March 21, 2006

CALLING ALL "PRO-LIFERS!"

By Dan Maguire

Being a "compassionate liberal, I like to help people. I've come up with something to help people who call themselves "pro-life" They so need help. I want to restore their honor, spare them abuse, and permit them to truly call themselves "pro-life."

Just think of the nasty things people say about them.

Some call them frauds because they are obsessed with fetal life but support Republican cutbacks on aid to children and poor parents, especially sick poor parents and sick poor children who depend on Medicaid. (Gosh, that criticism might be true!).

Other critics say these people are liars when they call themselves "pro-life" since they didn't care a whit about all the fetuses that got killed in Iraq and Afghanistan with our "Shock and Awe" blitzkrieg where no distinction was made between pregnant and unpregnant civilian victims. Come to think of it, "Shock and Awe" was feticide writ large! (O.K., I concede. Those critics may be onto something too since the "pro-lifers" voted for more war and thus more feticide-by-war in the last election!)

Other say they are not really in love with fetuses, they are just afraid of free women who refuse to be defined as brood mares. (Oh, oh, those critics may also have a point!).

Other cruel critics say the only way to get away from all these self-righteous, self-designated "pro-lifers" is to go to a peace rally or to a protest against capital punishment or to a rally for clean air or water or to a rally against torture. (Come to think of it I guess I never did see any of them there!)

However, in the cause of fairness, I am happy to say there is one criticism against these people that is totally unjust and absolutely false! People say the "pro-lifers" are against choice! Wrong! They are for choice! They just want the government, not the pregnant women, to have that choice. So it is a mean-spirited calumny to say the "pro-lifers" are not for choice. It's just that they, like the Chinese Communists, trust government's choices more than women's choices when it comes to pregnancy. (Thank heavens I finally found a false charge against these poor, pathetic people that I so want to help.)

But enough of criticisms. I am, to use one of President Bush's terms, "a unifier" and, hopefully, I can be better at it than our hapless president. There is an issue that should unify all of us on every side of every debate in our society. This one should unite Republicans, Democrats, and Independents and it should e front page news every day.

The big melt is on. The oceans are coming!

The Republicans are trying to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in order to speed up global warming. Nicholas Kristof says we may not need to fight about that since "the sad reality is that much of the Arctic plain will probably be lost anyway in this century to rising sea levels." But isn't this talk of global warming and melting ice just more nervous twitter from the tree-huggers? Seems not. In January 2006 six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, including five who served under Republican Administrations (where tree-hugging never caught on) met in Washington. Every one of them agreed that global warming is ongoing and that human agency is very responsible.

The optimists say that we have not yet reached the "tipping point" where huge inundations will happen, raising the ocean levels 23 feet by some predictions. Bye, bye Manhattan when that happens, and bye, bye Florida and most Pacific island. And welcome the shrinkage of all coastal states and nations. The pessimists say we have already passed the tipping point and we can now sit back and watch the "positive feedback loop." That's easy to understand. It means that as ice melts, bare ground is exposed and the ground absorbs three times more heat than the ice and snow. So more heat and more melt lead to more heat and more melt. And here come the oceans!

Everyone says we can slow down this process even if the pessimists are right-as on this issue they have tended to be. But that would mean spending more on new energy sources than we now spend on war. It would mean becoming pro-life.

Sad to say, giving up wars and big cars sounds un-American. We may be too addicted to both, too shortsighted, too violent, too selfish, and too dumb to change.

As physics professor Marty Hoffert of New York University says: "It may be that we're not going to solve global warming, the earth is going to become an ecological disaster, and somebody will visit in a few hundred million years and find there were some intelligent beings who lived here for a while, but they just couldn't handle the transition from being hunter-gatherers to high technology. It's certainly possible." This long gone species, they will say, was just not pro-life.

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