A comment from my blog:
How odd, now…how so very odd…that I find myself painted into such a corner that I am called “intolerant” by merely promoting what I know MUST be the most fundamental right—the right to live, the right to life.
When this fundamental right is denied or cannot be comprehended, then avoidance is impossible, appeasement is futile, conflict inevitable. It is only a matter of time before we cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. When it comes, examine yourself very closely (because I certainly will be examining myself) to see on which side you should stand.
It’s not to often that a comment gives me a moment’s pause and makes me examine my beliefs. I don’t just mean a quick fact check or a tweak to my way of thinking, but a real honest to goodness reevaluation of what I think. Hunley’s comment was one of those. For a few moments I was stumped.
If life is THE fundamental right that we posses, how can a person be pro-choice? How can a person support legalized euthanasia? For just a minute I was confused…
Then it hit me. I don’t believe Hunley is right.
Oh sure, life is important. I’m not sure I could write this if I were dead. Granted, maybe it’s possible if I got a hold of that John Edwards dude, but being the cynic that I am I won’t hold my breath for that. (Then again, if I’m dead, I don’t have any breath..never mind). So we have established that life is important – but life in and of itself is just a condition – it doesn’t mean anything in and of itself. Instead of “life” being the fundamental keystone of human existence, I think it is self-determination.
It dawned on me a little later that that may be a fundamental difference between the way conservatives (especially social conservatives) and liberals view the world. The distinction colors almost every aspect of our world view. Not recognizing this difference is one of the most divisive aspects in America today. Without understanding this philosophical difference, we might be talking to each other, but our mutual frames of reference are so different that we aren’t communicating.
Now when I originally started this little rant, it was intended to be a long piece going into the philosophical difference between the two sides. Instead, I think it should be more “food for thought” than an “all you can eat buffet of Cranky’s ego”. It’s something to think about and discuss more than it is for me to wax poetic about. However, I want to throw in a few of my thoughts to get the conversation started.
The focus on “life” is the focus on the wrong half of the equation. It is an over-simplistic slogan that does nothing to better the condition of mankind. I think that the “right” is dead wrong on this, and one of the reasons they are dangerous. Slaves are alive, but no one would argue that that is a life worth emulating. Being poverty-stricken and destitute is arguably a bit better than being a slave, but for many the difference is marginal. To focus on the fact that they are alive, is silly. They are not free. They have no ability to choose their destiny or take ownership of their life.
Without that ownership they exist but do not live. Without that self-determination they are brutalized victims devoid of hope. As we have seen time and time again, when people are without hope, without choice, the value of life plummets to almost nothing.
Instead, we need to focus on ensuring that people have the foundation necessary to control their own life, to make their own way. That includes the right to a decent education. That includes the right to decent health care. That includes the right to choose who they love, who they marry and IF they will have children. A person needs to have an opportunity to succeed regardless of his or her background, not in spite or because of it. Yes, they even the right to know when they have had enough and end your life on their own terms.
Without these things, at a minimum, a person can’t take control of her life. Try getting a good job when you were the victim of an inner-city education. Try raising a successful family when you can’t afford to take your kid to the doctor. Sure it CAN be done, but at what cost to society? How many kids end up in jail instead of college? How many more infants die here than need be because they lacked proper care? Try explaining to a terminal ill, pain-racked loved one why they have to suffer in day after day just to be “alive.”
It’s not enough to say you support the right to life. You have to support the right to a quality life. Our founders listed Liberty and Happiness along with life, because without those, life has little meaning. The freedom to live, the freedom to choose, the freedom to make your way in the world.
But what do you think – Life or Liberty? Sanctity of Life or the Quality in which you live it? It’s the question that divides us more than anything, but is there any hope of finding common ground? To me the choice is clear.