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The Coming Civil War

This is an original commentary that I recently wrote.  I’m curious to know what others think.

Years ago in the late 80’s or early 90’s, my grandmother told me that she was scared for my generation.  She told me that the social/political environment would be much worse for us than it was for her generation.  I scoffed and reminded her that nothing could have been worse than the segregated society she grew up in the South.  She simply responded that we would have to wait and see.  Mother died in 1999 at the age of 87.  The events that this country has been through since 2000 would have captivated her.  She was a voracious consumer of the news, up on current events not only locally and nationally but also internationally.  She always had some news program on and read many political and financial magazines and newspapers. 

Over the past four years, I’ve come to think Mother was right.  Another bit of advice Mother gave me was to never trust the Bushes.  She said never vote for a Bush.  I followed her advice and neither voted for GW nor Herbert Walker.  Unfortunately, not enough people benefited from her sage advice.  I am not ashamed to say it but I am scared.  I am scared because most people don’t realize that we are at a dangerous point in our country’s future. 

And I am not talking about al-Qaeda or Islamic terrorism.  Al-Qaeda is certainly a dangerous network of religious fanatics that want to harm our country but we have our own religious fanatics willing to harm our Republic.  [Full disclosure:  I am a born-again follower of Christ.  I have just begun to shed the term of Evangelical.  I am increasingly at odds with the majority of Evangelicals and can no longer stand in that camp.  I have been a Christian for nearly 20 years and have attended Evangelical churches throughout the years and I am still a member of an Evangelical church.  I am trying to figure out whether I will stay or go.]

I am scared for this country because we are headed for a civil war centered on abortion.  The Right and especially the Religious Right wants this war.  They are especially energized with the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate.  Sarah Palin is a theocrat, meaning that she and many Evangelicals do not believe in a separation of Church and State.  They want to implement a biblical form of government.  They want to create a truly Christian nation modeled after ancient Israel where there is no secular government.  Evangelicals and hard right people are absolutely giddy about Sarah Palin.  She is their “Moses”.  Many had planned on sitting out this election, but not anymore.  John McCain may think he is in charge of his party but he is not.  Richard Viguerie, a long-time leading Conservative, said on the radio last week that when judging political experience versus world-view that world-view wins out.  They don’t care about McCain.  They are tolerating him until Sarah; their “chosen” one is rightfully installed as President.  McCain is neither that healthy nor hardy.  If I were McCain, I would be very scared that the theocrats weren’t trying to hasten his demise.  Palin is George W. Bush on steroids.  Bush abused the use of executive orders.  If Palin were to replace McCain, she would not hesitate to circumvent the law or the Constitution to end abortion in all circumstances.  Considering the age and composition of the Supreme Court, she will have a majority of very conservative justices to uphold her evisceration of the Constitution. 

For the Evangelical Right, the anti-abortion issue is the seminal cultural/political/social issue of this time.  They liken this issue to the anti-slavery movement of the early 19th century.  They see themselves as modern day abolitionists.  The Left and many in the press are not sufficiently aware of how volatile this issue is and how ardent the Religious Right is to wage a war on this issue.  They are making traction on this issue within the Republican Party.  Many of the moderates are being pushed out or being marginalized.  Before Sarah Palin was selected, the Republican brand was seriously in jeopardy.  Many, including the Religious Right, were disillusioned with George W. Bush.  He had the Supreme Court, the Executive and Legislative branches and yet still did not overturn Roe v. Wade.  The Neo-cons have always been much more interested in waging war and making obscene amounts of money in oil and defense contracting rather than pushing a cultural agenda.  They pay lip service to pro-life positions but frankly they aren’t particularly vested in the issue.  They dangle the issue out there to keep the Religious Right in their pocket but they never had any intention of changing the status quo.  Sarah Palin changes the game.  The Religious Right will no longer patiently wait for abolition.  Those in the pro-choice crowd who don’t recognize the danger are doomed to be drawn into a war. 

