Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Empathy, Part II

One thing you notice is that we don't talk about abortion much in our society.  Maybe that's because we don't know what to say.  Is abortion like a miscarriage?  Cause a miscarriage, I know you feel bad.  You were happy to be pregnant, and now you're sad.  I feel sympathy for you.  I can give you a hug, or buy you a card.  An abortion, on the other hand, you wanted to do that, right?  Or did you?  Already I'm confused.  Do you feel bad?  Do you feel okay?  Do you want to talk about it? 

I have no interest in making people who had an abortion feel bad.  It was legal when you did it.  And it's in the past.  Ain't nothing we can do about it now.  It's like spitting on somebody for killing babies in Vietnam.  Today liberals remind themselves to be respectful to the military.  But in the back of their head, they wonder, did you kill innocent people?  But it doesn't do any good talking about it, right? 

So maybe empathy drives us to silence.  We just won't say anything.  Meanwhile, we had 1.3 million abortions last year, we're having 1.3 million abortions this year, and we'll have 1.3 million abortions next year.  Bill Clinton said that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."  Rare?  How's that coming along?

Part of the problem with our silence is that young girls, innocent girls, are not prepared for sex.  We all think we're ready, at a younger and younger age.  And we have sex.  No big deal!  But of course once you get pregnant, you're little game of russian roulette is over.  It was so much fun being wild and crazy, but now we just made a little baby.  Oops. 

Maybe all our silence is one of the causes of our massive abortion numbers.  You don't want to say anything because of all the women who already feel bad about their abortions.  But as we maintain our respectful silence to the current crop of aborting women, we don't say anything to the future crop of aborting women.  Is all our silence making us a nicer, more loving society?  Or just a more repressed one? 

Of course, empathy doesn't mean you are pro-choice, or pro-life.  That's a political position reflecting your view on the baby in the womb.  (Or the squid).  We have asshole pro-lifers and asshole pro-choicers.  You know that's right.  Many of us nice people can veer over into assholery ourselves, if the moon is full. 

Harry Blackmun, like William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, was an empathetic guy.  At his confirmation hearing, he said the job of the Supreme Court was to "look after the little people."  And liberals go, "Awwwwww."  And pro-lifers snort coffee out of our nose.  As empathetic as he was, and he was a big ol' crybaby, I think it's safe to say that Harry forgot about some of the little people.

Of course, when an elite Supreme Court Justice says "little people," he's not actually talking about little people.  He's talking about you and me.  Big people.  We're the little people.  When you're a super-duper Supreme Person, big people become little people and little people drop off the map altogether.    

Is lack of empathy the problem, or is the actual problem the Supreme Court's willingness to play God?  You just imagine Harry Blackmun up in the clouds, looking down, speaking to 300 million Americans, saying, "I'll look after you from way up here.  Don't worry!" 

On my non-empathetic days, I imagine Harry Blackmun in the afterlife, trying to breast-feed 6 million babies all at once. 

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