Thursday, January 26, 2012

Santorum, abortion, and equanimity.

Below is an email conversation that I had with my friend "S" about Rick Santorum and abortion. I'm always surprised when people condemn others.
S: this guy is a real ass hole. 
Article: GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum explained his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape during an interview Friday, saying that women who face such circumstances should "make the best out of a bad situation."
Asked by CNN's Piers Morgan what he would do if his own daughter approached him, begging for an abortion after having been raped, Santorum explained that he would counsel her to "accept this horribly created" baby, because it was still a gift from God, even if given in a "broken" way.

"Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn't have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice, I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or she doesn't, it will always be her child, and she will always know that," Santorum said.

"And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I've always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created -- in the sense of rape -- but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life we have horrible things happen. I can't think of anything more horrible, but nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation and I would make the argument that that is making the best."

(Video above via CNN)
Santorum has crusaded against abortion throughout his tenure as a legislator and presidential hopeful. A recent analysis of his time as a U.S. senator showed an almost obsessive tendency to talk about abortion-related subjects on the Senate floor. His strict views on the issue, as well as gay rights, have repeatedly drawn aggressive pushback from his detractors on the campaign trail.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Santorum called Obama's support of women's reproductive rights "radical and extreme," arguing that this was illustrated through the president's recent statement on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Other hardline anti-abortion advocates have explained their views much like Santorum has. In 2010, Tea Party-backed Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle was asked to explain her belief that abortions were unacceptable even in the case of a girl being raped by her father.
"I think that two wrongs don't make a right," she answered. "And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade." 
Mr. Kim: I don't think this is so black and white. He's compassionate (in perhaps his limited way) for the well-being of both the child and the mother. Though you and I might direct our compassion in a different direction, I don't think he should be demonized for his view. There are at least three things to consider: the psychological distress that may be caused by an abortion, the distress of having an unwanted child on the mom and the child, and the life of the child. No solution is without costs. 
S: It's clear that he thinks that the moment of conception = personhood. And then it would follow that if you think that since every time you have sex, you might be conceiving (since he also believes that any and all forms of birth control are "unnatural" and definitely out ) then, I guess, even married people [pre-marital sex??? oh my god!!! HELL, FIRE AND BRIMSTONE!!!] should not have sex at all if they don't want kids. But, that too is interfering with what is "natural" and not in [his] book. He seems ready to give others no choice and force his religious beliefs onto others in laws that he would support or veto. I am not sure that is a President's prerogative. Or ??? What about the right to privacy? He would work around that by making it again a crime to perform an abortion? What about the sacredness of medical records? We all have to sign papers now about privacy matters. The medical staff of a doctor can't even confirm with husband/wife an appointment!!! So now, the doctor is going to tell about performing an abortion. That is violating the trust between the woman and her doctor. What about supporting or not supporting personal religious practices: congress shall make no law that supports or does not support any particular religion - [even atheism]. Or? I interpret his religious beliefs are not just for him, but for everybody.
Mr. Kim: Abortion is the perfect opportunity to practice equanimity. As I meditated this evening, I started to mourn for the apple seeds that I throw on the compost pile. How insensitive of me, I thought. Perhaps these seeds should have a better opportunity to sprout. Maybe they will just decay and become dirt.

Abortion is about drawing a line. Actually drawing many lines. We can kill cows but not dogs. We can eat carrots and apples, but not canaries and cats. You could define personhood as when you become an adult, or even when a couple beds down together... or anywhere in-between. Mr Santorum has his views. Everyone has views. Is one view "right" and another "wrong"? Of are views merely fashions, constructed from the world through our particular lens. 

Part of Santorum's religion is to have others do as he believes. Others do not have his religion. Is this a reason to hate the man... to despise him? I think not. Don't vote for him if you want, but why get riled up about it? He draws the line in one sandbox, you draw it in another. Yes, persuade others to do as you do... but don't demonize him. He's a sincere and conscientious human being, as you are.

13 comments:

Kate Freeman said...

Hmmm. . . Calling someone an asshole is 'getting all riled up' or 'deomonizing him'. Here I would have said that calling someone an asshole was one's way of letting another know that one was not going to vote for that guy.

Kim Mosley said...

I think it was Dogen who said that there is no place to spit. We are all buddhas, even the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Republicans may be all Buddhas but with the compassion missing

gail Libman said...

