Monday, September 25, 2006

Abortion rights and the predictability of Winking, Blinkin and Nod.

(Sorry about the title spelling error this morning)

If the weekend rains and flooding weren’t sufficient to induce suicidal depression, a brief glance at Sunday’s Courier-Journal provided much encouragement to begin drinking at a reasonable hour – say, breakfast.

A Michael Kinsley column traced the origins of the Bush regime’s Orwellian “victory” chants in Iraq, while a news story reported findings strongly suggesting that the Iraq invasion has helped to expand terrorist recruitment, which makes thinking people wonder whether the current vogue of advocacy for meting out similar punishment to Iran is going to be accomplished by robots, a return to the draft or the employment of our second-favorite bogeymen (illegal aliens) as Hessians of the moment?

There was the Reverend James Dobson’s DC conference urging America’s tax-exempt churches to “get involved” with politics – presumably not affairs of the agnostic or secular variety, but ways to make those of us resistant to rampant superstition march instead to the beat of the Christian drummer.

By the way, why does the Tribune insist on running this man’s family advice column?

Which brings us to the most disconcerting article of all, a front page piece examining the frantic efforts of not one, not two, but three candidates for Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District seat to take the most stridently “pro-life” (I use the term loosely on purpose, the better to promote thoughts on how one proposes to protect life by slaughtering Iraqis, Iranians or, for that matter, Lebanese) position as a prelude to the November election.

On the surface, Democratic challenger Baron Hill’s espousal of a legislative alternative to abortion, one that would increase educational efforts and make birth control more widely available to those most in need of it, seems fairly sensible, particularly since it has been attacked with characteristic haughtiness by the incumbent, Mike “Big Wheels – Small Mind” Sodrel, whose “GOP as friendly Uncle Torquemada” anti-abortion campaign platform is sufficiently repugnant to make most other competing ideas seem tame.

Sorry, but in Hill’s typically leaden hands, the seemingly sensible is quickly transformed into the usual pandering and anti-abortion demagoguery by another name, all part of an ongoing effort to flail the centrist blue dog until it yelps in agony, sensing its increasing proximity to the general vicinity of Karl Rove and the other Republican haywire theocrats stroking Dick Cheney’s pacemaker as they confuse the Constitution with the Bible, Haliburton contacts, or both.

While the presence of Libertarian academic Eric Schansberg in the congressional race has been refreshing, and he’s shown a fine aptitude for the disruptive planks of the customary third-party playbook, his abortion position reflects an inability to escape the limitations of personal Christian fundamentalism – with predictable future consequences for women. However, with the shared monoploly of our two-party system stacked against him, Dr. Schansberg has no chance of winning.

Independent voters might well find a greater range of choice on outdated Politburo electoral lists than that to be seen among these three candidates for Congress.

Meanwhile, as the Northrup/McConnell machine commences the predictable sliming of John Yarmuth over on the Louisville side of the flood plain, we’re left to ruminate on the fate of political candidates who’ve made the mistake of thinking aloud -- or in Yarmuth's case, ruminating in print over a long period of time.

Politics as a graveyard for ideas? Sounds consummately American to me.

Wonder what the Bubbas are, uh, "thinking"?


Apolo-ener-getic said...

This is not an healthy or effective way to deal with the frequent problems, challenges and issues common in a world like the one we share. Especially someone with a passion for politics. I suggest a book. "Not the Way It's Supposed to Be, A Breviary of Sin" authored by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., published by Eerdmans.

On a positive note, Dennis Prager, radio talk show host has pointed out during a recent "Happy hour" that there is a distinction between dissatisfaction and unhappiness. You are definitely not satisfied, but you are not necessarily--unhappy. This is positive and hopeful news.

The New Albanian said...

Here's the publisher's description of the book recommended in the previous posting.

Sin. Christians used to hate it, fear it, flee from it, grieve over it . . . but not anymore. In his bestseller, Plantinga gives you a fresh look at the ancient doctrine of sin to help you better recognize and deal with it. Discover how sin corrupts what is good, the relationship to folly and addiction---and the beauty of God's grace.

Just as Sam Malone regretted hiring Diane to be the waitress at Cheers after her jilting, I'm bound to regret asking, "what does the book have to do with anything I've written today?"

Apolo-ener-getic said...

Fact: You expressed disappointment in more than "a few" issues.
Fact: We all share the problem of evil.
Fact: Politics is directly influenced by mankind's shared problem of sin--of being one source of evil. This is not a good point for a candidate seeking election, most try to say they have unquestionable intentions.
Fact: God says the problem of sin is real for all. (Romans 3:23)Therefore, I am in good company.
Fact: Some choose to avoid or deny sin, because in Darwinian thought, sin doesn't exist, the problem is some aren't as "evolved" as those who see it all "clearly". (Hmm?)
Fact: You have animosity to any truth that could be associated with "religious truth claims".

You are a well read person with quite a vocabulary. Plantinga would earn your respect and gain your ear before someone whose comments remind you of Diane on cheers.

These are a few of the comments on the jacket of the book.

"A lively engaging work on a mordant topic. Plantinga is at once a historian of our follies, a satirist of our mores, and a documentarist of our miseries and regrets. Dare one call a book on sin a delight?"--Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago.

