Adventures in Homeschooling in Southern Indiana

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Few Hints on Writing to Your Congressman

My husband was writing letters about FOCA this morning. While I was proof-reading them, I realized there are a few things we can do to make our letters more effective:

1. Use short, declarative sentences. Congressmen and their staffs don't have a lot of time. Your point needs to be clear. Besides, these are people who live and breath soundbites and talking points. Do you really think they'll be able to untangle your syntax if you read like an issue of First Things? Try The Mini Page -- it's much closer.

If you give them soundbites and talking points, they'll be able to use them when they argue your position.


2. Before you ask them to help you, flatter them a bit. Come on. Politicians have HUGE egos. Otherwise they wouldn't run for office, and they wouldn't think they could change a political culture that's been corrupt and useless forever. So tell them what you like about them before you ask for help. I mean, if you're smart enough to see how great they are, maybe your ideas are worth considering, right?

3. I was going to have a third point, but kids are in meltdown mode and it's time to get them dressed for church, so that will have to wait. =)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Take on the Great Turkey Slaughter

My take on the The Great Turkey Slaughter:

No, she’s not dumb.
Yes, she knew what was going on behind her.
Yes, she realized the MSM would have a field day at her expense, because they’ve basically been reduced to Palin-obsessed paparazzi.

She just didn’t care. She’s deliberately rattling them and enjoying it when they have conniptions.

My Evidence? She says:
“Certainly we’ll probably invite criticism for even do this, too. But at least this was fun.”

She KNOWS, people. She’s deliberately making her opponents froth at the mouth. She thinks they’re funny.

It’s not that she’s an idiot. Sara Palin just isn’t obsessed with her image. Kind of refreshing in a politician, I think.

By the way, why is a LOSING vice-presidential candidate pardoning a turkey more newsworthy than Obama, agent of change, reprising the Clinton years in his cabinet selections?

Though I did think it was interesting that her state actually SAVES UP during fat years so that they can avoid budget crunches in the lean years. Fiscal responsibility? Planning ahead and not passing things you can't fund forever? What's up with that?? Where was that during the campaign-- that could have really resonated with the credit crisis.

More and more, I'm convinced McCain wanted to lose.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Questions for Anon....

Sorry to make this a separate post... I can't see the security codes today! Or hear them! (stupid IE!)

Hey anon! You comments have given me a lot to think about. Before I answer your objection, I have a couple of questions though-- just so I can see where you're coming from (and so I can do a better job keeping 'religious' arguments out of this..)


1. You said you believe a person's life begins at birth. Are you referring to life in the biological sense, or life as 'personhood?'

1a. Why do you believe it begins at birth?

2.Do you believe in Human rights? If so, where do they come from? What entitles something/something to human rights?

3. You talked about when a young woman is still a child. What do you think marks the end of childhood? What is the difference between a child's decision and an adults?

Thanks again! It's nice to have a cordial discussion of thoughts with someone who doesn't agree with me-- Gosh... it's been years since I've had that! (Oh Hyde Park, How I miss Ye!) =)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Culture Wars

Based on the Bishop's conference, I think the election may have moved them from cold to hot territory. And it might be a good thing.

For the last 8 years, a lot of us (like me!) have been pretty lukewarm on abortion. I've always opposed it, I pray to end it, I try to donate to my local crisis pregnancy center when I can, but I haven't really bugged my congressmen or anything.

Why? Because I think, at some level, I figured that I didn't need to worry about anything passing, because George Bush would veto it. I think a lot of us were in that position. But when we kept quiet, politicians figured we'd changed our minds or gone away. So now we're faced with incredible acts of hubris like FOCA.

Force Doctors and Nurses to perform abortions, even if it's against their conscience? Force Catholic Hospitals to perform abortions? Do you REALLY think this will fly, Obama/Pelosi/Reid? (I need a new name for the trio... maybe Obresi?)

Because, to me, that sounds a lot like the majority forcing it's religion (abortion as a good thing) on the minority.... and we will fight to make sure it doesn't happen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Also, one last question...

