Hot Springs, Arkansas, with its deep lakes and “sin city” notoriety, is the unnatural habitat of shallow-thinking, obsessive letter writers (I’d throw in fundamentalist, too, but that would just be piling on tautological tomfoolery). Little brother Lloyd Hoffman (endlessly quoting Billy’s boy Franklin Graham) and little sister Mary Robinson (oy vey! will she stop already with her “America, bless God” adieus?!) are just two that come to mind…
My latest response to these clannish brethren, these self-righteous christianists trying to turn the clock back to good old days that never were, was published in the Sunday edition of the Sentinel Record, October 15 2017, under the title of “Weaponizing abortion”.
Back in the late 1960s, Simon and Garfunkel sang the question, “What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?” In 2017, that simple question is answered week after week, as the same ilky rabble of letter writers, merry contrarians all, stain these pages with their regressive nonsense.
Murderer. Killer. Socialist. Muslim. Mexican. Terrorist. There’s not much else in their tiny little lexicons, so they fill the gaps with endless quotes from the Christian Bible, or by quoting professional bible-thumpers who have enriched themselves mining the gold in them thar’ hills of a gullible America hungry for health and wealth and, ironically, an apocalypse to end it all.
Words matter. Women who choose abortion are not murderers or killers. They deserve compassion and care. We all do. We all deserve quality, affordable care not derided as socialism or a gateway drug to communism. Words matter. Muslims and Mexicans are not terrorists. If you really believe that Bible you love to quote, they deserve your welcome and respect and friendship.
Abortion is not murder or killing because a few inky wretches say so, or because a barely hidden political agenda says so. What is a human life? When does it start and end? For thousands of years the span of a person’s life has been measured by one simple test. If she breathes, she is alive. When he stops breathing, he is dead.
Even the ancient creation stories begin with a Creator breathing life into its creation. The same Creator who, by some estimates, smites up to 70% of all pregnancies and fertilized zygotes. It is a harsh reality, but before breath begins and after it ends, there is no human life.
There is only tissue. The blood and bone and gristle we humans are made of, to be sure, but here’s the rub. Unless you are the person attached to that tissue, what to do with it is none of your business. Got that, ladies and gentlemen? It doesn’t matter if that tissue is a fetus or a diseased body part or a limb that must be amputated. It is none of your business.
Fact is, abortion did not became such a high-profile issue, a cornerstone of regressive politics in America, until it was weaponized by the Republican Party to divide and conquer. Just about the same time public schools were desegregated… Coincidence?
Their ploy was so wildly successful that we’re now on the cusp of full-blown fascism. We may still masquerade that fascism as exceptionalism, or hide it in the shadows of a cross, or behind a façade of red, white, and blue patriotism, but America today has never looked more like 1930s Germany. Our POTUS has never looked more like Der Fuhrer.
Strangers are feared. Rights are suppressed. Obedience is demanded. Walls, big, beautiful walls are promised. Science and education are ridiculed. Ignorance and hubris are now our best-known exports.
“God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson. Jesus loves you more than you will know.”
Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Photograph (modified): http://chrisreimersblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/100_1674.jpg