The United States of America is currently under siege from multiple fronts. If allowed to continue, the country we all know and love will be unrecognizable in a short period of time. The clock is already ticking.
For decades, the beacon of democracy to the rest of the world, the champion of human rights, women’s rights, rights for the handicapped, the oppressed, and the minorities has been the United States of America. All that has changed since January 2017. It now seems that the federal government is saying to the people, “It is every man, woman and child on their own.” Protections of rights are systematically being eroded and dismantled.
It is not like we, the citizens, were not warned. We saw people with disabilities mocked, women verbally insulted and physically berated, and no one or nothing in society was safe from attack, especially the members of the media. All the while this was happening, we were being assured day after day, “No one has more respect for ________________(you fill in the blank) than I do.” All lies!
At every turn in the last nine months, some of the most vile and unqualified individuals have been nominated to and placed in positions of power. They have absolutely no business being in those positions. Most seem hell-bent on dismantling the government entity in their charge, and/or creating as much chaos and damage to the American people and our institutions as possible. Most are also initiating policy changes based on religious dogma rather than the Constitution. They are not recognizing that the Constitution of the United States has the ultimate power over the people–not the Bible!
As if to add insult to injury, the ugly underbelly of our society which had been a mostly hidden undercurrent of intolerance and violence has been unleashed. Hate groups and individuals now feel that they have been legitimized because they see their federal government “leaders” acting out in vile, despicable, formerly unacceptable ways and even sanctioning without criticism their actions in one way or another. The social fabric of what is acceptable behavior has a huge tear in it, which is ripping wider with each passing day.
The amount of influence from the wealthy and ultraconservative intolerance is at an all time high. They have bought off the Congressmen to do their bidding, which is intended to only benefit themselves and set the country back to the society of the early/mid 1900s with al the prejudice and discrimination that this country has spent decades progressing beyond. Among the greatest influence is the National Rifle Association and the lies that this organization has perpetuated on the American public for the most recent decades. They, more than any other person or organization, should be held accountable for the mass shootings plaguing this country. The blood of the hundred killed and wounded most recently in Las Vegas is on their hands and at their feet.
The culmination, however for me, was the United Nations vote on the ban against murdering LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) individuals just for being who they are. For the United States to vote in opposition with some of the most oppressive countries in the world is unconscionable. [Editorial Note: “The Shocking US vote not to condemn the death penalty for LGBT” www.cnn.com/2017/10/05] The United States has been at the forefront in promoting equal protections for the LGBT community and women’s rights around the world for decades. To now vote against our own philosophy and reputation in the world is appalling.
The responsibility for these changes lands squarely on the shoulders of the current resident in the White House. He alone has set the tone and policy for the governmental departments and Nikki Haley, our current United Nations representative.
We, the people of the United States have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against the current attack on our collective values. We must come together and say loudly and clearly, “Enough is Enough! We do not accept this insanity. This is not who we are as a people and as a country in the 21st century.” We can do this. We have to find our unified voice and shout loud and clear. We cannot be passive and sit back and wait for someone else to act. Each person must be the one to act and act now–LOUD AND PROUD! The future of our country and world reputation is literally on the line NOW.
[This article is original to Columnist with a View. Richard Moberly, an outspoken critic of bigotry, anti-social behavior, totalitarianism and the current administration lives in Jacksonville, Florida.]
[The following mostly unedited conversation appeared in the E-edition of the Herald-Dispatch in August, 2017. Explanatory notes placed appropriately; otherwise, it appears as originally printed. The exchange was brought on by the editor’s response to a column in the H-D by a local columnist, who shall remain unnamed. The subject of the original column was anti-abortion and the body of the exchange, after a bit of back and forth on criticism, is on the subject of abortion.]
BILL: Milt, as you so often say when facing criticism regarding what you write in your own column, this is the opinion section. What’s good for the goose?
MILT: So it is. And so, I expressed my opinion above, as I generally do when I disagree with comments about my own columns. Also, it irks me and many others that [unnamed whose column was on the subject of “abortion”] never comes here to defend, explain, comment on criticisms, or expand on his thinking, etc., etc. Sometimes, he writes like he’s the voice of God, and anyone who disagrees with him (especially us liberals) is bound for the lowest levels of hell. Balderdash! I’m certainly neither goose nor gander, so what’s your point Bill?
BILL: My point, Milt, is that you lash out at people who criticize you on your column seemingly using the defense that it’s your opinion, therefore immune from criticism. And here you are lashing out at [unnamed] for his opinions. Seems rather hypocritical.
MILT: Bill, sometimes I’m hypocritical. What’s so strange about that? Most people are from time to time. Actually, it’s not hypocritical to be aggravated by responses to what you have to say, while being really critical of a completely different person. What you’re confusing here is oranges and apples. Oh, well, yeah, I don’t like to be criticized, but since I am frequently criticized, I think it’s perfectly okay if I lash out now and then. Whatever….
BILL: Well if [unnamed] criticized you, you would certainly be entitled to criticize him back, but he doesn’t. But at least you admitted you are sometimes hypocritical, so kudos on that, and yeah, you’re probably right, most of us are from time to time.
MILT: Bill, I think you have missed something. There are times when [unnamed] entire column is a rebuttal (or criticism) of one of my columns. He never uses my name, but the material and the theme is familiar…. Bill, opinion is never exempt from disagreement or criticism. That doesn’t mean I have to like it!
BILL: Interesting comments, some of which I see your point. I haven’t seen much of what you refer to as [unnamed] entire column being a rebuttal (or criticism) of one of your columns, but maybe I just missed that. I couldn’t find that in this particular column. I take it from your response to him that you’re fine with abortion?
