For the United States it is voting day at last.
As early as tomorrow freedom will ring across the land as all the political ads will finally stop running. Yes, for once in my life, I’ll be happy to hear about side effects (up to and including death), how much money I won’t have in my retirement and garments specially designed for Americans and made in China so they can inhale whole containers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (where a pint is still 16 ounces) and finger the remote control – all at the same time!
This day brings a lot of craziness.
I’m not going to miss the ads. Let’s take a look at Measure WTF. Ostensibly this measure was brought to the ballot via the citizen initiative process. What does that mean? Most likely that paid canvassers collected the signatures. What’s that? I love the smell of democracy in the morning.
The other day I read an article that made an interesting point. I’ll have to paraphrase since I can no longer find it. The point of the article was this: “It is constitutional to fight Obamacare by defunding it.”
While trying to find the article again so I could link it in this post, I found a lot more articles. Some, on the left, called defunding unconstitutional. Meanwhile, others on the right said it was fine and dandy.
So, what’s a regular idiot like me supposed to think? These are (presumably) people who know about this sort of thing, went to school, studied it, and know a hell of lot more about the nuts and bolts than a dolt like me. And, lo and behold, all of these so called experts don’t seem to agree. Worse, their varied opinions appear to be based on ideological turf.
Which way is up?
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This post was once just a twinkle in my eye. Then I conceived a subject, a germane approach fertilized, and, long story short, this post was birthed nine minutes later.
WordPress was the midwife.
Of course, in my dictionary, “fertilize” generally means “throw poop on it,” but hopefully you still get the idea.
“Daddy, where do babies come from?”
“Good question. But, technically speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘baby.’ You see, son, the North Carolina House of Representatives tells us that at the exact moment of fertilization a ‘human being’ has been created.”
[laughing] “Yes, son. Fertilization. That’s just a fancy word for mommy and daddy getting together, each of them adding a special ingredient, and making a new person. Like you! You know how chocolate and peanut butter got together to make a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? It’s a lot like that.”
Indeed, Timmy. Indeed.
Freedom. In America, seemingly above all else, we prize our cherished freedom. And rightly so. But probably at the very moment pilgrims landed in this country, they did something peculiar. They started making laws to control the freedoms of each other.
“There are nine of us and one of you. We voted and decided that thing you do is now prohibited.” Ah, democracy.
Our history is replete with this sort of thing. Freedoms legislated away like oral sex, anal sex, “sodomy,” adultery, nudity, women owning property, women being allowed to vote, black people being free persons, black people being allowed to vote, black people owning guns, etc.
A quintessential example of this? In the original version of the Constitution of the United States, you only had to read four short paragraphs before encountering racism.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Thankfully that sentence was modified by the 14th Amendment.
So anyway, this sort of thing is nothing new.
On my morning commute, I sometimes like to listen to religious programming. There’s a morning talk show, I don’t know the name, where I’ll sometimes pause. (That same station at night is more fire and brimstone and doesn’t hold the same sway.)
This week they were talking about how “life begins at conception” and the fight they hope to bring to the Supreme Court. They talked about how an effort was underway in North Carolina to legally say that a human being exists at the moment of conception. They also said that if you had an opinion different than that you were “anti-life.”
You know, some people don’t like to be called “homophobes” just because they take a position against homosexuality. Yet here we have religious folk flinging the “anti-life” label simply because you disagree with them on what is, in all actuality, a very very fine point. I find that a skosh hypocritical.
The proposed North Carolina law that was passed by their House of Representatives takes a quite reasonable position. It would criminalize “death or injury” of a “fetus” at “any” stage of development. Take the morning after pill? You’re guilty of murder, pal. You just killed a “human being.”
That’s not farcical at all, is it?
Kill a sperm? That’s okay. Kill an ovum? Still okay. But at the very moment those two things are joined to form a zygote a “human being” now exists and “killing” is off the table.
Curious, and being a fan of Texas Holdem, I invited a few zygotes to my house the other night for a poker game. Aside from a weird tendency to go “all-in” too often, I found them decent human beings, although, to be honest, they were extremely boring and completely lacking in personality and the social graces.
I understand abortion is a serious issue. In fact, my opinion on the issue has changed somewhat radically over the years. It has become much more conservative over time. When I was young and stupid I was pretty cavalier about it. Now that I’m old and stupid, my standards have changed dramatically.
I can’t define my position exactly, but let’s just say that I support a woman’s right to choose. It’s her body and her choice. But, in my opinion, that moment of choice is extremely narrow.
Clearly it is wrong to kill a newborn baby. Just as clearly, in my view, a “human being” is not created at the moment of conception.
Somewhere, between those two extremes, lies the real moment when a human life comes into being. I have no idea when that moment might be. Perhaps it’s a heart beat. Perhaps it’s brainwaves. Perhaps it’s a fingerprint. I really don’t know, nor do I know if anyone really knows.
Something tells me it might have something to do with the ability to feel and, perhaps, experience pain. Not hurting others is a big part of my philosophy so that resonates with me. A zygote can’t feel pain. But somewhere in the development of a fetus that ability does exist.
That’s why I believe we should err on the side of caution. Make abortion laws have a tight window. Very tight. But criminalizing abortion all the way to the moment of conception? I believe that is wrong. It impinges on the freedom of the individual in favor of a human being that doesn’t yet exist.
Debate on fiercely contested issues isn’t always a logical thing. You ask for the moon. I’ll ask for the stars. Neither side will get what they ask, so invariably we end up somewhere in the middle. I believe that trying to criminalize abortion all the way to the moment of conception is a tactic. One that is designed to move where that eventual compromise will exist.
We should intelligently debate this issue. And we should fight to make reasonable laws that are based on common sense. Not go after illogical extremes as political strategies.
This is my “F” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.
Warning: This most may contain offensive themes and content. But nothing that Craigslist wouldn’t allow, I assure you of that.
I never paid much attention to craigslist. Oh sure, I heard about it in the news, usually something about the latest scam, or a family being shot dead during a craigslist transaction, or, more often than not, something having to do with a profession even older than craigslist itself. Thank God for craigslist or there would be a lot less prostitution!
Recently I was given reason to get off my duff and go learn more about the mysterious place known as craigslist. Sadly the reason is that the web site is being used to attack my very existence.
First I became aware of a section of craigslist that is called “rants and raves.” Just to enter and look around you have to agree that you’ll be subjected to “offensive content” and that you are at least 18 years of age.
In this section you will find the basest of the base. The very best of the worst that humanity has to offer. Craigslist has some legitimate functions (which are, of course, highly exploited by bad people), but rants and raves is reserved for the creme de la creme of evil. It represents a lowest common denominator of humanity and, trust me on this, there is basically no limit to how low that low can go.
Tonight I did an experiment. I picked a region at random. (Atlanta because it was listed first.) I then went into Atlanta’s “rants and raves” section. The very first thing I saw listed was this: “Coon chokes his 3 yr old.” The content, which I debated reproducing here but simply can’t in good conscience, even in the name of science, was one of the most offensive and disturbing things I’ve ever read. The use of the n-word in the post was just one of the many offenses including a reference to the child’s nose as a “snout,” talking about “KFC (extra crispy)” and much, much more.
And this was literally the very first thing I found on a random dip into craigslist. As such, what can we assume? That this is about average or that I somehow picked the worst of the worst? Something tells me that on craigslist this is nothing that unusual.
One can only wonder. Where does craigslist draw the line?
Like I said, the only reason I’m aware of how this web site works at all is because I came under attack myself. It’s a long story but basically I administer a web site forum and I’ve had to kick people off, from time to time, for repeated violations of the web site rules, one of which is: “Don’t be gigantic douchebag assholes.” That’s pretty much the Prime Directive of our rules.
My experience on this internet forum has taught me one thing quite clearly: Adults do not take kindly to being moderated in any way, shape or form. Just like everyone else they feel the rules to do not apply to them. Ever. If you dare enforce a rule, no matter how well deserved, you just made yourself a rabid enemy for life.
This is where craigslist comes in. Deprived of their voice on a forum, craigslist is their dream come true. Here they can safely remain truly anonymous as they attack real people by name. They have told lies about me, posted my picture, published my home address, called me Adolf Hitler (always a party favorite) and now have even taken up the practice of insulting my wife.
Freedom of speech in our country is a sacred right. But what about freedom of anonymous speech? I figured that must be different, especially when it is being used as a method of attack. I was wrong.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment.
EFF says that this right was even used by our founding fathers, people like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison who wrote under the pseudonym “Publius.”
I tried to file a report with the local police today regarding this campaign against us that has gone on for months now. Their response, paraphrased: “Too bad, so sad.” They said it is nothing illegal and is protected free speech under the First Amendment. They didn’t want to look at my documentation, either, saying it wouldn’t matter.
Thanks to sites like craigslist we can view and experience the true nature of humanity and the universe, and, for an added bonus, take a quick swim in a pool of bile. Now I call that a true win-win!