Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Elections Matter - And Debates Leave Too Much Unsaid

Is there ever going to be a serious conversation about what the repercussions would be if Roe vs Wade was overturned? This is not a theoretical matter because it could really happen in the not too distant future, at which point the matter ceases to be about opposing talking points and transforms into nitty gritty details to be dealt with.

I respect someone sincerely having a Pro Life position but I’m tired of hearing politicians say “I’m pro life”, “I believe in the sactity of life”, “all lives are sacred” without then detailing a follow up plan.

Suppose Romney wins the election and eventually he’s able to appoint enough conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe vs Wade.

So it’s now illegal for a woman (guy who contributed to the pregnancy bears no consequence of course, a major flaw in plan) to get an abortion. Penalty for breaking the law must be decided on.

Jail time seems ridiculous. So I guess you go with a hefty fine. But not everyone will be able to afford the fine. Jail time for those who can’t pay? Result, prisons overflowing with poor women.

Whatever penalty is decided on, let us assume it’s quite pursuasive. This means far fewer abortions, far more babies. The number of women who get pregnant without planning to parent will stay the same. After all, many of those who are anti-abortion are also illogically anti-contraceptives.

So now what? I will conservatively guess that the birth rate increases by 50%.

Women who wish to avoid the penalty for getting an illegal abortion (I won’t even get into the safety of the inevitable bootleg abortions from the network of unlicensed practicioneers that will emerge) decide to give birth even though they don’t want/plan to parent.

A percentage of these women will give a half hearted shot at raising the children. I'm going to say 20%. These are mostly poor, single women pushed to care for children they don’t want in their lives. The picture will not be pretty in those households but all that matters is squelching abortions.

But how about the other 80%? The attitude of these women is that you can make them carry to term but you can’t make them parent. 10% of these pregnancies are hidden and babies end up left in dumpsters.

Now we must deal with 70% of babies born to women who did not want and do not plan to raise them. The system (which takes various forms, much of it private/charitable, but much of it also government run or dependent on government money) will have to take care of these children. Adoption agencies and foster care system become overloaded but all that matters is squelching abortions.

I will generously assume that if you’re going to overturn Roe vs Wade you’re also going to pass laws that make adoption extremely affordable. As result, 25% of these children find welcoming homes.

It would be nice if all of these households had guaranteed healthcare. That’s a separate though certainly not unrelated matter for another day/post.

25% is probably too high a projection. After all, a fair number of the children will be the result of rape and even incest. This makes them way less adoptable. It’s not like reducing the cost of adoption means everyone becomes willing to do it. Many people have no interest in parenting, or no interest in parenting someone who is not their biological child. As for those who are willing (God bless them), they’ll have some restrictions (such as no can do if child is the result of violent rape) for obvious reasons.

But I’ll stick with my optimistic 25% guesstimate anyway. That leaves 45% of the babies whose biological mothers could/would not raise them going into the sytem.

Now as we know, the Romney/Ryan budget calls for making massive cuts to social services even though a massive INCREASE in funds to social services would be required to handle all of these children.

What we have here is another case of math that doesn’t add up. You want to “fix” our economy but simultaneously want to overturn a law that would eventually lead to a crippling of the economy. And keep in mind, this is the best case scenario I’m working with.

So maybe, just maybe, the issue isn’t quite so simple as saying “I’m pro life”, “I believe in the sactity of life”, “all lives are sacred”, “abortion is cold blooded murder that must be prevented at all cost”.

If that’s your stance, I understand and respect it. You believe in no exceptions other than perhaps when the life of the mother is at risk? Fine. I too wish that the number of abortions that occur each year considerably decreased, although since I am a man and cannot get pregnant, I’m not so arrogant as to think I have the right to tell a woman what she is allowed to do with her body. But if you are that arrogant/self righteous then I really need to hear your follow up plan. I need to know how many lives you are volunteering to care for if you insist on taking away women’s reproductive rights. If you are going to insist that every child be born then surely you will be doing your minimal share to address the consequences of this taking place. You don’t want to just overturn a rule of law and then let the chips fall where they may, correct? Not when those chips happen to be lives that you profess to care so much about.

