Life: Union, Definition, Extension, ..and Richardson
by Trey Rentz, Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 11:21:55 AM EDT
Perhaps one of the biggest issues in any race are the issues regarding life union, the definition of life, and the right to life. Amazingly these rights are often championed by the same people who crusade for the institutionalization of death in prison sentences. Tough talk! Often, and perhaps not surprisingly, life unions and partnerships are crusaded against by those selfsame individuals. I know it hasn't been a banner year for these issues, but they are important, and I feel they are part of a good litmus test to apply before you pull the lever. I'm writing from the perspective of a Bill Richardson indie blogger. But really only because Richardson seems to make the most sense on these issues to me.
Bill Richardson is a Catholic. I actually haven't seen that much coverage on this fact, but in my view that religious orientation almost guarantees a careful consideration of the questions above. The Holy Roman Catholic Church has devoted itself to this question and many of the orthodox, latin mass congregations center their political activity around right to life. A friend of my father in law once wrote that she would take any and all unwanted babies born and raise them. And she did. There are scores of people in whom this single issue defines their candidates. And this year, Rudy Guiliani .. well he just ain't gettin' their vote.
Not that the church is perfect. I am simply stating that I appreciate this sort of perspective - and that they are right places to sort out issues regarding union, sancticty of life, and if they are working right, they can also be a nice place to go, when young mothers are in trouble. If anything, given the priest scandals - the Catholic Church should also at least be aware of the idea that domestic partnerships might be a good thing. I personally cannot imagine a life of celibacy. Then again, I tried out for becoming one of Al Franken's "Heroes of Abstinence" and failed so..
Politics is not about the definition of Organic Life; Marriage is not about tax breaks, Domestic Partnerships are not about Destroying Marriage. Bill Richardsons work to make New Mexico one of the few states where domestic partnerships are recognized is, like the other questions - a position that is just about the maximum utilization of available resources. Statesmen are there to reflect your views, not prejudge them through a religious lens and parse out your requested actions by what you hope are their elective prejudicial leanings. (more after the jump)
You can guess that as a Governor of a desert state, Bill Richardson has seen that statistic that in every country where the procedure of abortion was made safe, effective and legal - the abortion rate plummets. Former President Carter wrote in his book "Our Endangered Values" that the predominantly Roman Catholic countries of Peru, Brazil, Chile and Colombia -where abortion is illegal, hold an abortion rate of 50 per thousand. In countries such as the netherlands, where the practice is legal and to my view - moreimportantly, where good health care is available for the mother - there are only 7 per thousand. Every presidential candidate wants to make Abortion rare. You can't be pro abortion, especially when even the mother that wishes to have the operation performed, isn't.
It has long been known that there are fewer abortions in nations where prospective mothers have access to contraceptives, the assurance that they and their babies will have good health care, and at least enough income to meet their needs
- James. E. Carter, p. 74 "Our Endangered Values"
Bill Richardson has aligned himself, as best as I can tell, on these moral issues in a simple and clear fashion. He supports the right of a mother to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term - his views are pretty clearly lined up with the idea that an overturn of Roe vs. Wade is counterproductive. The mother may have chosen when she conceived. And the dog and pony that we saw in Teri Schiavo's fiasco may have made a difference to her life, as well. But Richardson is coolheaded about union, the issue of definition of life, and the issue of employing human genetic material for the furthering of life. If we are honest, the votes there are yes, yes, and yes respectively. (to resolve disputes as to how to really lower the abortion rate, please see the abovementioned statistics - biggest drop in American history was I think under Bill Clinton, wasn't it?)
Governor Bill Richardson has forged a platform that , like a good diplomat going to the table for you, lets America walk away with a decreased abortion rate, long needed support for domestic partnership and stronger stem cell research lines.
There is a saying in the bible that all of heaven rejoices when one lost sheep returns to the fold. Does all of heaven rejoice - when a smattering of genetic material, unsexed and unformed - returns to the flock?
America does not need to be litigating the bedrooms and private lives of its citizens. The church can concern itself with its various lost sheep, through its blessing (or lack thereof) of union or alignment, or by winning a much needed place in society , authoritative to life in corporeal form (because the genetics have just begun). In so doing, the church is empowered, not diminished by owning these moral issues. Certainly we can debate about who should own them. But to have a constitutional amendment defining Marriage is as absurd as hiring a priest to bless the water supply of a city, in order to purify it.
IMHO the moral dimension of any candidate is something we should concern ourselves with as a people. We should dispense with the notion that superpowers are moral. They act in their own best interest. We do not follow that particular delusion here. But as a people, in choosing the man or woman to represent us, we should ask ourselves what is the picture of that candidate? We, as a people can have goals. Reinhold Neibuhr, in his book "Moral Man and Immoral Society" once wrote:
What are the goals of a country? They are all remarkably the same: a desire for peace; a need for humility, for examining ones faults and turning away from them; a commitment to human rights in the broadest sense of the words, based on moral society concerned with the alleviation of suffering because of deprivation or hatred or hunger or physical affliction; and a willingness, even an eagerness, to share one's ideals , ones faith with others, to translate love into personal justice
-Reinhold Neihbur , "Moral Man and Immoral Society"
If you've ever met Bill Richardson, you find that he's remarkably a regular guy. And the above statement seems to describe well what he would do in the White House as Chief Diplomat. We know that the best way to win a negotiation is to keep a few cards close to your chest. But there are other times when you have to play the big blind. And these issues are really important for many voters. Some of them actually believe Richardon's view to pull back the entire base of Troops is part of our moral obligation. I think Richardson can play it right.
What do you think?