Make me pay more taxes, make me have to have health insurance but take away my right to have an abortion makes him an asshole. Sorry. (from kim's simplistic sister).

Anonymous said...

Listen to your big sister. H.

Kate Freeman said...

I think it was Dogen who said that there is no place to spit. We are all buddhas, even the Republicans. --- Mr. Kim

It is Kate who said that there are worse things than calling someone an asshole.

I think ‘demonizing’ goes more like, “He is too evil to rot in hell for all eternity. He is Cain, cursed to walk the earth until the end of time. The only reason he looks relatively young is because he eats aborted baby dumplings all the time. If he were Buddhist, he could look forward to being reborn as a maggot in a pile of crap. Farts are too good for him.”

But then again. . . It’s all relative.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more with Gail. The well-off should pay at a higher rate of taxes! Buddha, I think, might agree that one should live off the misfortune of others. One cannot compare 15% of 100,000 to 15% of 21,000,000 [Romney's CAPITAL GAINS income]. Then there was last year's 485,000 he 'earned' from his speaking engagements. I wonder what he said to earn all that money? That's just the figures of the situation, not a grain of morality. Republicans don't want rationed health care. Don't they realize that it is rationed now? The well-off have good coverage and the working poor usually have none. "We" (by higher premiums) pay for a $6,500 (average) emergency room visit for influenza because so many people without insurance wait til they are super-ill before seeking care - the very reason being is that they don't have insurance. 6,500 vs. 350 is what we would be talking about: not efficient in anybody's book. Especially those making 20 million a year. 6,500 is their 4 year old's allowance each week.The 10,000 that Romney bet on network TV during a debate, was the nickel bet you and I would make during a disagreement! Romney/Gingrich have no idea what living on a middle class income is.These people don't care a shit about public education. They can spend 52,000 (a whole year's salary for middle class person)on one year of private nursery school (morning? or afternoon?)for their little Tommy while the wife goes, not to work, but to Tiffany's to shop! Nothing but the best will do! The rich keeps the economy moving.People are breaking the law (a law to protect others) if they drive without having proper car insurance. So why not have health insurance on a sliding scale for PEOPLE? To eliminate sickness for everyone, even communicable diseases! The rich do not care: they have $$$ to burn and can check into the five star wards of hospitals when they have a headache. They can pay for the years worth of premiums for the "freeloadeers" for the 3 might stay (with gourmet food too!) while others can't get a flu shot. Why not offer the Congress's coverage on a sliding scale? Might that ring just to Buddah, Jesus and Abraham? How many houses do you have? John McCain had so many, he said on TV that he forgot! Right. These people are on another planet. People who have saved and scrimped to own their own home and saved for their own retirement are on a third planet as well!And why should the rich care at all about the environment? They can rev up their private jet and go one of their many homes that you can bet are in idyllic locations that is not outside the Houston oil refineries. Not the Bronx. Their houses are located where there, likely, be no pollution. Let's see, shall I set my GPS to my ranch in Wyoming, my ski lodge in Montana, The French Riviera or the Cayman Islands where all their banks are? These zillionaires don't have a clue. And if they do, why should they care? end Part I Miss S.

Anonymous said...

Part 2
So, we are told that part of Romney's brand of Christian religion "is to have others do as he believes." What happened to the division of church and state? "Congress shall make no law....." A psycho-logically abused baby and later child (and later, adult) cannot be considered healthy. A parent who dictates behavior onto his children is not healthy. Neither is a psychologically abused young woman whose father feels it's his moral duty to endow 4 blastosomes with personhood. He's nuts! Children are to these parents, the tacit "justification" of a sexual life in a goofy sexually repressed society. So,to them,hey, the more eggs they fertilize, the less worrisome their own sexual activities are TO THEMSELVES.Never mind, power over women to keep them home and busy! Actually he is doing his wife a favor - keeping her from sinning by engaging in illicit sex with other men! i.e. not him! He is, through his own powers, protecting the little lady. Power, real power. This brain should NOT be one of any President. God help the Democrats if Obama engaged in such 'moral' practices. He be stoned!! And why? Shhhh..... Racism, pure and simple. For even (and especially) for any President to press his own "religious" principles onto others? And then say he should be protected in that, because of USA's "freedom of religion"? That's the person accused of murdering her father, then throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he has been rendered an orphan! Hasn't the President got enough to do? I would venture to say that just convincing others to take this one bit on, would require hundreds of lifetimes of effort. End of Part II

Anonymous said...

