Monday, September 1, 2008

Disjointed thoughts on pregnant daughters and presidential politics

Downstairs in my house tonight my five-year-old grandson, presented to us by our eldest daughter with the assistance of the long-absent man we refer to as "the sperm donor" is sleeping.

I love my grandson as much as life itself, but if I am to be hooked up to a polygraph, abortion was very much on the table when a twenty-year-old with no visible means of support got pregnant.

For both wrong and right reasons that you have no need to know, that didn't happen.

But the experience and the people I met during that experience taught me two things:

1) Abortion rights are essential to a modern free society.

2) People who oppose abortion rights are not necessarily my enemies.

Mike Matthews had a post up the other day about whether or not you could be anti-gun and pro-second-amendment at the same time. I don't know about that one. But what I do know is that some of the most supportive, caring people I met during that tough time of our life were actually so-called Pro-Life evangelical Christians, who worked hard at caring about our situation and not judging us.

Did they believe that abortion is murder? Some of them, yes. Others had doubts. Still others believed that while abortion might be a sin, both free will and God's infinite (strong word that: infinite) mercy could handle the problem. Within Christianity there is even hope for murderers, if you actually examine doctrine.

This is the country's most divisive issue because abortion is the most difficult social issue of our time. Part of that is because all we get to hear on the MSM is the sanctimonious pricks on both sides who not only find no room to compromise, but are willing to defame people with different beliefs, while leaving in the middle both Atheists and Evangelicals and just plain folks like me who think: abortion, birth control, raising kids--tough damn questions.

From a political point of view, Barack Obama got it right, even if thousands of his supporters aren't going to listen to him:

Jake Tapper: Governor Palin and her husband issued a statement today saying that their 17 year old daughter Bristol who is unmarried is 5 months pregnant. Do you have a comment?

Barack Obama: I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics, it has no relevance to governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits.

Except that, Senator, as you well know from suffering the attacks, nobody's family and nothing is off limits today.

Maybe my own experience only proves that I cannot be objective about this, and that you shouldn't listen to me, but what the hell it's my blog and I'll post what I want. You decide.

There is a thoughtful issue to be raised about whether or not Sarah Palin and her family will now be re-considering some of the policies she promoted. And it could be done tastefully, with consideration for the family, and consideration for every family who ends up that way. Nothing in the motus operandi of either party today suggests that will happen. Republicans have been playing the family values card against their opponents for the better part of two decades now; Democrats have been unable to come up with any better answer over the past few years than to do the same. This is not an issue of equivalency: clearly, in terms of sexual and social issues, GOPers are far more interested in snooping into my bedroom or unzipping flies at weddings, and they deserved to be roundly condemned for starting the practice.

But the fact that Republicans have committed rape on the public discourse of this country does not absolve those Democrats who decided that meant the same was OK for them, too.

The cruelest irony is that Sarah Palin doesn't appear to be the complete ideologue they're trying to paint her. She seems to be a typically Alaskan (in the same way that Huey Long typified Louisiana) politician, and her politics are full of the kinds of contradictions that actually show promise for American politics in the next decade.

The fact that Sarah Palin dabbled with the Alaskan Independence Party is a strength, not a weakness: it is a note to those outside the two-party system that they are not completely irrelevant as American citizens.

The fact that Sarah Palin supported a windfall profits tax is an indication that, like others--even those of Libertarian bent--she is honestly struggling with how, inside our political system, we deal with the troubling question of energy and corporatism. I think she had the wrong answer; but I don't think she had the wrong questions.

The fact that Sarah Palin has apparently (I haven't actually read the quotes, so I will still hedge here) endorsed elements of, or similar to, Barack Obama's economic plan is not a bad thing. There are some good aspects to some of his plans, and there are certainly other aspects that should be discussed.

When did it become the kiss of death to admit that your own party did not have a monopoly on truth, or solutions? When did it become the kiss of death for candidates from opposing parties to occasionally AGREE on some issues?

The fact that Sarah Palin may have misused her authority in the troopergate scandal doesn't bother me that much, because I've come to expect so little from our elected politicians. We have created a political elite wherein it is apparently acceptable to use your connections to fire opponents, get your wife a raise, or a hundred other mean, self-serving, and even spiteful things, because there is only one commandment: Thou shalt NOT get caught.

So spare me the outrage: corruption and abuse of power by the professional political class in this country is so endemic that to single out anybody is an exercise in gotcha!, not an exercise in morality, truth, or the American Way.

You want to know tonight's truth? (Not guaranteed to be good after I wake up, but what I'm thinking now.)

If I had to choose in the original Constitutional fashion from among the four people now running, and only the four people now running, tonight I'd be inclined to take Barack Obama and Sarah Palin as the team, and say the hell with sixty zillion years of combined experience.

Maybe, just maybe, a Liberal African-American and a conservative woman could actually work together and do us some good.

Too bad we'll never get to try it.


Waldo Lydecker's Journal said...

The only trouble with the analysis is that the needle the elephant has to get through is abortion, followed by gay rights. Ralph Reed and James Dobson are no keener on McCain than before. They are looking past him. To them Sarah Palin is the Manchurian candidate, only 52 eight years from now, and more than willing to be the front for the Chuck Colsons and Ken Hutchersons of the theolog right. The glimmers of innovation for which TDL rightly praises her will get squashed like a bug. After all, she's the one who said if "In God We Trust" was good enough for the Founders, she is willing to fight and die for it.

Never mind that it was added to the currency in 1954.

aka rc said...

Good God, Obama and Palin? The Yin and the Yang? Balance?

Hell I could vote for that.rc

Anonymous said...

Damn, Steve, you always set the bar high for Delaware bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating idea. Only... Waldo has a point. In order for this analysis to work there must be compromise on both sides.

Delaware Watch said...

"So spare me the outrage: corruption and abuse of power by the professional political class in this country is so endemic that to single out anybody is an exercise in gotcha!, not an exercise in morality, truth, or the American Way."

Here's hoping this is hyperbole because on its face it's indefensible and wouldn't admit any of the necessities for the 3rd parties that you rightly argue are necessary.

I get the impression that criticism of Palin is illicit--whether it's all criticism of her so far or criticism of her per se is the question. I think the troopergate stuff if true is quite disturbing for a potential USA President.

You misrepresented somewhat the issue of her former association w/ AIP. The issue isn't that it's a 3rd party but a party w/ a secessionist bent. Imagine that she could be the president of nation that just a decade before she may have wanted to cede from. While I would vote for a President who believes in the right of succession, I could not but look on one w/. suspicion who actually wanted to exercise that right in her or his case. It has something to do w/ the desirability of presidents having a sincere passion for the nation they are running. But, then, I'm old fashioned that way.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post...

I think the abortion and gun arguments are incredibly comparable.

Because of my feelings on abortion (being pro-choice), I have recently come around to a pro-2nd amendment, while, for myself, I am thoroughly anti-gun.

I also support reasonable restrictions for both tools.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that with the selection of Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee and Palin as the Republican VP nominee there may be hope for a future where we compromise with each other for the sake of the country - not the individual party.

For I know that no matter how strongly and passionately I believe in an issue, there is someone on the opposite side who believes just as strongly and passionately as I do. We just believe in two different things.

We have to try to find common ground, make compromises and move forward. I think because Obama and Palin are both outside the "good ole-boy" networks maybe this change is finally coming to light.

No matter who wins the election I think the nominations alone have sent a message to the Washington insiders that the American people are paying attention and we do want a serious changing of the guards!