"This breviary (meaning summary) of the cardinal sins recasts traditional wisdom in lively engagement with the follies and fads of a culture that, with a dreary lack of imagination, fancies itself beyond sin. Bracing stuff, highly recommended for the deeper things that ail us."--First Things

"Plantinga's book is marvelous, on a number of different levels. Even non-Christians who are troubled by undefined evil would read his wors with profit. If you have a conscience, get this book."--Christianity Today

"Plantinga has accomplished the feat of writing a delightful book that probes deeply into a grim subject--human sin, in all of its multifarious disguises and stubborn ingenuity. In the present moral climate, with the very reality of sin systematically obscured and denied, this is in every sense of the word, a healthy book."--Glenn Tinder, University of Massachusetts-Boston.

It is a good read.
The book is about 200 pages long.
ISBN 0-8028-4218-6

The New Albanian said...

Fact: You expressed disappointment in more than "a few" issues.

Fact: We all share the problem of evil.

My point was this: Three candidates for the job, and a veritable sprint toward an ultra-conservative position on abortion that appalls me and fails to represent a good number of the electorate.

I'm eternally supportive of your right to believe in anything you please, subject to Biblical passages, seances, truth claims, numerology or virtually anything that gets you through the night.

It's all fine with me, but I have just as inalienable a right to opt out of it ... and I live in a country that in theory supports me in this path, although it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell the differenc ebetween the world's theocratic wannabes.

CannonFarms said...

I tried James Dobson's advice and found it only promotes his private family, his pocket book, and was not helping those I love and those I support.
I am convinced the paper sells because of the obituaries. Nothing else, not Tommy Lancasters special of the week or even the racing form. Not Schmidts continuous anniversary sale and not the Lotto numbers. I've been told the paper pays James Dobsun to reprint his whimpy advice. If you can beleive that!
Which takes me to the piece of the candidates on "pro-life". Obviously, many of us, you and I, understand the correct definition of it. Those still thinking "pro-life" is about saving babies lives have lots of reading to do. Those people are twenty five years behind the times. And after you have read everything you can get your hands on, I encourage everyone to follow Congressman Hill to learn the truth about politics regarding "pro-life". I have heard this candidate speak from his heart the sanctity of human life of all ages. Survival can be tough. No one gets out of here alive!
In response to, A Breviary of Sin, I regret Sam hiring Diane too.
""Who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains talent, competencies, energy, effort, deal making abilities, and opportunities will succeed.""
Dr. Hank Cloud states, 'Integrity: The Courage to meet the demands of reality'. Does anyone agree with that statement? Can you remember a political contest won by someone riding on a policy that eventually lost favor within the voters. Early on, all was good because the bottom line was winning. But hidden from veiw is the cost - a candidates failed character will have long term negative impact on the social and work enviroment. I have been taught to vote Character, Competency, and Chemistry. You may quote me of course. I call it Cannons 3C's of the electorate.
Too often we vote or hire a person for competency and ignore how someone will fit within the work enviroment community, (chemistry). Even more important the majority tend to ignore the character flaws which eventually come front and center.
Only a GREAT neighbor would be supportive of the right to believe in anything you please subject to Biblical passages, seances, truth claims, numerology or virtually anything that gets you through the night.
Lots of people have heard of the book, Proverbs.
Proverbs 10;9 says a man of character walks securely, and a man who takes crooked paths will be found out. 11;3 reiterates the character of the honest keeps them on track the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin. 13;6 boast, Rightousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner...I could go on and on responding to a Breviary of sin, and, sin corrupts what is good, folly and addiction. But stop! Here's my bottom line:
Do the right thing, eventually someone may notice.
Even if no one notices at work or home, you know and God knows.
When it is all said and done, who you are is far more important than what you do.

So folic in the rain, drink at breakfast while reading about same in the paper and so forth and so on in moderation. That is the beauty of Gods grace. All three candidates seem to follow Richard Nixon with regard to having it, down Pat.

Apolo-ener-getic said...

The NewAlbanian says,
"It's all fine with me, but I have just as inalienable a right to opt out of it ... and I live in a country that in theory supports me in this path."

I agree, alot of good men died so that we can talk openly about issues.

Yet, there is a lot of issues that are influenced by, whether or not sin and evil do or do not--in fact--exist. Where do they come from--how are they explained? Is there survival benefits to evil?

Apolo-ener-getic said...

Cannonfarms says,
"Those still thinking "pro-life" is about saving babies lives have lots of reading to do. Those people are twenty five years behind the times."

I agree, personhood is the real issue. Is the unborn a person? I think the unborn are persons. I think murder is sin and/or an undesireable option.

The New Albanian said...

Cannonfarms, good to hear from you.

I've had all day to think about it, and in the final analysis, Hill gets my vote come November. He's certainly the least fundamentalist of the three, and that's enough.

It would be pleasant if just once in my life there'd be a chance to vote for, rather than against, but although I rail against it, I've accepted my fate. The two-party system does not provide an option for people like me. So be it. No whining.

Annoyance ... but no whining.

Time for a nightcap ...