Sunday, August 14, 2005

Chooser's Choice

I have known several people who made a practice of deceiving others without telling any "lies." Their method-of-choice invariably involved selective truth-telling. Such persons would respond to the question" Where's Mary?" with, "She's not here," thus leaving the interrogator with the impression that Mary's whereabouts were unknown, when in fact they were known to them. These same people would all vigorously object to being called liars. They followed the letter of the law, while breaking the spirit.

Neoconservatives seem intent on destroying of the Bill of Rights using the same methods. The state school board in Kansas supplied a prime example this week when they approved a measure allowing science teachers in Kansas schools to teach "intelligent design theory," as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Intelligent design theory posits that the world as we know it is too complex to have come about through evolution, and therefore reflects the existence of a divine being or higher intelligence.

The intelligent design camp pushes a thinly veiled agenda in offering this explanation in place of a theory that works just as well with a higher intelligence motivating it as it does without one. It never seems to cross our friends' minds that it is certainly possible that the higher intelligence they are so desperate to prove could have caused evolution.

Perhaps the Neocons find this explanation of the origin of life on our earth unacceptable because they did not imagine it; it is more likely, however, that this explanation is unacceptable because the definition of "God" is left to the individual.

No Neocon would ever admit to attempting to establish a state religion, much less to dismantling the Bill of Rights. Nevertheless, words notwithstanding, this is the very thing they are doing. It is not difficult to see why individual freedoms are so threatening to them. After all, who would choose to be without a choice?

Ironically, one of the chief tenets of evangelical Christianity (to which most Neocons subscribe) is that their Creator endowed human beings with free will. Not so ironically, the first sin consisted of humans serving their own wills rather than God's.
© 2005

Monday, August 08, 2005

Headed for the Ditch

Cindy Sheehan has made the most difficult sacrifice any mother can for her country. Her son, 24-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan died in Sadr City in April 2004, prosecuting a war that Ms. Sheehan no longer believes in.

She has now traveled to Crawford, Texas to ask the president why her son died. She and about 50 other protesters arrived in Crawford on Saturday, with plans to stay for the month of August if necessary.

She and her fellow protesters have been kept well away from Bush; they were stopped four miles from the entrance to the Bush ranch, because they walked on the roadway rather than in the tall grass in the bar ditch beside it. The McLennan County Sheriff ordered the demonstrators to stop because they broke “their part of the bargain.”

The protesters had reasons for not walking in the ditch, although non-Texans could hardly know what they are. Rattlesnakes come to mind first, but the Great State of Texas’ Department of Transportation rarely mows country roads, and never ever picks up road-kill. It’s probably a safe bet that a middle-aged woman from Vacaville, California wore tennis shoes (bad) and shorts (really bad) for her stroll through aforementioned bar ditch.

Texas has some really interesting flora with very descriptive names: spear grass, devil’s claw, bull nettle. Some of the fauna can be rather unpleasant as well, including red wasps, scorpions, chiggers, and horse flies. Of course, if Ms. Sheehan must make a scene, the least she can do is walk in the ditch in 100-degree heat and not complain.

The Sheriff claims to be concerned that the protest was disrupting traffic; however representatives of the news media were only ordered off the road when the demonstrators were stopped.

There are two forces operating here. First, the sheriff sets up a requirement for protesters to walk where a sensible person would not walk, where common sense dictates that one is safer on the right-of-way than in the grass. Second, after the protesters failed the requirement, as law enforcement officers knew they would, the protest was stopped, and the media was out-waited for the story.

There are no main-stream media stories about Cindy Sheehan in today’s news. The media went away, rather than cover the story that the president of the United States left this mother of a dead soldier waiting for answers on the side of the road in the Texas sun in August.
© 2005 Ann Weaver Hart

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Abortion Foes Find New Ways to Inflict Pain

The lucky gals in Minnesota got a special break from the state legislature last week. Now both they and Arkansan women will be offered anesthesia for their fetuses if they elect to have an abortion after 20 weeks gestation.

Nobody objected, once they removed the part about it being a felony for a doctor to fail to tell a woman that the fetus she was aborting could feel pain. Bad move. This is how we got into the mess we have now in so many other sectors of our society.

It affects a very few abortions, so it should be okay. Wrong. In the grand neo-con tradition of turning a given inch into a taken mile, the righteous wrong have gotten their collective foot in the door. They will continue to nibble, pick and scratch at women’s right to choose, until they have gotten rid of it completely.

It is not that I like abortion. Nobody thinks abortion is an ideal answer for anything. But in their crusade to mind everyone’s business but their own, the Right-to-Lifers have found a way to inflict some more anguish on a woman when she is already up to her eyeballs in the stuff. There’s some real compassionate conservatism.

“We do want people to know that these are unborn children, and they can feel pain,” says Jackie Moen, of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. Someone should let Ms. Moen in on the secret: most women having abortions are feeling plenty of pain already. The fetal pain law only adds insult to injury.

The Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act is part of a larger law, the Women’s Right to Know Law. True to neo-con methods, this law is mis-named. Truth in advertising would require it to be called something like the “Our Right to Tell You Law.”

Those who do not think a woman should have the right to choose have never had to choose themselves.

The righteous wrong spend untold hours picketing family planning clinics and harassing women who come for check-ups, when they could be using their time and energies for preventing unwanted pregnancy. Not only do they not support women in what is probably the hardest decision of their lives, they will not even support women trying to keep themselves from getting into that spot. Sadly, women will continue to choose after abortion is outlawed completely, but it will kill a lot more of them than it does today.
© 2005

About Me

I love my country, that is why I criticize its absurdities; I love my freedom, that is why I do it publicly.