Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This Post + Harriet Christian = Exploding Head

Earlier this year I had a conversation with my roommates that I have come to recount often in the months since it happened. I was subjecting them to large amounts of coverage that evening from some state (or states') primaries and we got to talking about Presidents and possibility. One of my roommates asked (a fine question in my opinion) how much we should realistically imagine an Obama administration might change in 4 or even 8 years of power. I didn't have this answer at the ready but with a moment or two's thought I responded, "well, how much do you feel like America has changed since January 2001?"

I hate to use the Bushies as an example of success, but if the Bush administration set out to make changes in America, they certainly have managed some huge shifts in our identity (both how we think about ourselves and how the world sees us). If you watch the Daily Show clip I posted earlier Jon Stewart refers to some of this as, "the things about this administration that angered and frightened you over the first couple of years of their reign and then over time you... have come to accept as the new normal."

This is all preamble to an overlap of two things I read today related to one of those most heated of all American political issues, abortion (and choice). As many people understand fairly well, the current administration has nudged the Supreme Court significantly further to the right with their two appointments, opening up the possibility that within many of our lifetimes Roe vs. Wade might be overturned. Fewer may track the ages of our current Supremes closely enough to be clear that our next president will almost certainly nominate at least one justice to the highest court in the land. Hence, I would submit that for pro-choice (and, I suppose, anti-choice) Americans the stakes in this fall's election are incredibly high.

The two articles that set up my superlong preamble here are:

  • Early this morning I read a post on AmericaBlog, that raised the question of how serious Clinton supporters are about choice when they claim that they will help McCain should Obama become the nominee.
  • This afternoon, my friend Tyler posted a link to this essay in the New York Times, written by an 80 year-old gynecologist who describes his experiences working in New York City hospitals in pre-Roe America. As one might imagine, this description is fairly bleak. To offer a quote from the end of Cromwell's essay, "It is important to remember that Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days. What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such."

Reading these articles mere hours apart made clear that while I post, write and think a good bit about the minutia of politics here (and lots of other random stuff) the end game is what matters. The party in control will make decisions on a daily basis that impact the lives of Americans and others. The choice we face in the voting booth is about who we believe will take our nation and the world in the right direction. I know this is true for me as much as it is for people who adamantly disagree with me on the question of choice (or other things like government spending, or the merits of universal healthcare).

Hence I was reminded (for the 30 zillionth time) today that it is always insanely important to keep our eye on the fact that the two parties we currently have really do take substantively different positions on issues large and small.

BTW, if you don't know Harriet Christian, internet sensation, you can get to know her via FoxNoise filtered through Wonkette (the only way to get your FoxNoise) here.

Update: Post title change to protect the integrity of Math Day at Best Way!

What a strange day... and there will probably be at least 3 other things to post about before it's over. Anyway, the AP has a piece picked up on Yahoo News today (where I found it) detailing the differences between Obama and McCain on the issues. How handy is that as an addendum here? Please do read, it's a nice little summary.


Matt said...

Wait, where was the math in this post?

John said...

I put the math back in Math Day he said, to Mat(t)h-ew. heh heh heh.

Gracias for the reminder!