I am not trying to unnecessarily alarm anyone but I’ve spent several years reading and responding to Christian blogs.  When you scratch beyond the surface with most Evangelicals, they won’t disagree that abortion is the only issue that matters to them and the issue that gets them to vote.  [Additional disclosure: I am personally opposed to abortion, but until several larger issues are dealt with I don’t believe that banning abortion is helpful or realistic.  I will address those issues later in this essay.] Once Sarah Palin is fraudulently made president, the war is on.  After what we have observed over the past 8 years, I have serious doubts that Congress will stand up to the Executive Branch.  So it will be the grass-roots pro-choice army that will take on the pro-life establishment.  [Note:  Interesting term – pro-life.  The Right uses this term but they aren’t real strict about which lives they want to protect.  More on that below.] I don’t know if there will be actual armies fighting in the streets but there will be such a division that we haven’t seen since Lincoln’s Civil War. 

Apart from preventing John McCain and Sarah Palin from reaching the White House, the only way to stave off this war is to compromise.  Both sides will need to make big concessions.  Neither side will win because both are operating from a zero-sum game but compromise will happen at some point – before or after the war.  What will the Left have to concede?  1) Partial birth abortion – gone.  Completely.  2) Most abortion situations will not be allowed.  No more abortions unless in cases of rape and incest or the life of the mother is in jeopardy.  No more abortions even if the fetus has genetic abnormalities.  Rich women will still be able to get abortions because they can travel abroad or have a “DNC”.  Depending upon how you look at it the Right will have to make the most concessions.  If they want to eliminate nearly all abortions, they will have to accept some remedies that will be particularly unpalatable to them.  3) Finally, ban embryonic stem cell research.  There are advances in stem cell research that will negate the need for the use of embryos.

What will the Right have to concede?  1) In limited cases, abortion will be allowed in cases of rape and incest or the life of the mother is in jeopardy.  2) More will need to be done to support women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy.  Pregnancy crisis centers are not going to be the salve that will allow the Left to accept a compromise.  A real commitment in terms of legislation and funding will have to provide a cushion for women who are in poverty or near poverty.  The major reason for most women who seek abortion is immediate and long-term finances.  2a) The compromise will require universal healthcare for all US children.  When a woman goes to have her baby, the mother and child will receive free healthcare.  2b) Free childcare and/or pre-school for all children until they reach elementary school age.  2c) Another consideration is to provide 24 months of paid maternity leave from the Federal Government.  This burden cannot be put on employers because childbearing women would never be employed.  Of course, most people on the Right will cry about the massive spending this will require but if we are to believe they care about more than the fetus, then they need to put their money where their mouth is.  3) Abandon Abstinence-Only education.  This concession will be one of the most contentious but it is only reasonable if most abortion is eliminated.  I know the Right would like to believe that all modern teen-agers will forgo sexual relations if they receive intensive abstinence-only education, but the statistics show that this approach has been a big failure.  Frankly, I find this head-in-the-sand approach bewildering considering the amount of extramarital, premarital and unmarried co-habitation that occurs among adults.  If the adults can’t control themselves, what makes them think that hormonal, impulsive teens are going to be paragons of virtue?  If abortion is severely curtailed, young people need to understand how to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  4) Finally, this last concession is not a clear Right vs. Left fight.  The death penalty should not be allowed to be consistent with a pro-life position.  If the unborn cannot be aborted, then the living, no matter how reprehensible, should not be executed.  There are many in both camps that feel this way and there are many in both camps that want to exact vengeance.  There are those who will trot out Scripture to support their position for capital punishment, but Scripture also points to acts of mercy (see Barrabas).  The major argument from the Right is to protect the life of innocents.  They don’t mind putting to death those they believe are guilty.  The problem with the death penalty is that sometimes the innocent are also put to death.

The compromise will be difficult for those invested on both sides, but I dare say we are approaching the time where this issue will have to be dealt with.  Our country will not be able to dodge this bullet.  We are running out of time and cooler heads will need to prevail and reach across the divide and compromise before it is too late and real lives are lost.  Both sides need to realize that each side is committed to life; it’s just that they value different lives and who has the control over those lives.

Shelley Martinez


Posted by Nuttshell on 09/09 at 05:03 PM in Blogging

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