Looks like it’s time for another conversation.
“So, you were a big supporter of those who rallied across the country for women’s rights yesterday?”
“And you largely are in favor of the agenda those folks are pursuing?”
“But you support the pro-lifers heading to Washington in a few days?”
“Stop with that one-word answer and explain yourself.”
“Indeed, I will.
“People who support a pro-life agenda have as much right to be seen and heard as anyone else. That whole free speech thing does work both ways, you know.
“That’s not the point, though. What is the point is that not everyone who is pro-life is anti-woman, so to speak. They are not all anti-social, if that makes sense.
“As I see it, the pro-life movement should say families come first and that a woman has the remarkable — and if you’ve been around any woman who has carried a baby to term, remarkable is appropriate — gift to literally deliver a new life to the world.
“That gift — plus families and most especially small children — should be respected, supported, promoted, loved and valued.
“That’s how I see it.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. That sounds nice and all, but doesn’t being pro-life mean you basically want to force a woman who gets pregnant to have the baby? In other words, you want to take away any decision she has to abort the child.”
“I think many people who say they are pro-life are really just anti-abortion; because when it comes time to support a larger pro-life agenda, they run and hide.
“But looking at the picture more broadly, sadly a black and white dilemma has formed about this issue: You have to be either pro-choice or pro-life; people have to pick a side as if this argument were some sports event involving a favorite team and a hated enemy. With that in mind, I know someone at this point wants to produce poll data that show more Americans support a woman’s right to choose. The not-so-subtle message is that you and I ought to join the more popular team, so to speak.
“The law of the land is the law of the land. And I think almost all of those politicians who are trying to chisel away small and small pieces of Roe v Wade are disingenuous. I don’t think they are really demonstrating a commitment to being pro-life; I do think they are deliberately provoking anger and hostility.
“As I see it, if those politicians were legitimately pro-life, then they would advance social and economic policies that help families. Meaningful government grants and health care policies on the state and federal levels for well-baby care, nursery school and pre-K programs. Strong support for elementary education and after-school education programs. Equal pay for women, too. Reasonable accommodations for men and women who have a sick child so that they know they won’t lose their jobs if they have to take care of their kids.
“If that child truly matters, and he or she should, then let’s focus on making sure he or she has a familial and a social safety net to make his or her initial years as strong as they can be. That’s what I believe when I hear the term ‘pro-life.'”
“I think you are dodging my question, whether or not I agree with what you just said. Are you pro-life?”
“Unless you are a murderer, you are pro-life.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it. Are you pro-life?”
“If being pro-life means believing in family; and promoting social, economic and political ideas consistent with family; and giving kids a firm foundation, then, absolutely, I am pro-life. If pro-life is merely defined as being a member of some team, then I’ll sit on the sidelines.
“I refuse to see the pro-life and pro-choice debate as an all-or-nothing that pits me on one team at the expense of the other. That probably won’t make either camp happy with me, but I fail to see why there needs to be an orthodoxy test here.”
“You’re really starting to hack me off. You wrote about why you were going to the Trump inauguration, and I’m sure some people read plenty into those words.”
“I’m sure they did.”
“Then you wrote about what you saw at the inauguration without really tearing into Trump for the idiot he is.”
“I think everyone knows what I think about Trump, and that I’m worried about the nasty rhetoric and nationalistic sentiments he espouses. No need to defend myself, thank you very much.”
“I’m having a hard time figuring out if you are as liberal as you say…”
“Wait. Stop. I’m a moderate. And that means I seem to always frustrate people to the left of me or people to the right of me.
Sadly our political parties these days are inching ever closer to a kind-of purity test for membership. To be a member of the Democratic Party, you must believe a, b and c, and you cannot question any of those ideas. To be a member of the Republican Party, you must believe d, e and f, and you cannot question any of those ideas.
“I think blind devotion to any party or cause is unwise. And a whole lot of heat will be directed at me for stringing those roughly one-dozen words together.
“I will not accept that all men and women who want to overturn Roe v Wade are nasty, evil people who want women to return to the ‘barefoot, pregnant and chained to the stove’ stereotype.
“And I will not accept that all men and women who are vehement in their belief that Roe v Wade must remain legal are anti-religious pinheads who are going straight to hell when they die.”