If in fact you don’t have a follow up plan, then you need to go sit quiety in the corner and give more serious consideration to who you plan to vote for.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Judging Presidential Idol

Who do you think won the first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? Well, according to a CNN poll 67% believe it was Mr. Romney. That number sounds about right when compared to an unofficial poll of my Twitter feed. If Romney won, this means Obama was the loser. I disagree on both counts. It’s apparent to me based not on the debate but reactions to it that the winner was Style, and the loser was Substance. Substance is specifically indicating how you intend to address a problem and why you believe it has a solid chance to be successful. As for an effective style, it seems some examples would be ignoring and/or speaking over the moderator, being loudest and the most demonstrative, in general coming off as more aggressive than anyone else in the room.

Now I find nothing wrong with being demonstrative/loud/aggressive (rudeness to moderator is less than charming but not a deal breaker), so long as this is the manner in which you are delivering facts and common sense and a well laid out plan. If instead you are vague, denying what I plainly heard you say just the other day, making grand promises without showing a shred of evidence as to how it’s possible to achieve them, then I don’t care how much flair you demonstrate. While writing this I had a flashback to that little old lady from the Wendy’s commercials. Where’s the beef, she would demand to know. Mitt Romney did better than many expected from him and Barack Obama was less animated than a great number of his supporters hoped for. Expectations held in advance strongly influence determinations made after the fact. But ask yourself this. How can you declare Romney to be “the winner” when his claims on stage were both toothless and beefless? Perhaps Mitt made a stronger impression on you, particularly in comparison to his previous bumbling and stumbling. But do you intend to vote for an impression or for the real deal? Will you vote for the man who says and proves by actions how he’ll maintain Medicare and Social Security, promote improvements in the education system, lower the unemployment rate and deficit, increase our independence from oil and the nations in possession of much of it, cut the middle class a break in hard times rather than making the rich richer? Or will you vote for the man who says he’ll do all of that too, but gives no indication of how he would accomplish anything other than the opposite?

Mitt Romney’s campaign for president has been full of contradictions and inconsistencies. At one time or another he has been on both sides of most issues. The most blatant instance is his assault on and promise to repeal a healthcare plan that is based on his own model from when he was governor of Massachusetts and still possessed 47% of the heart provided by the Wizard of Oz. There are not enough hours in the day, much less in a debate where you only get half of the alloted time, to point out every instance of Romney’s hypocrisy. Yet many wish that Barack Obama had highlighted considerably more of them than he got around to. Consider me one of those people. But please don’t declare that I am someone who thinks Romney won the debate, and definitely do not place me on Team Style. No, I ride with Substance all the way. President Obama’s agenda may not be perfect (perfection is impossible anyway when met with obstruction from the Senate at every turn), but it is a plausible solution. It is tempting to want and believe in quick fixes, explaining why so much money has been made off of diet pills even though we know calorie control and exercise are what works. Turning the economy around cannot be done overnight, and not simply because George W. Bush was given 8 years to mess it up. Slow and steady is a believable course of action, no matter that it makes us understandably impatient. Waving a magic wand while cutting taxes on the rich to instantly create 12 million jobs is a far less plausible plan. That’s true even when it’s proclaimed with fantastic showmanship.

Left leaning political pundits are in an uproar. Social media is in a tizzy. Mitt Romney won the debate, they cry. All is lost. Perhaps Romney did win the debate per your personal standards of what victory looks like. If you think all is lost, though, then you must believe that the “independent undecideds” are just as easily swayed by sound and fury that signifies nothing. Keep in mind that up until now nothing has been able to swing them one way or the other. How this can be the case continues to befuddle me. I’m not sure whether they number in the millions, the thousands, or the dozens. I have no idea if they’re spread throughout the country or reside together Big Brother style. What I do know is that those who support Obama still support the President, those who support Romney still support him, and talking softly while carrying a big stick tends to be more effective than empty handed shouting.

"At some point, the American people have to ask themselves if the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans secret is because they're too good." - President Barack Obama

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