Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Yes, we're all for families here!

Fighting, persuading, arguing and debating are a big part of what makes a democracy work.  Americans do plenty of that, as we all know. 

I think I can say with confidence that abortion is the issue in American public life where we argue the most among ourselves. I could go on at length about how we can never have civil discussions about abortion--or nearly anything else, for that matter--but that would be fodder for another post.

Before--and continuously during our debates and arguments--the framing and labeling wars happen. When it comes to our long-running, very heated debate about abortion, there can be no doubt that Conservatives who wear the Pro-Life label are smacking around the Pro-Choice side in this all-important messaging, framing and labeling war. You might say they've perfected the art of framing the debates and arguments and getting all of us to use their preferred labels and embrace many of their assumptions. 

They're so good at all that, in fact, that whenever the topic of abortion or related issues come up for discussion, a huge part of the American public already operates under assumptions that make clear how very successful Conservatives have been at framing the discussion and pushing the public's thinking in a certain direction.

Let me flesh this out just a bit. How many people labor under the illusion that Pro-Choice women don't like and don't want kids? Or that those of us who're Pro-Choice are irreligious, hostile to even the thought of any religious practice, and are down on heterosexual love and/or the very thought of marriage?

Public opinion is never set in concrete. Opinions can move in this direction or that. We've all seen how that works. There are many Americans who unquestionably have some of the aforementioned thoughts in their heads--whether consciously or not--whenever the discussion turns to abortion or any related issue.

But the truth is that when the vast majority of liberal or pro-choice women get pregnant, they carry that pregnancy to term, love and take care of their child. (I say their child but not at all denying or minimizing the reality of absent fathers or situations of rape or where a pregnant woman may not know who the father is.)

The starting point for so many debates or discussions about choice make clear that so many voters have bought into the Conservative argument that those of us who stand for choice are hostile to families, and are trying as hard as we can to abort as many babies as possible. And none of that is grounded in reality. 

When a woman’s right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term is not under legal threat, the ratio of abortions to all pregnancies is still very small. That’s true of any and all groups regardless of what their beliefs or attitudes towards choice on the one hand or forced birth on the other might be.

This smear that pro-choice people hate babies, hate families, hate motherhood and heterosexual love has got to be resisted. That groundless assumption lurks just below the surface whenever we get on the subject of abortion. And it's undeniable that most pregnancies—statistically speaking—among pro-choice people have the same result as among the public at large: the birth of a child.

We must stop letting regressive right-wingers go on portraying pro-choice people as blood-thirsty haters who are trying to destroy the family unit while killing as many babies as possible.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Dark Clouds and Priorities

I often wish that I could spend my time on this blog posting about my Nature/camping adventures, my love of sports and music and maybe pass along some cute cat pix and funny memes.

But our Country is in grave peril, and I can't pretend it's not happening. Donald trump is a first-class con artist, a traitor and a wanna-be dictator. We can't just pretend it's not so.

His speech at CPAC this week is just one more piece of clear evidence that he's a very, very serious threat to our democracy and our Nation. Please read this piece from Teagan Goddard. It's well worth the next two minutes of your day. 

Being immersed in this stuff is soul-crushing; I hate it.

But I implore you, don't look away.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile