In Which Our Heroine Does Not Think You're A Malicious Bastard

26 April 2004

This may be a coincidence, but I woke up tired again, and I don't get to take today off. Ah well. Timprov didn't take yesterday off, so the typing he could do for me on the revision of Reprogramming is all finished. Yay and whew for him! Now I've got my list yet to figure out, and then it'll be done and I can ship it off and go back to normal. Except with a mess of contract work coming up to do. Well, that's normal, too, in a sense.

Roo did not have a good morning yesterday, or so we're told, but he seemed to be having fun with yesterday late afternoon and early evening. We played meeno, we went to the park, we ate crackers, we sung "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." One of us climbed up on Auntie Mrissa's lap just in time to share her ice cream. One of us is very cute when he demands, "Momomo-more kice keam peeeeeeese." And another of us is a great big sucker.

Roo enjoys arguing. It doesn't have to be about anything. He said no to Mommy, Daddy, Uncle Timprov, and the clock, that I heard of. Not in regards to any specific statements on any of their parts. Just in general: "No, Mommy!" "Yes, Robin!" "(big grin) NO, Mommy!"

I read some more of 1968 -- it's a good read, but it's slow going for me. Not sure why.

I've been reading a lot from both sides of the abortion debate in the last few days, and I'm sick of each side trying to take away the other side's label, as though it's purely propaganda to the other side and means nothing to them. Most people who call themselves pro-choice really do believe that they're defending a medical choice that a woman should make for herself (not herself and her baby, because most of them don't believe that the fetus is a baby at that stage). Most people who call themselves pro-life really do believe that they are defending the life of an actual human being, an actual human baby. These labels are not just political tools. They are meaningful statements of how each side sees itself.

I'm particularly frustrated that neither side seems to care about what arguments their opponents will actually hear. If you are pro-choice and you tell stories about women who suffered under botched illegal abortions, you need to recognize that many of your listeners will hear this as injuries suffered while committing a great moral wrong, that is, killing a human infant. If you are pro-life and you try to give people slogans like "It's a child, not a choice," you need to recognize that you have not given any reasoning or arguments as to why this is so. If you just want to make the people who already agree with you feel better, I guess that's a goal. But it seems like rallying the troops shouldn't be the only goal in a political argument.

It may be that this is just an irreducible argument, with one side saying, "How on earth can you call that a human child?" and the other side saying, "How on earth can you not?" and both feeling as though logic and decency are on their side -- not just on their side, but clearly, obviously, unimpeachably on their side. But right now, it looks like a lot of people aren't trying to find out whether that's the case or not. Instead they're going for the nastiest possible motives their opponents could have, and then applying them to all opponents. There are some people who are really in favor of abortion being as widespread as possible, would prefer fewer human beings and especially fewer small human beings. There are some people who are really against choices, would prefer women to have no birth control options at all and no information about the effects of various decisions. I've met examples of each. But casting all people from either sides in that light is unfair and inaccurate, and it only damages your own credibility when the people who listened to you run into counterexamples. Which they will, because there are principled, decent, and caring human beings on both sides of this argument. No, really. No, really. There are. I've met them.

It's rare that our metaphysical questions get so collapsed into a single point this way. So much of the time we can kind of dance around the big, eternal, unanswerable questions. No wonder we get so upset. But looking at the other side and saying, "you are all, every one of you, malicious bastards," changes nothing and gets us nowhere. At least, nowhere I particularly want to be.

True and applicable for more than one issue, I'm afraid.

Ah well. At least in a literal sense I am just where I want to be, sitting in my office ready to work, with lovely leftovers waiting for me downstairs. I improvised a broccoli recipe last night by squashing three other people's recipes together. It was nice but needed more broccoli (or, for our more normal servings of people, less red pepper). I would do it again, though. Definitely. And in the meantime, I'll have the leftovers for lunch. I'm so sneaky.

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