stated it is hands off when it comes to a candidate's family. Whether Obama's daughters would be given the same courtesy by the opposing party and media, were they in a similar situation, is doubtful.

    I think what really sticks in my craw, so to speak, is, as many others have already said, the hypocrisy and double standards of a party that has spent the past 30 or so years touting "family values", criticizing others for what doesn't measure up to their own particular view of morality, and even ending careers over morality issues. But when the tables are turned, the party at issue becomes oh-so-supportive and acts the martyr should anyone point out their own inability to live up to its self-professed morality.

    Thus, we see the attacks on Palin and her daughter's situation, borne, I think, out of frustration and anger at the strange hypocrisy of "it's o.k. for us, but not for anyone else, and we're gonna make laws to make sure you live up to our standards."

    What does dismay me about the situation in Palin's family is what will likely be a forced marriage for the sake of politics, between two young people who may or may not be ready for that. The young father-to-be, if one considers the material on his Facebook (or was it Myspace) page, seems particularly unready for marriage or fatherhood. Yet these children will be prodded into a decision that may not be the best for their futures. That saddens me.

    As for the abortion issue, while I remain pro-choice, I have moved closer to the middle over the years. I would hope that we as a society could reduce the need for abortion by providing adequate birth control and the resources necessary for women to make the choice to keep their babies. Given my personal belief that human life begins at conception (this has to do with my belief in a soul), I would hope that abortion would only happen in the most dire and necessary circumstance. What frustrates me about what has been called the "Pro Choice" movement, is it's historical inability to face the fact that abortion IS used as birth control by irresponsible men and women. That the sanctity of life is disregarded by many who see an easy fix to their own lack of precaution or inability to be responsible for the result of their behavior. (Let's face it -- any time sex is involved between young fertile people, there is a possibility of pregnancy, even with birth control. The vast majority of people know this.) I think we pro-choicers need to own up to this fact and do all we can to reduce the number of abortions that occur for this reason.

    I am also far from what would be called a "Pro-Life" activist. I think they are going about it all wrong and I don't believe that legislation banning abortion is good for anyone involved. It is a much too complicated issue to be dealt with in a black and white way.

    What really angers me about the situation, as I have mentioned, is the fact of a marriage done for political expediency (what happened to the "sanctity" of marriage), while my partner and I are not allowed the same rights by these same people who would abuse marriage by imposing it upon these children. I do wish this young girl and young man all happiness. I hope that this will work out for them, and that they won't be miserable and angry as a couple. I hope that they won't feel that their future and happiness is being sacrificed upon the altar of morality by a bunch of politicians who wouldn't know morality if it slapped them across the face. Many would say they have to live with the consequences of their actions, and while I laud her decision to have the baby, I hope that the consequences in this case do not mean an unhappy marriage and home life for them and their child.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Suzer: welcome. I understand your frustration about the imposed marriage for political reasons. In essence, the wrong reasons when truly committed couples are not allowed to marry in the overwhelming majority of cases. And even when they do, the legality of that marriage holds no weight in other states and is often frought with legal complications.

    Thank you for your well-thought out comment. I'm glad you added your voice to this thread.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm late to this one but that's probably just as well. It's a very well articulated post. All's well.

    ReplyDelete

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