The Hypocritical Oath
I won’t take a vaccine! Government hands off my body!
You can’t have an abortion! Everyone in Texas, supervise this woman’s body!
O, the hypocrisy of rightwing thought! It claims the individual right to infect everybody and to clog hospital emergency rooms, but it denies Jane Doe the individual right to terminate her pregnancy. Disease is individualized, although it isn’t; pregnancy is socialized, although it isn’t.
Meanwhile, Mexico is now ripe for establishing abortion clinics all along the Texas border. And Trump’s Wall will now keep American citizens in, at a bounty of $10,000 apiece.
The irony is mind-bending.
It’s my belief that Roe v. Wade should have been settled on the basis of religious freedom. Reaching into the 9th and 14th Amendments to find a right to privacy was not altogether convincing, but reaching into the 1st Amendment would have been unassailable, based on the fact that not all religious traditions view the status of a fetus the same way. Judaism does not preach “ensoulment” at the moment of conception, the way Catholicism does; Islam does not consider the fetus to be a living human soul until 120 days after conception; some schools of Hinduism teach that the reincarnated soul is not present in the fetus before five months; etc. And most non-Christian religion that I know of view the physical and mental health of Mom to take precedence, by far, over “Baby’s” rights.
All of our varying concepts of fetal humanity and rights should, in fact, be viewed as 100% religious. Even for the irreligious, it’s a matter of belief, not scientific fact. What legal right, then, does the Christian Right or American governments have to impose their concepts of “ensoulment” and fetal “murder” on the rest of the country? (If there’s a legal scholar or Constitutional lawyer reading this who can point to the weakness of my arguments, I’d love to hear from you.)
I’m glad to see Uncle Joe Biden leveraging the power of the federal government to force people to take the vaccination. Still, it sorrows me as an American that there seems to be no voice capable of inspiring our country to unite to overcome this pandemic — to view our response as a national mobilization designed to protect our children, to restore our economy, to overcome the virus and its variants through united effort. I wonder how many people simply don’t understand the social nature of this kind of contagious disease; I wonder how many people don’t know the history of the polio and smallpox vaccines; I wonder how many people could actually be convinced of being vaccinated as a patriotic duty, even a sacrifice (for those afraid of the shot), and therefore to quit their oppositionist charade.
It seems to be too late for such inspiration to take hold in our fractured society — hell, I often find myself wishing death on those unvaccinated Republican shmucks — but its absence saddens me . . .
—Lawrence Bush for ALTE: Getting Old Together
ALTE is holding a Zoom gathering on Sunday October 3rd at 7 pm. We’d like to have a topic this time, namely, the topic of our current print issue of ALTE, which is at the printer and will hopefully be in your mailbox before October 3. The topic is “The Future.” What’s our relationship to it? Please write to email@example.com to receive an invitation to the Zoom.