Litmus Test


 A guy shoots up a newsroom, killing 5 journalists. President says nothing in response to event or to reporters’ questions following the incident. That night, the video of  the President silently walking past reporters, ignoring their questions about the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, was aired on tv and social media. A long day later, he stated that “journalists shouldn’t have to be fearful of being attacked while doing their jobs”. But  to Trump, journalists are “the enemy of the people”.  

So, another mass shooting that couldn’t be prevented, because how could we possibly stop the outlier? Each time? Beforehand?  We could arm teachers! Where are those good guys with guns? 

This is a reflection of our culture and politics. We live in danger of being shot anywhere because we won’t regulate lethal weaponry and have poor mental healthcare. Guns are considered masculine, even when women use them. They are the ultimate symbol of American individualism and self sufficiency. They are said to be for protection, but they are for killing (or injuring) full human  (and other) beings. They are meant to cause suffering and fear.

Even those who want to see loopholes closed, better screening , and better mental healthcare across the country, understand that there is a cultural affinity for guns, legitimized by the Second Amendment. 

Why, then, has abortion become the litmus test of our culture and politics? Why has Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion, always seemed dispensable ? The “Right to Life” is only valid as a potential life, but not once born—an actual life? Many like to mock the Clintons’ stance that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare”, because, well, Hilary said that. The circumstance of pregnancy is unique. But it does include women’s health, and I do think abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.

 Abortion is not some newfangled cultural phenomena that began with The Feminine Mystique. Abortions have always existed, and have been dangerous (and criminal) until I was 10. But the cultural zeal and singular voting issue that has overridden everything in my lifetime has been the issue of abortion. 

Physicians have been shot (and killed) over the idea of getting rid of Roe v Wade, thereby criminalizing abortions (and OBGYNs who might perform the procedure). Right to life?

The President of Trumpistan understands that putting an anti-abortion judge on The Supreme Court will keep his base applauding, and his congressional lackeys collecting contributions. The ridiculous argument that gets put forward that it should be a states’ rights issue, not a federal one, sticks because it is an effective political move to limit access in Red states. Culturally and politically, the so-called “Right to Lifers” have all but eradicated the legality of early termination of a pregnancy, while opening up the floodgates for more semiautomatic weaponry without restrictions on use. 

Sure, there are several issues that delineate the views of the Supreme Court, but none are as contentious as Roe v Wade. Not even guns. We have deluded ourselves across our culture and politics into accepting certain rights as necessary for freedom and, ironically, life, and others as oppressive. Moreover, we have been so divided and hateful over this issue. We have so little room for accepting differing concepts, or compromising. 

Abortion is the issue that most are concerned about now that Kennedy is stepping down from the high court. Shouldn’t we be talking more about the mass murder at a newsroom? 

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