Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fighting For Responsibility

We have a serious problem in this country, but its not what you think. Forget the economy, forget unemployment, or the environment, or education or healthcare. The problem we face is much deeper, and much more dangerous. It is not limited to one particular political idealogy, and no one people group suffers from it any more then any other. Rich, poor, young, old, black, white...it doesn't matter. No one talks about it, but if we are honest, we know the level to which this problem affects us.

Recently, one of the few doctors who performs late-term abortions was murdered in a church. This, for me, has been troubling on many levels. For one, the fact that the crime was committed in a house of God bothers me. It also bothers me that, as someone who is pro-life, I will now be lumped in with extremists who believe that ideology can be imposed at gun point. I am saddened for his family that they have lost a husband, father, and grandfather. However, what troubles me the most is what comes from within me; or should I say, what is lacking within me. If I am honest with myself, I have to say that I have no feelings of sympathy or outrage that the events took place. I would never begin to try to justify murder, nor do I believe that Dr. Tiller deserved to die. The question of who dies and when really is not up to me. However, in light of the 60'000 lives snuffed out in Dr. Tiller's clinic, its very hard for me to feel sympathy or outrage when I hear that the same has happened to him.

Now, I know there will be some who will read this who will be disgusted by this or call me a facist or be otherwise disappointed in me. I understand where you come from. I write my reaction to his death as means of owning my feelings, of taking responsibility for them. I feel it is necessary to do this so I may discuss the larger point in all of this, the problem our country is facing.

Whenever something newsworthy happens related to abortion, it sparks a debate about the legality and morality of the abortion issue. It is no different today. Despite attempts by the media and by politicians to assert that abortion is a settled issue in this country, there is still passionate opposition to its practice. Pro-lifers tend to assert the morality argument that equates abortion to murder, while pro-choicers waive the Constitution and claim protection from goverment intervention into our private lives. The debate centers around what we do and do not have the right to do with our bodies. However, I believe the issue goes even deeper then that.

The choice to have an abortion, except in cases of rape or molestation (which, by the way, account for less then 1% of all abortions performed), really comes down to a simple choice. It is the answer to the question: "Do I want to take responsibilty for the poor choice I made?" Those mothers that choose to have the child, either to raise it or put it up for adoption are saying yes, I will own my choices. Those who go ahead with the procedure are not. It is really as simple as that. Abortion exists because of the larger problem in our country: a lack of personal accountability.

It goes beyond abortion. We have a failing educational system, not because we don't have enough money, but because we have teachers' unions that do not allow for a system based on merit to decide who leads a classroom and who does not. We have people on welfare who choose not work because Uncle Sam pays better then the entry level job at McDonalds. We use billions of tax payer dollars to bail out auto makers for lacking the forethought to know that you can't overpay your employees to build cars often viewed as inferior to their foreign competitors. We overtax the most productive members of society so we can "spread the wealth around," as our President would say, to those who do not achieve. All the while, we are teaching our children the lesson that, if they make a mistake, they won't have to worry about the consequences and that any trouble they may face is surely the fault of someone else.

Nietzsche once said, "Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves." Rather then battling over what rights we have, we need to change the conversation to include discussion of our responsibilities. We need to raise the level of citizenship in this country so that once again, it means something to be an American. Previous generations have had to fight and die to protect the way of life we take for granted. We owe it to them to debate not only what we can do as Americans, but also what we should do.


  1. I understand. I struggled with how I should feel about this as well, but in a different sort of way. I'm definitely outraged by this abhorrant, terrorist act.

    Where I had trouble was with where I should look for answers. Who gets blamed? Is this guy a lone wacko or was he pushed? Are his crazy beliefs limited to the fringe of the right wing or should we look at people like Bill O'Reilly too?

    There are wackos on both sides, so to try to make political hay out of this would dishonor this man's memory and minimize the tragedy of his death.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that to say the conclusion I finally came to was that I have to seperate the Randal Terry's of the world from people like you. I get that you don't agree with abortion, but I also understand that the great majority of people on your side of the argument wouldn't go around shooting people to stop the practice.

    I just hope that those of us in the middle of the argument, regardless of what side we're on, continue to make the decisions. Otherwise, we're going to be in a whole heap of trouble.

  2. wow. first a side note... a pro-lifer like myself uses the Constitution to defend LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

    second... yeah, wow. it's late and i'm too lazy to write. :) sorry ej. call me, we'll chat. holla!


  3. Outrage inlcudes shock within it's definition. Shock is definately not a feeling felt upon hearing the news, there have been attempts on Dr. Tiller's life before. True, it is unfortunate and what an oxymoron, pro-lifers killing people. Raising the level of citizenship can only be done by taking the free ride away from people and instilling work ethic back in to the people. America was built on the backs of the working man, not in the hands of the needy.

  4. It appears you nailed your political colors to the wall in the second to last paragraph.

    The problem with the conservative movement right now is really evidenced in your post. Conservatives (I am speaking politically not theologically) tout all this jargon about personal responsibility and citizenship, but their argument is the same as the God-hating Nietzche, that we all have the freedom to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

    "Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves"

    I am not responsible to myself... I have been bought with a price.

    Just some thoughts... I am not big into arguing, but love a healthy disagreement! LOL.

    As iron shapens iron, so one man sharpens another

  5. Keys to the bus-

    What do you mean by the middle? Certainly the fringe which kills people to stop abortion is the... way out fringe. Bill O'Reily (though I am not a fan of his) has millions of viewers everyday... .000001% of them have killed someone b/c they perform abortions.

    Even the suggestion of a connection is a tad ridiculous. Should I connect everyone who has killed in name of evolution to the public schools... ie Columbine? Of course not, that is looking for a scapegoat.

    The real problem is human depravity plain and simple.

  6. Yeah, I would stay away from quoting the God-hater F. Nietzsche. But just because we are bought with a price does not abdicate responsibility for our choices and actions, even our thoughts. imho. ;D

  7. Truthfinder-
    I agree, and would not say being bought with a price abdicates responsibility for our choices and actions. I can see how my comment was misunderstood.

    The point is that we are responsible to each other. When a brother falls we have some responsibility to pick them up. I of course agree with Eric that it is not the gov'ts job to pick everyone up, but it is the job of the church, imho.

    Again, we have been bought with a price, bought to do the will of God, I am not responsible to myself, but to Him. Not sure if that made since, having difficulty putting the right words to it tonight.

    the tenth letter