E.J. Dionne writes about the hypocrisy of much public discourse on abortion:
Our political system has created strong incentives for candidates to be less than candid about what they really think.
To begin with, candidates are rarely willing to say outright what’s true for so many of them: that they do not consider abortion the most important issue in politics and that it is not the reason they entered public life. …
… Plenty of Democrats entered politics primarily because of a mix of commitments related to social justice, poverty, labor rights, health care, civil rights and the environment. Many equally principled Republicans were animated largely by skepticism of government interference in the marketplace, support for lower taxes and, in many cases, a belief in an assertive foreign policy.
Yet politicians who acknowledged that abortion was not one of their driving concerns would be denounced, oddly enough, as unprincipled.
From time to time liberal writers and bloggers break out in a rash of discussion about how to discuss abortion. Not what we think about it, as we pretty much settled that years ago. No, we ask ourselves how to talk about it, because the crims (e.g., people who want to criminalize abortion) are eternally carping on our alleged insensitivity to “life.” I take it the crims are not staying awake at night worrying about offending us, however.
Anyway, I take it we’re supposed to acknowledge that terminating a pregnancy is a bit sad when you think about it, but we can’t go too far in that direction because that would be admitting abortion is bad. Yet the crims are never put on the spot to consider the desperate measures women take to abort —
“Most commonly, they ingest a whole bottle of quinine pills, with castor oilâ€¦we try to get them to the ER before their cardiac rhythm is interruptedâ€¦Sometimes they douche with very caustic products like bleach. We had a patient, a teen, who burned herself so badly with bleach that we couldn’t even examine her, her vaginal tissue was so painfulâ€¦.”
“Our local hospital tells me they see 12-20 patients per year, who have already self-induced or had illegal abortions. Some make it, some don’t. They are underage or poor women mostly, and a few daughters of pro-life familiesâ€¦”
I find that terribly sad. Yet it’s OK for crim activists to scream hatefulness at abortion clinic patients.
I’ve noticed over the years that one cannot interact directly with a psychologically challenged person. Instead, you interact with their disorder, whatever it is. A common example is the manager with an explosive temper; the employees quickly learn how not to set off that temper. People with behavioral or character disorders are difficult people, and when they can’t be avoided most of us almost instinctively cater to their craziness to keep them from getting even crazier. This is why enabling is so common. It’s a lot easier to tip-toe around Uncle Frank’s alcoholism than to try to get him to stop drinking.
Today there is much discussion all over the blogosphere about Amanda M.’s resignation from the Edwards campaign. Although there is much criticism flying in many directions, the bottom line is that Amanda was hounded out of the job by a bigoted whackjob, Bill Donohue. In a rational world, nobody would give a hoohaw what Donohue thinks.
Seems to me we’re all being held hostage by whackjobs. In spite of overwhelming public opinion against the war, too many Dems are tip-toeing around ending it because whackjobs will call them soft on national security. This is irrational, because the war in Iraq is hurting, not helping, national security. Yet craziness must be catered to. Bill Kristol comes to mind; the man is nuttier than a peanut farm, yet no one in professional media (except maybe Keith Olbermann) is willing to say so.
I don’t have a solution to this, except to suggest we all stop being enablers.