This election scares me; if the 2004 election was the most important election in the lives of Americans, this one is the most important election in the lives of South Dakotans, and it scares me, because the same rhetoric that caused us, as a nation, to screw the pooch on the last election seems to be working to cause us to screw the pooch in this state election.
For the record, I was ambivalent on Referred Law 6, the abortion ban, but all the attention it has gotten, all the fucking signs everywhere, the inability to get away from it, has persuaded me to vote against it (even though I won't be upset either way). Talk about screwing the pooch, because really, my philosophy is very similar to those who support the measure, because I do believe that life begins at conception, and I do believe that if they are performed at all it should be only to preserve the woman's health. Yes, I said health, not life. Here's the thing: the whole "it's my body; it's my choice" rhetoric does not and never has held much water with me, because it seems to me that you make a choice to have sex, and once you make that choice you need to accept the consequences of your actions, and you cannot impose your decision on your unborn child and affect its life. (Neither has the whole, "it's not really a human being" rhetoric held much water with me; of course it is, if it's not a human being than what is it? I don't know, but that's not the issue here; the issue is whether or not killing such a human being is murder, and there are already plenty of instances in which either the Federal government or state governments have deemed that killing a human being is not murder: wars, the death penalty, euthanasia, etc.)
That said, I can't in good conscience say that women who did NOT have the choice to have sex, who were forced through rape or incest, should not have the choice available to them. Yes, I would hope that they would choose to have the child, give it up for adoption if they were not prepared to raise it themselves, but I can't justify further denying them that choice, especially since they're certainly going to be going through post-traumatic stress, which is a recognized health disorder, so I can imagine that the physical demands of pregnancy would exacerbate that.
I've said before and I say again, if we really want to stop abortions, we have to put our money where our mouth is on the subject of adoption: that means more accessibility to open adoptions, that means protection of adoptive parents' rights. I'm also in favor of incentives to adoptive families, like tax breaks and whatnot, and perhaps something for women who choose to have a baby either to raise it or to put it up for adoption rather than having an abortion, althought that could get to be a really, really sticky issue, so I'd like to have plenty of discussion on it first.
I'm a Catholic, and needless to say the Church and individual churches are hitting the issue pretty hard. I finally joined a parish here in Sioux Falls because I liked the wisdom and compassion with which the pastor interpreted the Scriptures, but he seems to be letting his associates do the dirty work this month, this "Respect Life" October before the elections in November. The deacon who preached today gave a very impassioned, though logically unsound, sermon today. One thing he said is that we will all be asked to account for our actions in the afterlife, which I agree with. I'm prepared to take responsibility for my actions. If my vote is offensive to God, I ask God's forgiveness.
I just realized I labeled the cut that I was talking about Constitutional Amendment A instead of C. I don't even remember what Amendment A is...
I'm really, really, really just fed up with the whole Referred Law 6 debate and how much attention it's drawn from other measures that are so much more important and are just getting glossed over. Like Amendment E, which would create a "special grand jury" to investigate claims of judicial misconduct. Um, what? Who the fuck would be on this "special grand jury" and who exactly would they be accountable to? State judges are elected; if you don't like a judge, don't vote for them. There's no need to create a new bureaucracy. I can only assume that this is a side effect of the rhetoric against "activist judges," or what the rest of the world call "judges". I want to say more about it because I'm so sure it's an infinitely bad idea, but the whole logic seems so counterinituitive I find it difficult to make a reasoned argument. According to polls it's got a lot of support. I fear the worst.
On the upside, it sounds like a plurality is actually in opposition to Amendment C, the anti-gay marriage amendment. Good. I won't say "Hallelujah!" until it's defeated, but good. And if that was caused by the focus on Referred Law 6, then I guess it's worth the inconvenience and annoyance, though I'd certainly rather believe South Dakotans oppose the gay-marriage amendment because we are kind and compassionate people who don't want to keep propagating discrimination.
I've revised the above paragraph so that this next one doesn't fit in with the rest of the entry anymore, but I want to share it anyway. There was an illuminating exchange on The Daily Show a few months ago between conservative pundit and all-around asshole Bill Bennett and Daily Show host and light of reason Jon Stewart. They spent the whole Bennett interview discussing the issue, with Stewart championing the basic rights of all citizens including gays, and Bennett trying to make a case for discrimination without making it sound discriminatory. At the end, I guess feeling annoyed at being shown up, Bennett pointed out, "This debate [the issue of gay marriage in larger society, not just the debate between him and Stewart] is over, Jon," to which Stewart replied, "And you lost."
There, I'm done. Glad I got that out of my system; from now I express my opinions in the voting booth.