Part 3
Is this what we want our President to concentrate on? What about foreign relations, trade, justice, and a few other small tasks like that? I can hardly imagine voting for the rich because they are em- pathetically challenged. That means practically the entire lot. Let's see, since money, oops, corporate free speech, is power, it does not leave many standing. Historically, Roosevelt was challenged by his polio, which oozed into other areas, despite his money. Truman qualified, Eisenhower did too because of his war experience, having had to work with many less privileged than himself and WWII, Nixon was a psychopath, LBJ was slick dick but was forced to choose and he chose right.
last
Kennedy was very rich in all ways of Romney and Bushes, but the Catholic business was good for the country. He was arrogant (which, I guess all Presidents need a measure of to survive -- just not to the degree of a Romney or Gingrich. Ford? Who knows? He pardoned Nixon so how moral could he be - that pardon was a political nightmare as was Watergate. Carter? Naive. Very naive. But not a dumb person and the ONLY one who did something worthwhile with his post-presidency years, maybe not successfully, but he tried. Reagan was a gentleman's C-grade actor and out of touch with reality 100 % of the time. Iran-Contra was 100 x worse than Watergate. Clinton rose from the ashes of poorhood, but was an pathological egoist, and though highly intelligent, though unwise and his upbringing made him left him in not the greatest shape. Allowing his philandering to be discovered, and spending 5 million of his daughter's wedding was ridiculous. And now he is trying to make up for it. Too bad he buggered himself. Well, that leaves two gentlemen: Pappy Bush [up to his ying-yang [sic] and in bed with the Sauds. And Junior who sleeps and hold hands with the House of Saud. Junior, let all the Sauds out of the country on 9/12 when everyone else was grounded. Cheney [part of the clan -- Saudi or Bush?] is up to his ying-yang with Halliburton who stole zillions from the US treasury (you and me) to outside suppliers and mercenaries. Junior was suffering from Oedipuss [sic] Tex and feeblemindedness. He was and still is not the brightest bulb in the box. I'd consider him ill-equiped to do anything but an un-taxing [sic] occupation - maybe filling the pin holder in a rural Texas bowling alley - or the like. But he did prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the United States that anyone, even the village idiot, can be President.
That leaves but one man standing. Barak O'Bama, that Irish Catholic boy who was born, only God knows where!He disappoints progressives which, I think, includes me. He is probably the most intelligent, most gracious, most human [read his books] person we could EVER hope to have in the White House. We should thank goodness that John McCain didn't win with his little woman, Sarah, at his side who didn't know who Paul Revere warned about what. end of part 3

Anonymous said...

Part 4
Sorry, I can't be more compassionate to those who do not have an ounce of compassion for the free-loaders who have lost their jobs, lost their houses and now are sucking the rest of us dry with handouts like foodstamps. CUT THEM OFF. LET THEM GO. Never mind that so many rich people have gained their bucks [big ones at that] from the irresponsibility of mortgage and lending institutions, who made money with other people's, not their own, money and on the back's of other people's losses. The banks & other financial institutions continue their own self-regulation. The rich go back for a 7th Mercedes auto, or buy another mink coat (it keeps the minks from starving!)and it's all legal. Need I go further? What would Abraham do? How would Solomon rule? What would Buddah think? What would Jesus say? For what should we all pray? Miss S

Anonymous said...

"Part of Santorum's religion is to have others do as he believes. Others do not have his religion. Is this a reason to hate the man... to despise him? I think not. Don't vote for him if you want, but why get riled up about it? He draws the line in one sandbox, you draw it in another. Yes, persuade others to do as you do... but don't demonize him. He's a sincere and conscientious human being, as you are." Your statement is very gentle and forgiving. It would be better if we could all be this way, but Santorom roils my gut. H.

Annie Gottlieb said...

Here's my own struggle with the abortion issue, in 2 parts (still incomplete). http://ambivablog.typepad.com/ambivablog/2005/01/note_this_essay.html I thought it boils down to whether we aspire to act "like God" (which you could do even if you don't believe in God) or to act "like Nature." I had an abortion, which I regret.

Anonymous said...

I don't know so I just guess. H.