Thursday, April 1

Voting for Life. Concluding statement.

[The brief introduction to this exchange is posted on April 19 as VOTING FOR LIFE: PREAMBLE.The following was written on April 16.] #17
Fanni: I find abortion to be a needless violence but I think that we should not lose sight of the fact that a greater danger is facing us, one that is multi-faceted and not only menaces the unborn but ultimately – without ceding to hyperbole – undercuts world stability and the prospects for the survival of the human race on planet Earth, which is to say, all those who are born and as yet unborn, in this age and further on. This danger presents itself variously as belligerent, deceitful, and unjust war-making dressed up as a "war on terror" for the sake of a relatively short-term supply of fossil fuel and that risks fomenting terrorism-inspiring hatred for generations to come; a billion-dollar annual corporate welfare program that subsidizes the refinement of environment-threatening fossil fuels; and a near-total neglect of investment in renewable energy technologies, all to the great detriment of our future economy and ecology. (I mean "near total neglect" relative to our "defense budget," which has reached nearly 400 billion dollars a year and dwarfs the spending on "defense" of all our potential and real enemies combined and that, moreover, remains the one expenditure that, when questioned to any degree, swiftly becomes a vehicle for George Bush's ridiculing the questioner, since, we must never forget, George is "a war president" and there is no limit to the amount of weaponry and support a war president must command.) There is much more that could be said on this issue, since the nefarious influence of the Bush administration on world peace, stability, and longevity, is a phenomenon that is vast, sprawling, and impossible for anyone to document fully, and so I will have to limit myself to these few remarks for considerations of space and time.

Lastly, I think that, to make the argument against abortion acceptable to the non-converted, one would do better to place it in a continuum with other forms of violence, including violence against women, rather than to argue for its exceptional nature. Certainly the women's rights groups that oppose abortion would find this approach more palatable.

And, to conclude, let me say that I am not addressing you as if you were just any old run-of-the-mill Bush voter, or single-issue voter, or anti-abortion activist. What brings me to raise all these questions with you is the realization that, of all the values I believe we have in common, virtually nothing is in accord with the priorities and practices of the Bush administration. If I knew you to be a longtime Republican who, like Bush Republicans, sought out economic exploitation of others wherever he could find it and everywhere preached fear and practiced bullying unilateralism, I wouldn't have made this effort to mark my dissatisfaction with the path you have taken in supporting George Bush. None of the values we grew up with were those of Bush Republicanism. We never maintained corporate values above civic values; we weren't given to bowing before the altar of greed; we didn't resort to violence as a means of solving problems; we didn't pollute and deride the importance of nature; we didn't cherish a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment as a way to promote the proliferation of weapons; we didn't believe that we should fight to benefit the most powerful members of society and treat the poor and the downtrodden as enemies of state prosperity; we never victimized innocent people as a way to vent power and appear steadfast in the face of fictitious threats; we didn't think cynically of news agencies and reporters in general as a "special interest" that works to delude us and has no proper role in questioning the government; we didn't consider it fitting and right that American workers and families should be denied a living wage; we weren't persuaded to embrace militarism and military jargon uncritically; we never selected a single, predominant source of information that would serve to assure us of the righteousness of a single cause and put all that causes's imagined or real opponents in a bad light; we wouldn't have accepted the idea that men and boys being imprisoned for years without charge or recourse to legal advice is worthy of a democratic government; we never claimed that the death penalty is preventive or just; we never diminished all issues relating to the furtherance of justice to the presumed benefit of one issue; and we didn't embrace a single issue with fanaticism, to the neglect or disdain of so many others. Nonetheless, you are willing to turn away from this precious heritage because "abortion is an unmitigated evil." I am sure that I cannot persuade you to do otherwise, but I want you to know that I am determined to stick with this heritage, in all its richness, rather than to embrace a blinding and unjustified attachment to a single issue and, on that basis, let the Bush administration assault civic values in a way that has life-and-death consequences both directly and immediately and for the longevity of the human race. In embracing the just fight against abortion, you may feel that you have beaten a straight path to righteousness, but I believe that such a path, if it exists, can only be tortuous and uncertain. Even a just cause can be embraced unjustly, just as the just war on terrorism can be fought poorly and unjustly, as it has been by the Bush administration.

What concerns me, as I close this message, is the possibility that if I have revealed your not having made tenable or consistent arguments for either your single-issue approach to politics or for your support (on those same grounds, or others) for the Bush administration, it would be in line with your single-issue persistence for your "position" to grow even more hardened and exclusionary and that you will be forced to lump me together resolutely with those whom you think of as baby killers and assassins, and thus to shut down all forms of meaningful dialogue with me.

Hoping sincerely that that is not the case, I ask you to reflect at length on any reply you would kindly give me.