I was stunned yesterday when the House rejected a ban on sex-selection abortions.
I thought: "Where are we? China?"
Then: "We have actually turned into Brave New World. In the United States."
I had to sit down to absorb this.
I thought: "This is the legacy we are leaving Hannah and Rose. To grow up in a world where Brave New World isn't a fantastical, dystopian, super-depressing piece of fiction. Where it is real and they have to help fight it."
I think it was then that tears actually came to my eyes.
It melded together:
- A paper proposing use of the term ‘after birth abortion’ to refer to the killing of both disabled and apparently healthy new-born babies published recently in the Journal of Medical Ethics (There is a follow up piece here. Links via the excellent The Catholic Laboratory podcast).
- Hearing BBC news announcers ask people to call in with reactions to a proposal that doctors assume that people are happy to donate their organs unless they make the effort to opt out. I thought it was a joke, but no.
- The couple who sued their doctor for "wrongful birth" after their daughter was diagnosed during a prenatal screening as not having Down Syndrome. And won.
- The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, imagining a future where abortion is legal until the soul enters the body, which is specified as the moment a person has the ability to do simple algebra.
- What my grandmother, Thelma, would say about all this. She'd have a word for it. "Evil."
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara where I just read about Southerners talking about states' rights versus a Northern commander telling some mutineers that "freedom is not just a word." And "What we're all fighting for, in the end, is each other." (States' rights are important to be sure but not when they are used to hide shameful behavior behind.)
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: ... Someone *has to* speak for these people. Y'all got on this boat for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave.I am not good at misbehaving but the prevailing standards are such that one must hardly do more than speak plainly to do so or to bring up voting issues to friends who do not share the same beliefs.
No more runnin'. I aim to speak plain.
Someone *has to* speak for the innocent being slaughtered.
Do not refrain from speaking at the crucial time, and do not hide your wisdom. - Sirach 4:23I don't know how wise I am. But I do know what is true.
And that the easiest way to know and to tell what is true is to "explain as you would a child" as Galaxy Quest makes clear.
Jason Nesmith: Mathesar, there's no such person as Captain Taggart. My name is Jason Nesmith. I'm an actor. We're all actors.I'd forgotten that this fight to save lives is so similar that fought in the Civil War. The same dissimulation by those who want to ignore humans treated like animals, like possessions for the convenience of the powerful.
Sarris: He doesn't understand. Explain as you would a child.
Jason Nesmith: We, uh, we pretended. ... We lied.
We've been lied to so long that most of us believe the lie to be truth.
I honor those 20 Democrats who voted for the ban and shame on you who voted against it. I've seen the arguments and they are specious. You'll say and do anything to keep power.
And we let you. We vote you in by lying to ourselves that other things matter more than the dead little ones.
I've read Uncle Tom's Cabin. I recognize you from that book. You'd do well to read it.
This isn't much of a misbehaving. Yet. But it begins with me getting my thoughts straight and then facing again the fact that we are soldiers.
I am fasting and praying today in mourning for the little ones killed, in hope for us alive to take on the fight, in charity for the deceived ones to wake up and recognize the lies, in love for our country ... and in trust that God hears the cries of the oppressed.
I think I may have to do so for the remaining Fridays of my life.
It aint' much. But it's a start.
"Well, I don't want to preach to you. You know who we are and what we're doing here. But if you're going to fight alongside us there's a few things I want you to know.
He bowed his head, not looking at eyes. He folded his hands together.
"This regiment was formed last fall, back in Maine. There were a thousand of us then. There's not three hundred of us now." He glanced up briefly. "But what is left is choice."
He was embarrassed. He spoke very slowly, looking at the ground.
"Some of us volunteered to fight for Union. Some came in mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came...because it was the right thing to do. All of us have seen men die. Most of us never saw a black man back home. We think on that, too. But freedom...is not just a word."
He looked into the sky, over silent faces.
"This is a different kind of army. If you look at history you'll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we're here for something new. I don't...this hasn't happened much in the history of the world. We're an army going out to set other men free.
He bent down, scratched the black dirt into his fingers. He was beginning to warm to it; the words were beginning to flow. No one in front of him was moving. He said, "This is free ground. All the way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by what your father was. Here you can be something. Here's a place to build a home. It isn't the land--there's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me, we're worth something more than the dirt. I never saw dirt I'd die for, but I'm not asking you to come join us and fight for dirt. What we're all fighting for, in the end, is each other."
Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels