Thursday, February 11, 2016

Abortion, Birth Control, Guns, War, and the Dynamics of Power

Democrats cling to abortion and birth control with the same tenacity that Republicans cling to guns and war and for the same reasons - it's about power and control. Abortion and war may sound like totally different topics, but they aren't. Abortion and war both take innocent lives and destroy them in an effort to preserve other lives. Both abortion and war are seen as essential mechanisms of preserving freedom even at the cost of innocent life. Democrats aren't wrong to want an end to war, and Republicans aren't wrong for wanting to end abortion.

War and Abortion

It may seem overly dramatic to count abortion as a kind of war. It's just one child that's dying, some might say. But 57 million unborn babies have already died in this war.  And it isn't just one baby. It is their children, grandchildren, and every other person who would have come from them who has also been killed with them. Whole nations are being wiped out while people stand silently or cheer on the doctors who are doing the killing. Make no mistake. This is every bit of a war, just one in which the victims do not have voices to make themselves heard or weapons to fight back.

The Imperfect Solution Is Better than the Existing Alternatives

Republicans see war as a necessary means of preserving the safety of lives. Democrats see abortion the same way. Both are wrong. Neither are necessary. Both do more harm than good. But each side clings to their individual evils for the same reason - they don't see a better alternative.

While Republicans argue that there's always adoption, that ignores the very ugly reality about the life long pain caused to the baby, to the mother, to the father, and even to the adoptive parents when an adoption takes place. Adoption shouldn't be the preferred go-to solution, because it's honestly not the best thing for everyone. It's a make-do solution that we turn to when there aren't better solutions. And so Democrats keep charging ahead with abortion because, as imperfect a strategy as abortion is, it's better than the painful solutions presented to them.

While Democrats argue that there's always negotiation, that ignores the very ugly reality that there are opponents for which negotiation is not an option. They should know. They are constantly saying that Republicans won't negotiate with them. How do you fight those opponents? They haven't offered Republicans a better option than negotiation, so the Republicans keep charging ahead with war because, as imperfect a strategy as war is, it's better than the ineffective solutions presented to them.

Why the Gun Control Issue Continues

Guns can be incredibly dangerous. They kill and they destroy lives. But the perception of personal power that comes with a gun is the reason why you find Republicans so intent on protecting their right to own them and carry them. They want to protect their lives, their property, and their futures - and they don't see a better alternative. 

Some Democrats want Republicans to give up their guns. They say the police can protect us, while ignoring the ugly reality that the police do not offer that better alternative. As one wittily crafted meme put it: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. There simply are not enough police officers available to deal with every violent crime. 

Our police officers are often so overwhelmed with cases that the best they can offer is help in cleaning up the crime scene after the fact. It's rare for them to have the time or the resources to deal with prevention. And that's even before we talk about acknowledged cases of police brutality. 

Democrats acknowledge that brutality and futility in one breath when shining spotlights on cases of it happening in black communities and then ask Republicans to trust in the police in the next. It's not going to happen because what you're asking them to do is to surrender their feelings of security and their assurance of personal power.

Why Birth Control Continues

Birth control is nasty stuff. It's a class 1 carcinogen that lowers the immune systems of women and makes them more susceptible to disease, which leaves them more susceptible to cancer. It poisons the environment and poisons her body in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. But the perception of personal freedom that comes with birth control is the reason why you find Democrats so insistent on preserving access to it. Democrats want to protect their freedom, their relationships, and their futures - and they don't see a better alternative.

Some Republicans want Democrats to give up their birth control. They say abstinence can protect them, They say that there is Natural Family Planning they can use if they need to space births. This ignores some ugly realities. Abstinence in a relationship can be damaging, especially if one party isn't in agreement with it, and while it's easy to say that if he really loved you he wouldn't ask you to poison yourself, these women fear being rejected and unloved enough that they are willing to do anything to keep the relationship going. Natural Family Planning requires opening yourself up to the risk of a pregnancy and the fall out that may come with that pregnancy. To many, these options are not a better alternative.

Republicans rarely even acknowledge the difficulties abstinence can create, don't take steps to create programs to support women in pursuing Natural Family Planning, and are too quick to cut programs to help give support to families who may find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy after using Natural Family Planning. Then, they ask Democrats to trust that the child that comes of it will be a blessing in disguise. It isn't going to happen because what you're asking them to do is to surrender their feelings of hope for a better life and of love and security. 

At the Bottom of It All

At the bottom of all of these things lies one common thread: Give me a better alternative and show me a better way to do things before asking me to change what I'm doing. Don't ask me to take a risk without being willing to support me if I fail. Don't ask me to trade my personal freedom, my future, and my power in an epic gamble that you're right and my fears are unfounded when the evidence says otherwise. Don't ignore my fears - tell me how to overcome them. Show me a better way of doing things.

The fact is that what leads Republicans to cling to guns and war and Democrats to cling to abortion and birth control is an underlying fear of powerlessness. It's the sense that the things you're asking them to give up are the only way they have of defending themselves. If you want change, you have to show them a way to overcome that powerlessness.

Overcoming Powerlessness

I know a lot about feeling powerless and hopeless to change things. When I was four years old, my mother married a man who proceeded to abuse me and my family. Talk about feeling powerless and hopeless to change things. I was four, what could I do to fight back against him?

I was seven when my mother took me for a drive and encouraged me to let her know if anyone had been doing anything to me they shouldn't have been. Hoping that my mother would be my advocate and do for me what I couldn't do for myself, I took a leap of faith and told her all of it. Nothing happened for three weeks.

Then, my stepfather cornered me when I was alone and confronted me about what I'd done. He told me if I ever spoke again bad things would happen to my family. I believed him, but in his eyes I saw something important. I saw fear. He was afraid of me. I wasn't powerless. My voice gave me power. 

I determined then and there that I was going to keep talking until I found someone who would listen. It would take me nearly 3 years to do it, but I did find someone to listen and I did find someone to help me and I did make him stop.

It's Time for Change

As a nation, we've all been feeling it. We've been feeling for a long time like our voices don't matter. Like the things we think and feel aren't important. We express it in different ways. We choose different paths to fight back, but Democrats and Republicans alike recognize that there is something very wrong with the system as it is and change has got to happen.

We keep looking to our leaders to be that change, but they keep disappointing us. We elect someone we think will speak for us, advocate for us, and they disappoint us. They advocate for their own self-interests or for those of other powerful people. We wait and we hope and we watch for someone with the courage to stand up and fight for us. And we can't find them.

Instead, we get more fear and more fighting and more of everything we didn't want. And we end up more deeply divided than we ever were, each side afraid of the other, each side terrified that we will lose what little we have gained. It's got to stop. It's time for change.

You Don't Need Those Things To Be Powerful

War is not your friend. It will not empower you. You do not have to sacrifice the lives of other men and women in order to protect your future hopes and dreams. Doing so will not protect them, it will destroy the reason for them. You won't be fighting against the monsters, you'll become what you fear.

Abortion is not your friend. It will not empower you. You do not have to sacrifice your infant on the altar of your future hopes and dreams. Doing so will not bring meaning to your life. It will render whatever victory you attain empty and meaningless. You won't be fighting against the establishment, you'll become what they are.

Guns will not protect your family, your freedom, or your life from what's coming. They are not powerful enough to do that. The powers that be have bigger guns and more of them, and they are better trained to use them. Die with a gun in  your hand, and you will give them an excuse to say they shot you in self-defense. You will invalidate your message. Don't give them that excuse, don't let them invalidate your message.

Birth control will not protect your freedom, your relationships, or your future. It is not powerful enough to do that. It will leave you chained to Big Pharma, ruin your relationships by changing your body chemistry so that you no longer want the person you fell in love with in the first place, and damage your future by increasing your chances of dying  young. It will erase who you were and replace it with someone else. Don't fall for that trap. Don't let them silence your voice that way.

Your Voice Is Your Power

The lesson I learned from my confrontation with my stepfather is this: Your voice is your power. You don't have to be afraid. Step up and let your voice be heard. Keep sharing it until the message sticks and change happens.

We don't need violence. We need voices. The one thing the powers that be fear more than anything else is that we will realize the power in our voices and we will use them to fight back. Guns, they can handle. Wars, they can raise armies, Abortion and birth control allow them to silence voices, and that's why they want you to keep using them and that's why they tell you that those things are your only hope.

So step up. Share your story. If you need help, I'm ready to offer you a platform. I'll guide you in how to craft your story. I'll teach you what you need to know to make yourself heard and fight back against injustice without needing to fire a single bullet or hurt a single person. If we work together, we can take back our country from the powers that be and we can shine light on what they've done and stop them from being able to hurt us anymore.

You can use your voice to support and feed your families. You can use your voice to build the future you want without having to mire yourself in debt. It doesn't have to be an either/or scenario. It can be a both/and. You can use your voice to protect what's yours and to defend the defenseless. There is a better way, and together we can create a world where nobody feels like their only option is war or abortion and where their only alternative is birth control and guns.

Popular Posts