Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Dipping my toe in it

 I long ago stopped writing about politics on this blog. My views have changed a bit since I started here in 2008 and I'm embarrassed about some of the things I posted. 

On the other hand, to some extent we all evolve and change (some more than others), so I can live with it. If you were to be so inclined to read some of my very early posts, please be advised I no longer hold some of those views. 

I decided to stop writing about politics because the back-and-forth in the comments tends to get argumentative and I just don't care to encourage that. I know some intelligent, sensible people read this blog who have various opinions, all of which I respect. For whatever reasons, discussions about political and governmental matters cause some strong emotions that lead to the aforementioned arguments. I simply decided I didn't want this blog to be about that. 

I guess today I am making an exception, so please bear with me. 

I'm making that introduction so you can have some context as I write about the Supreme Court decision that overruled Roe v. Wade. 

I read the entire Roe v. Wade decision when I took constitutional law in law school. I remember thinking then that the decision in the case was a bit convoluted, and I found the reasoning of Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority, flawed. 

I found the statements about viability troubling, and I also thought, as I do now, that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to abortion. I thought, as I do now, it was erroneous to hold that the Due Process Clause provides a fundamental right to privacy that encompasses a woman's right to abort a fetus she is carrying. 

I also believe, as the court ruled in Dobbs vs. Jackson (the decision that overruled Roe v. Wade), abortion should be a matter for state legislatures to address. 

That did not mean I thought Justice Blackmun, or any of the justices joining with the majority, were bad people. Quite the contrary. 

One of the first principles I learned in law school was "reasonable minds differ." It so happened that seven of the nine justices sitting on the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade had opinions different from mine. I don't think the three justices who dissented in the Dobbs case are bad people either. I have the highest respect for them. 

That is not unlike the wonderful people who read this blog who have a different opinion. They are reasonable and I like to think I am. Again, reasonable minds differ, and that's OK. 

As we all know, abortion presents a moral question. I believe life begins at conception and therefore, I tend to lean toward the pro-life camp. Others feel just as strongly that it is a matter between a woman and her doctor, and the state/government has no business getting involved in that. 

And I fully understand that point of view. I simply can't get past my belief that a human being's life, albeit unborn, is involved. 

Then again, there are variables. Certainly, if there is rape or incest, or a woman's life is in danger, those things should be considered. 

And let me say this. If there were ever a vote on some aspect of the matter of abortion, I would look long and hard at the initiative and how it is written, weighing all of the information I might have available, before I make a decision. 

I can think of at least two supposedly pro-life initiatives put to a vote in the past, one in Arkansas where I previously lived and one in Tennessee where I now live, that were manipulative and poorly written and reasoned, and I voted against them. 

With all of that said, here are some of the things that trouble me about the Dobbs decision and all the fallout from it: 

1.     I am offended by Evangelical Christians (or anyone else) who are "celebrating" and posting things saying this is a victory, a step in taking this country back, etc. Fortunately, I am not on social media, so I don't see 99 percent of it, but by reading the news, I've seen enough. I'm immediately put off by people who believe they have the corner on the Christianity market. Reasonable minds differ. 

2.    I am equally offended by those who disagreed with the decision who are making disparaging remarks about the justices. That includes President Biden who is saying this is all because of justices appointed by Trump. Hey, I'm as big a detractor of the former president as they come, but these are  judges who have taken an oath to uphold the law as they see and interpret the law. They are not bad people. 

3.    So many people miss the point. This ruling does not ban or outlaw abortions. Abortions are likely to be prohibited in some states. Those who feel strongly about this should be at their statehouses pushing for laws protecting a woman's right to choose -- not mouthing off, saying things that are not true. 

4.    I have said this for years, but it is especially true now: the extremes want to control the narrative. Why can't we have civil discussions about things? I read about some celebrity who said he would renounce his U.S. citizenship and move abroad because of this decision. And you know what? If that's what he needs to do, that's what he needs to do. But did he think about having a calm discussion with someone who has an opposing view and consider the reasoning of that person? 

5.    I'm not sure pro-life people are all in on life. Pro-life folks need to make sure they are doing everything to preserve life, such as taking care of mothers with crisis pregnancies; adopting or supporting adoptions; and maybe reconsidering their stance on the death penalty. Or maybe even getting the COVID vaccine because they care enough about others to help prevent the spread of something that could be life-threatening. 

I know this is a tough one, folks. But we are still a nation of laws, and you still have a voice. 

Also, this case may or may not have gone your way, but please consider this: the person on the opposing side, who has a different opinion, is probably not a bad person and is not your enemy. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Reading Preview

 I generally post an end-of-year list of books I have read throughout the year. I suppose I'll do that again in about six months (can you believe we are almost half-way through 2022?????), but thought I would give you a preview. 

I started running a summer reading list in my column a few years ago, following the lead of other bloggers, columnists, etc. For this one I received a great email from a reader, listing all the books in the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache series, as well as from another series I was unfamiliar with. I guess he wanted to make sure I didn't miss any.