Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Great Divide


Since the 2000 presidential election, in which Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote, but Republican candidate George W. Bush won the most electoral college votes (and won the election), the fact that there are two Americas has become obvious.

Several issues make the divide between the two Americas seem particularly unbridgeable, and, appropriately I suppose, have to do with matters of life and death. Abortion, with supporters calling themselves "Pro-Choice" and opponents calling themselves "Pro-Life", has inspired its more extreme opponents to murdering abortion doctors and blowing up abortion clinics.

Currently, abortion is legal in every state of the U.S. since the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade in 1973. Whatever its legal status, abortion is carried out everywhere and all the time by women who, for whatever reason, do not wish that their lives should be changed permanently by an unplanned pregnancy. I suppose that if it were to be banned in the U.S., its opponents would have the strange satisfaction of knowing that they will have succeeded in making abortion so risky that it could potentially cause the deaths of the mothers as well as the fetuses.

In a bizarre twist, many of the people who are against abortion are also enthusiastically for capital punishment. They continue to believe that it is a deterrent, despite proof to the contrary. People simply don't commit crimes in the belief that they will be caught and punished.

Capital punishment has its supporters in tyrannies like China and North Korea, but also in the United States, which is alone in the Western Hemisphere in its observance of the practice. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of capital punishment in 1976, but 16 states have abolished the practice.

Last week, it seemed that the whole world was watching as Troy Davis became the latest victim of the moral turpitude of some Americans. Our sudden knowledge of the existence of this man was quickly upset by the state of Georgia's determination to expedite his nonexistence. If the cruelty of the event wasn't already obvious, it was delayed for three hours while a last minute appeal to the Supreme Court was being considered. Since the execution was by lethal injection, Troy Davis likely laid there on the table with the i.v. in his arm the whole time. That's like if he'd been hanged, he'd have had the noose around his neck and been standing on the trap door for 3 hours.

I have made my feelings on this subject abundantly clear before now. People who despair of their countrymen ever coming around to their thinking on the subject have to persevere. I recall when some avowed liberals moved to Canada when George W. Bush was reelected in 2004 because they found the political and moral atmosphere in America to be poisonous. Certainly their departure gratified those on the other side of the divide. But America is my country. And my side is winning.

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