As a society, do we support Abortion because we genuinely believe that it's the best option for women with an unwanted baby?

Or do we support it because it's easier for US to get rid of the "inconvenience" rather than giving these women the support they would need to give birth to the child AND continue pursuing their dreams?

After all, an abortion (paid for by the woman, from her own savings) is MUCH cheaper than a baby (who would need to be born (on govt. insurance, probably), have a place to live (TANF), eat food (WIC and foodstamps.)

Honestly, America, Women DESERVE better.

What IS a person?

I've been thinking about Anon's comment below some more. (Thanks Anon! :) ) and I'm thinking the question doesn't really even come down to "When does human life begin" but rather, "What is a person?"

How do we decide what a person is? Well, we can decide based on the law. As in "The law defines x as a person, but y as not a person, so it is ok to kill/enslave/exploit y, but not x"

The problem is, when we allow the law to make some humans people, and some not-people, it's pretty arbitrary. (See slavery. And women under the Taliban). So there has to be a universal definition of "Person."

Christianity takes, I think, the broadest possible definition: All human beings. Because God gave them souls. Which is why the Church is against abortion.

Our current society seems to take the definition as "Anyone born. Unless they have a terminal disease, are in a coma, want to die, or are in this country illegally."

Personally, I find the latter definition, and the way that it's ever expanding, really creepy.

But from a non-religious perspective, what makes a person?

Is it Usefullness to society? Not really, since it's wrong to murder crazy old homeless guys on the corner. And we don't go around killing people simply because they use more than they produce.

Is it potential years to live? No, because if a drunk driver kills someone, it doesn't matter if the victim is 16 or 95. He's still killed a PERSON. There don't seem to be degrees of personhood. It's an all or nothing proposition.

Is it memories? No. Because Amnesiacs and Alzheimers patients are still people.

So how DO we define a person? And what's our reason for choosing that specific definition? (And if we define person more narrowly than others, are we doing it for selfish reasons? Like the factory owner who thinks it's ok to pay illegals an unjust wage, or the plantation owner who lives a life of luxury because he can exploit the slaves?)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weighing rights

I've been thinking a lot about abortion over the last few days, since Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as soon as he's elected.

And I've been trying to think of ways to explain the problem to some of my more pro-choice friends and acquaintances without resulting to religion, or even natural law (since some of these people believe in neither.)

So, how about this one? (Please feel free to critique my argument in the comments, if anyone reads this, since I'm trying to build a more convincing case.)

For a moment, assume that abortion has no negative effect on the mother. (I don't believe this, but we'll assume it for the sake of argument.)

In that case, abortion is an act that delivers a good to the mother by ending her pregnancy. At the same time, it deprives her child of a good, by ending his life.

Now, if abortion were "fair", the good delivered would equal or exceed the deprived good.

So the good delivered (assuming that without abortion, the mother in question would just continue the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption), is about 9 months of the mother's life where she doesn't have to deal with the inconveniences and discomforts of pregnancy, plus an avoidance of childbirth( which many women seem to fear unreasonably.)

The baby, on the other hand, is deprived of 60-70 years of life.

Clearly, in this case, the harm to the baby outweighs the good to the mother... so we must be giving the mother's rights a LOT more weight here than the baby's.

You could probably draw a parallel to slavery, where the good to the master (cheap labor that allowed greater agricultural output) did not counterbalance the slaves' loss (many people deprived of liberty for generations). In this case, also, the slave owner's right to a comfortable life was given a lot more weight than the slaves' right to freedom.

So, at this point, my question for pro-choice friends and acquaintances is: What current circumstances justify weighting the abortion equation to give the mother's rights such a high priority over her child's?

Obviously, this is not the entire argument for the pro-life side. For instance, I would argue that the abortion industry as currently formulated also does grave harm to women. Especially since a dog being spayed has, under current law, MORE right to expect competent care and sanitary conditions than a woman at an abortion clinic does.... but we'll put that problem aside for now...

Anyway, if this blog has any readers (I'm not sure it does!) does anyone have a comment on the argument above?