Sunday, July 03, 2005

Dems Change Position on Vacillation

From The Observer:
But in an extraordinary turn of events, some argue that it is the single issue standing in the way of their election prospects. They are daring to say what once was regarded as heresy - that it is time to let the argument go.

Abortion may still be the most divisive issue in the US, but in a move indicative of creeping conservatism, Democrats now seem happy to amend - even relinquish - their position on it.

But it is not only conservatives making this case. Cynthia Gorney, author of A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars, says she has 'heard it coming from people who you certainly wouldn't have heard it from three or four years ago. It's people who are ardent Democrats, fed up with the vacillations and ineffectiveness of the party. One aspect of that was: we've hung on too long to things that are destructive to us ultimately and clinging to Roe is costing us more than it's gaining us.'
Could it be that numbers of Democrats are considering abandoning a dearly held principle in order to achieve power? I have a major, major problem with this kind of thinking.

That there are dividing lines within society on issues such as abortion is a good thing. Without division, there is no debate. Without debate, there is inadequate investigation and consideration before proceeding with a decision. We benefit from a diversity of viewpoints and arguments, not less. That is one of the reasons to cherish free speech. It fosters breadth and depth in the public examination of issues.

The issue of abortion neatly cleaves society along religious lines more than anything else. If we are just nicely arranged protoplasm - entirely mortal - then there are no consequences to supporting abortion and the decision to facilitate is simple. The debate reduces to who pays for the services.

On the other hand, those that frame their lives on the notion that there is an immortal component to their being, tend to understand the ethical quandry that ensues when willfully ending a life.

I have a distinct distrust for political entities that are fluid in their principles. I despise leadership by polling. It's not leadership at all. It's followership. Why elect leaders that are followers? Worse, how do you place any value at all in a position espoused during an election campaign, if by whim of poll (heavily influenced by media) that same elected body reverses itself on an important issue? What meaning does this bring to the election process? It reduces the entire democratic process to a farce. Probably, and most sadly, it places political power in the hands of the media. The media makes or breaks the image of the candidate. Once platform and position are quixotic, and thus meaningless, this is all that is left as input for the election decision. It's hollow, it's shallow, and it's open to opportunistic abuse by rogues or (worse) tyrants.

This is why I am disappointed that the Democrats, having been out of power for 2 terms (an entire 8 years - a contemporary eternity!), are considering abandoning one of the most emotionally held positions in human history.

I cannot champion abortion on demand, and certainly not state-funded abortion on demand. Nevertheless, for the reasons I have articled above, I think it critically important for the sake of democracy, and therefore the quality of our lives, for deeply held principles to have primacy over electability.

It is a wrong turn by the Democrats, for the wrong reasons. I hope the Democrats terminate this idea in its first trimester.