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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's That You Say?

     I used to watch “All My Children” on TV when I was in my twenties. The plots were convoluted and even a touch ludicrous, but they did make me want to see what would happen next. Then one day, a story made some glaring lights come on. A young woman was married to a much older man. Through some contrivance, she and a handsome young man were stranded together overnight. They “comforted” each other.
     When handsome young man took her home, the husband, worried and now angry, accused the two of doing, well, exactly what they had done. Instead of confessing, apologizing, or even making excuses, they became indignant at having been accused. “How can you say such a thing, after all we’ve been through?” was the gist of their response. Then the husband backed down and apologized for being so mean!
     This was such a twisted anti-morality, I never wanted to watch the program again, and I certainly didn’t want my children to see it. Now, though, I see this backwards outrage all around me in public discourse. When a “reproductive rights activist” (meaning someone who wants sex without any of that darn reproduction) cynically enrolls in a Catholic law school and then tries to force them to abandon their pro-life principles by claiming that she and her sister students need $3,000 worth of contraceptive services to get through the program, her duplicity and what sure enough sounds like promiscuity are simply “good citizenship” in the POTUS’s words. But Rush Limbaugh wonders out loud whether “slut” or “prostitute” is a more accurate term for her, and all hell breaks loose. OK, it was crude, but it was a way of naming her behavior. Pointing it out seems to be a much worse offense than doing it.
     It’s the same with talk about abortion. I use the term “baby-killing,” and I’m taken to task for being harsh and rude. Yet pointing a suction tube at a tiny baby and ripping its arms and legs off, oh, that’s just women’s health care. Pulling a bigger baby out of the birth canal except for its head, sticking a pair of scissors into the base of its skull and cutting up the brain so the head can be collapsed and the dead child pulled out, oh that’s just reproductive health. A woman’s right, don’t you know. Call it baby-killing, and you are the rube, the outcast, the criminal. And you can’t change the channel.