Monday, June 8, 2009

A Conflict In Talking Points

Wordsmith is running a political cartoon over at Left Side of the Moon that I must admit expresses something I've thought about quite frequently over the past week. Surely there are others who are as perplexed as I am by the battling ideals that seem to surround the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

The arguments that are coming to fruition, albeit quietly, seem to encompass the very notions anti-choicers have for many years shouted at the left in respect to abortion and the death penalty. Abortion should be outlawed because it is "murder," but the death penalty should be upheld because we have the right to take a murderers life for his crimes and that is not murder, it is justice. I have never understood those conflicting positions and I don't expect it will suddenly become clear to me. However, I see the same argument taking place behind closed doors where those who are relieved (for their cause) to see George Tiller in his grave aren't immediately condemning the actions of Scott Roeder. If you disagree with this point, let me ask this: What is the purpose of pointing out the number of abortions performed by Dr. Tiller or why label the man a "murderer" if you believe the man has as much a right to live his life as any of the rest of us? I listen to the right point out the work of Dr. Tiller and I am repulsed by the hatred they have for the man. They don't appear to believe that those like George Tiller have any more of a right to live than your average serial killer on death row. Amazing.

The right may counter these points by saying that nobody is actively admitting a belief that Tiller deserved to die, my response to which would include a quote the founder of Operation Rescue, Randall Terry: "George Tiller was a mass murderer and horrifically, he reaped what he sowed." Tell me where in that statement Mr. Terry is condemning what was done to George Tiller at his church? By adding "horrifically" to that statement, it is somehow less abrasive? It's quite clear to the rest of us that the extreme right loses no sleep over the murder of men like George Tiller. It's clear because the right continues to speak about these "mass murders" and the the perceived sins of George Tiller instead of speaking to the radicalization of their own faction of the Republican party, a faction that includes Randall Terry, Scott Roeder, and even Hal Turner (who sounds a lot like Idaho's own Zeb Bell).

Sometimes I like to believe that the hatred that leads to violence doesn't exist here, as if pretending will keep the hatred at bay for good. Hate's existence is an unfortunate reality I encounter from time to time, if not from the hate radiating from the Magic Valley and the microphone of Zeb Bell, from the commentators in my local paper. The Idaho State Journal has a handful of what my friends at 43rd State Blues would call wingnuts. They are unapologetic haters. They hate (in no particular order) gays, Atheists, liberals, Sonia Sotomayor, Canadians (today at least), and anyone willing to pay taxes for things that might actually help Americans without putting up a fight (or throwing a tea party). In my opinion, the top tier of wingnuts writing for the ISJ right now includes Richard Larsen, Mark Balzer, and Craig Bosley. Second Tier would include the rest--Spencer Case, Michael O'Donnell, etc. It is, however, the top tier that promotes the most irrational and unsettling of positions. This morning readers of the Idaho State Journal were met with an editorial by Dr. Craig Bosley, an emergency physician here in Pocatello, that more or less was leading to the point that Dr. Tiller deserved to die and set himself up for his own murder, but then turned on a dime and ended with the statement: "We cannot challenge abortion if we become what we detest."

Of course Dr. Bosley couldn't write about George Tiller without inciting more hatred for the man who is no longer around to defend himself. He makes sure to point out in the first paragraph of his editorial how many abortions Dr. Tiller supposedly performed and that he "arrogantly performed late-term abortions." Don't ask me what arrogance has to do with the issue, other than Bosley seems have a great deal of it. Bosley not only attacks Tiller because of his performance of abortions, he attacks Tiller because of his faith in God:
"Maybe the final irony of Dr. Tiller's life was that he was sent to his God in the House of his God. Maybe it was time for him to face the Creator of the laws he claimed to follow."
So, let me get this right, George Tiller not only didn't deserve to live, he also didn't deserve to believe in the same God as Craig Bosley? Clearly by saying "his God," Bosley means to say that a man like Dr. Tiller, who performed abortions, couldn't possibly believe in the same God as Dr. Bosley, who doesn't perform abortions? That's exactly what I read. How exactly is this irony or even the final irony of poor George Tiller's life? And the laws "he claimed to follow"? Last I checked, Dr. Bosley, abortion is legal in this country and the law of the land is what Dr. Tiller was obligated to follow, not whichever of God's laws you are attempting to force on Dr. Tiller and the rest of us.

What I seem to be finding the most perplexing of the things written, by Bosley and others, as well as the political cartoons being penned, is that so many of us are unwilling to say what we believe outright because we know how it will paint us. Dr. Bosley keeps talking about "many," but only indirectly eludes to his acceptance of what the "many" believe. To support this point:

"...[M]ore than a few people confidently believe Dr. Tiller was killed to defend the unborn, with obvious extenuating circumstances. Many will want Dr. Tiller's killer honored, not prosecuted, certain Dr. Tiller was not murdered; instead he was executed for his 'crimes against humanity.'"
Why not just come out and say what you mean, Dr. Bosley? You condone Scott Roeder and others like him, don't you? No, that isn't what you meant by "many." As the cartoon Wordsmith is running points out, the battling ideals and contradictory positions being taken by you and the extreme right have confused the rest of us. You say you can't challenge abortion if you become exactly what you detest, yet you're not outright condemning a murder because you'd rather we call it an execution since in your view the man got what was coming to him? Right. And sure, I'll believe that pigs fly.

1 comment:

The Kernel said...

What I consistently find interesting about Dr. Bosley's posts is how hypocritical they are. His daughter is gay and in a long term relationship...he has been divorced...the list goes on of his own "indiscretions." I just call them life...but I don't write up articles about them...? I actually kind of feel sorry for him. Can you imagine the strain that type of thinking puts on your life? I just hope people are intelligent enough to read all of the stories, not just the most colorful. I find it interesting that I could use "flamboyant" to describe his writing appeal...and gay pride!