MILT: I wrote a three paragraph response giving you two real examples I encountered as a minister, and hit a wrong key on my computer and deleted it before I could send it…but yes, I do believe in abortion under certain conditions if that’s the mother’s choice. And it is the mother’s choice (along with her physicians, family and mentors). As I remember my bottom line, it is definitely not MY CHOICE, YOUR CHOICE, OR ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP’S CHOICE. I also believe if a person believes in abortion under certain circumstances, then they believe in abortion, period. For me, it’s an either-or situation.
Some fetuses, i.e. severely deformed, without brainstems, without limbs, situations where there are defective chromosomes and genes, etc. that should not be allowed to term. I believe abortion is warranted for conception by rape, incest, and other situations that a woman must live with for the rest of her life. If you believe what it says in the book of Genesis, it says, “And God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul.” To me, that means that a fetus is NOT “a living soul,” until it takes breath outside of the womb. Man, I wish I had not lost my first response, but it vanished for good. I hope this explains my belief satisfactorily. But, I will confide that it took me a long, long time to come around to this way of thinking. My wife helped. When we were married I was 100% definitely opposed to abortion, period!
BILL: “To me, that means that a fetus is NOT “a living soul,” until it takes breath outside of the womb.” I agree with that, Milt. If even then. I’ve always wondered about the fact that we seem to accept that when a person dies, the soul leaves the body, which recognizes that the two are distinct from each other. It’s the entry point which to me is totally in question.
MILT: I hear you. I’m skeptical of such an ancient statement from the earliest chapter in Genesis on which to base such a critical decision…but…in my lengthy post I lost, I gave two examples of children I saw while I was in the ministry that never should have been born. I was very close to both families. Frankly, they were living in hell with a child that should have been, in most anyone’s opinion, I think, aborted.
One was a 11-12 year old boy, no speech, no measurable IQ, no awareness of surroundings or recognition of family members, completely confined to an apparatus with a feeding tube and requiring the 24-hour attention of his parents and one older sister, who was not only normal but quite bright [intelligent]. The boy developed pneumonia, which [in his condition] he contracted fairly often and was hospitalized. The doctors consulted with me and asked if I would help them [convince] the parents to decide to let them stop medications [and food and water] and allow the child to die. I conducted the boy’s funeral. The daughter was then able to go on to college, and I think she is a master’s degree teacher now. The parents, too, have a life. The boy never should have been born [aborted], in my opinion.
DEFORMED NINE-YEAR OLD GIRL
The second case is almost unbelievable…but I was totally shocked when I saw the situation. The boy, probably 17-18 years old was kept in a cage [literally]. He had no normal human abilities or capabilities. He made screeching noises like an animal and swung back and forth in his cage, holding onto the upper bars. He was, for all intents and purposes, an animal. He was somewhat vicious [savage], so his food was placed in the cage and, of course, they had to do their best to keep the cage as clean as possible. [I don’t know how they accomplished this.] The explanation I was given was that while he was being born, he had to immediately have a blood transfusion and was transfused with the wrong type of blood [blood type]. Okay, he was born, but, in my way of thinking, immediately upon understanding the gravity of the situation, he should have been immediately aborted. I know lots of people would say that would have been murder, but, in my thinking it would have been a medical, post-partum abortion…and a blessing to his family. Actually, his condition (which required the immediate transfusion) should have been identified in the uterus and the entire situation could have been very different. I don’t know. [Perhaps, doctors did not have that capability back then.]
I just believe that sometimes the consequences or results of a birth are not a moral issue at all…but a humane and ethical one. With these situations (and others) I still remained anti-abortion until I married my wife. Over the years, she helped me to understand that abortion is a woman’s choice…. Isn’t it strange that those people who are so anti-abortion seem to have no such compunctions about taking the life of someone who has committed a heinous crime? It just seems to me if we as a society so value life we ought to be very careful to allow compassion and understanding in situations where a life is to be taken. This is what has shaped my way of thinking on abortion. It also seems to me that those people who so vehemently oppose abortion should be willing to adopt an “endangered” child to insure that life! Such an unwanted child was adopted into my aunt’s family and became a well-educated professional who is of great service to his community.
Bill, for your information, I also believe in euthanasia. I would hope that should I ever be completely inhumanized by some fatal disease, i.e. Alzheimer’s or A.L.S. or a disease that completely debilitates me and steals the quality of my life, that my wife would take me to a state where euthanasia is legal that that my life would be humanely terminated. What a blessing that would be!…WOW! I really laid it all out there, didn’t I?
BILL: Yes, you did (lay it all out there). I’ll never agree with you politically, most likely, but I do on these things you just wrote about…I definitely do not believe life begins at conception.
MILT: I understand that, Bill. But my politics is based on the general moral and spiritual principles I discussed in my responses. Let me give you another thought. I could never be a Republican conservative if Donald Trump is an example of that party. I can sum him up in one word: disgusting! I cannot agree at all with those who think he is good for America, i.e. [unnamed]. Yet, I was a moderate Republican until Bill Clinton’s second term, when I liked what he was doing with the economy and switched parties. To attempt to compare Clinton’s moral lapses with Trump’s total lack of respect for women and marriage is ludicrous. No comparison. As far as I’m concerned I got out of the Republican Party at just the right time!
[I admit this conversation might be boring to many; but, to others it might give some insight into how one might form a tenable, sensible opinion on such important subjects as abortion and euthanasia…and political affiliation. –the Editor]