Sunday, March 31, 2013

Underlying Pop-Political Issues

...because there's nothing more fun than getting into politics.

Well, I'm actually not going to use this time to try and convince anyone of my political standings. Instead, I'm going to use this post to talk (although relatively briefly) about the underlying issues of touchy subjects like abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

I'm going straight for the touchy subjects because they're the ones that, as a spectator, either leave me fascinated by the way people handle these topics, or leave me keen to drown out the noise of what people have to say. What I really want to cut down to is the heart of these issues, and why they are issues in the first place.

There's so much screaming on all sides of the fence, generally to the effect of: "I'm right, you're wrong, and you're a horrible human being because I'm right and you're wrong." In reality there's a big grey area in the middle, but airtime gets diverted to those who make the loudest sounds.

Why is there such heated argumentation (and, on occasion, intelligent debate) over these issues? Why are they such hot topics? The reason, I suspect, is because in some way both sides are (at least to an extent) right.

Let's look at abortion. The two major camps are "pro-life" and "pro-choice." The pro-choice camp stand up for a woman's right to have control over her body. The pro-life camp stand up for an unborn human's right to life. The struggle here is that both the woman and the growing child have needs and (perceived) rights. (I say perceived because rights are not something innately present, they are a social value.) If we take a step away from the heat of the argument, we'll probably see that it's unreasonable to go in with the attitude of: "I'm right, you're wrong, and you're a horrible human being because I'm right and you're wrong." Rather, we have a conflict of interests here: the interests of the woman and the interests of the child. At opposing ends of the argument, there are people who would have you believe that only the woman matters, or that only the child matters. In the grey area in between, you might instead encounter people who acknowledge the complexity of the issue.

With same-sex marriage, the major camps are those who support the rights to same-sex marriage, and those who oppose those rights. I'm not aware of any neat titles for each camp, unlike the pro-life and pro-choice camps when it comes to abortion rights. Anyway, to those who are for same-sex marriage, the opposition are typically called "homophobic," "intolerant" and "bigoted." Those who oppose it often have varied reasons for it, with reasons of spirit and tradition often being up the top of the list. And yes, some people do oppose same-sex marriage out of fear, hate or ruthless judgement. Now, why are same-sex marriage rights such a big deal? Because, like abortion, there's a conflict of interests here, with multiple hands in the marriage pie. Is marriage a religious issue? If so, the government and society have no say in it. Is marriage a state issue? If so, the churches have no say in it. Is marriage a human rights issue? If so, neither the government nor the churches have a say in it. The problem is, marriage is a state issue, a religious issue, and a human rights issue. Same-sex couples want the right to be married, and to call it marriage (depending on where you live, you may have all the same functional rights to marriage, but under a different title, like civil union). Churches want the right to do marriage their way, and to save the world from what they regard to be sin. The state wants...well, I don't know what the state wants other than to get paid. Nonetheless, we have at least three major parties that have something deeply invested in this issue.

So, what's the real solution? Stuffed if I know. I could tell you where my worldview and morals point me, but so long as I support a democracy, at a political level I have to regard my stance on these issues as an answer, not the answer. I could give the old adage: "Can't we all just get along?" but the answer is no, no we can't. Of course we have the theoretical capacity to get along, but the very fact that these touchy political issues cause such epic skubala is evidence that we (in general) would rather be right than happy, and are "open-minded" so long as the topic is something we would have gone for anyway.

On that note, goodnight.


  1. My usual response to anyone declaring abortion should be banned, 'Congratulations on a very happy childhood.' Only someone who has had one could make such a stand.
    I am alive because my father refused my mother permission to abort. It took me two decades not to regret that, and typical for many unwanted children tried post birth termination several times during that period. Pro-life is only good if the life will be worth having, when the child is totally unwanted that is unlikely.

    Same sex marriage, no bidg deal. I love people declaring same sex intercourse etc. is un-natural, shows how little of nature they have ever watched or learned about. Our closest genetic relatives are the bonobo chimps, and next are standard chimps, the first fornicate with every other member of the group as a greeting the other beat or kill mercilessly for dominance if they feel the need. Personally I would rather be more like the former and allow something which causes no harm than the latter. I am hetero, and secure enough with that to accept others aren't and that it is perfectly natural.
    I married for love, through and through and being tied for life to the woman I love more than anyone else feels good, I think everyone should be able to do this for their loved one, though the American idea of allowing marriage to animals is a bit of a push, still struggling with that one.

    1. "'Congratulations on a very happy childhood.' Only someone who has had one could make such a stand."

      I disagree. To say that I had a hard childhood would be a severe understatement. I'd be putting myself into a compromised position to go into full details about that, but most of my childhood memories recognise love as nothing more than an abstract idea. Yet I'm very much against abortion. I recognise the relevance of allowing for it in cases of rape or legitimate medical issues, but outside of that I would much rather see a child adopted, fostered or orphaned (although I think a lot of improvements can be made in that system) and have a chance at life than to have no chance at life at all. If a pregnancy is unwanted, I don't think it would be wise to make the parents raise the child anyway, but I don't think abortion should be high on the list of alternatives, either.

  2. Good for you to come through it so positive.
    Life teaches us all to be who we are, I have met people who have given up children and then suffered from doing so, the same individuals could have kept them and been useless parents so no happy ending either way.
    Also known a few who have had abortions and been messed up from it mentally too, so there is no perfect solution in an animal that partakes in reproductive activities but is not ready to reproduce. I see a lot of people blaming education etc. but teaching people responsibility doesn't mean they do as they are taught.
    Until there is a guaranteed happy ending I don't think any options should be removed.

    I am lucky to have a son we wanted with all our hearts and weren't supposed to be able to have. Because I was a prat in earlier life adoption etc. was not an option for me.
    My son knows he is loved to the extent he will simply say so wehn told, so off hand it's wonderful.


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