In 1989, as a newly christened editorial writer for my high school newspaper, I thought it compelling to write an article on the hypocrisy in the world as I then understood it. As I remember, this forgettable, frivolous piece chronicled both silly and yet profound two-faced ways of the world that I did not fully understand. That is except for one point I made: destroying a human child in the womb was legal but ravaging an eagle egg would merely land you in jail and cost you thousands of dollars in fines.1
This is not a post about the political issue known today as abortion, but rather a continuation of that same over-arching theme of hypocrisy in our culture and what defines our values.
The article I turned in to the editor-in-chief of our school paper earned me a prominent spot in the next edition of this biweekly publication, juxtaposed against a “pro abortion” article across the spread, written by a fellow student. This was my first exposure as a pre-adult at how simply stating a fact(s) could evoke a visceral response from others who emotionally react to it. It was also an initial lesson on how the media, even a lowly high school newspaper, thrives on controversy. Without a bad guy, the good guy has no one to fight. It’s why political TV is so popular in our day2 and classic stories of good vs evil never grow old when told with fresh context.
What of a society that superficially honors marital vows between a man and a woman, yet produces movies, novels, songs, TV shows and web sites that exacerbate the corruption in us all to betray these very promises? What of an all-wise government that attempts to remove potent dangers from everyday life — from the foods we eat, to the source of our clothing, to written regulations longer than our arms on any conceivable societal activity — yet it cannot balance its own budget? (Both of those points were substantive – let me try to lighten the mood.)
There are also less weighty things all around us to consider: why do we drive on parkways but we park in driveways; why are apartments stuck together; why the word abbreviation is difficult to shorten; why can an 18-year-old kid join the military and potentially die for his country in war yet not be responsible enough to consume a beer? (Guess I’m drifting back to the weighty.)
And then there are contradictions that makes us genuinely irate: Why do good people often die before they grow old; when evil, seemingly, triumphs over good and in our shortsightedness we believe this to be “the way things are now;” when the 6,000-year-old sacred bonding of matrimony can haphazardly be redefined by 5 people who discover a new way to read a paragraph written 149 years prior3; and then, of course, there is the issue of destroying a pre-born human as long as he/she has not yet exited his/her mother’s womb.
Forget politics for a moment and ponder that thought.
When there is no moral foundation that a people agree upon, anything is game, including ambiguous definitions of right & wrong. Abortion plays into these shifting sands.
I was encouraged to hear the President say, as a candidate during the 2016 debates, that his previously publicly stated position of being pro-abortion (aka pro-choice4) changed because of a child he knew that was to be aborted. From the story he told, he had a friend who said they were going to abort their “unviable-tissue-mass” but in the end decided not to go through with it. Trump said that knowing this child changed his approach & thinking on the issue.
Regardless if you see this as a moral issue or a ‘right’ protected by the government, is it not ludicrous to argue that there is a stiffer penalty when a person aborts an eagle still in its egg than there is when a doctor-nurse-clinic-woman-man decide to abort a human baby in the same situation?
For those who argue that bashing an eagle egg deserve a harsher penalty than aborting a unborn child, I question his/her foundation of morality and ethics. This is certainly not the qualities that built the western culture into one that held the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in high regards.
Whoa to us who call good evil and evil good. jrw
2. .I don’t watch political TV with any regularity because while discussions are productive, all the pundits seem to do is talk so they can hear themselves talk.
3. .This is in reference to the 2015 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that forced gay marriage upon 50 states and DC, despite the will of the people in over 25 states who had previously voted in general elections to “limit” the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, as it had been for the 6,000 years of recorded human history. The 5 Justices who wielded such power did so under the belief that the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment grants the right of two men to marry one another.
4. .Many people who argue vehemently about a “right to choice” become genuinely angry when another person is talked out of aborting their child by anti-abortion advocates. Thus, it’s my belief that many people (not all of course) who claim to be all for choice use that as a code word to imply abortion is always acceptable if the thought is being remotely considered.