Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Mortal Sin of Sarah Palin

I don't intend to make this site a spot for a lot of political commentary, save when it incidentally intersects with cultural and social commentary. Many are chewing up bandwidth regarding the U.S. Presidential race, and its most recent entry, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, so I probably wouldn't add anything new in the realm of political commentary.

However, I have been interested to see the severity of the reaction to Palin's appointment, particularly among hard-core pro-abortion feminists. It has gone well beyond disdain for her political stands. She has been reviled and castigated by the hard left in a way that words like "vitriolic" and "venomous" cannot capture. (Jonah Goldberg does a great summary in his column.)

Why the rabid response? It is far out of proportion to someone who simply stands on the other side of the political fence. My suspicion is that they despise Palin with such savage hatred because she has done the unthinkable, the inconceivable:

She denied their god his sacrificial victim.

When you've fought the pro-abortionists as long as I have, you get to know their strategies. It isn't easy to get a culture like ours, which favors fair play and the protection of the weak and helpless, to accept the mass slaughter of innocent children as public policy. They have to resort to oblique tactics, which they do by starting with The Hard Cases. Any apologia for abortion always begins with these.

Of course, the first is RapeAndIncest. This is glossed over in one phrase, without thought, and is always offered first because it strips away one argument against abortion - i.e. that the woman already exercised her "choice". Since a RapeAndIncest victim had no choice, surely one would not wish to impose upon her something she did not choose? Of course, this argument leaves unaddressed the question of how just it is to punish a child for the sin of her father, and glosses over how abortion makes it simpler for crimes like incest to be covered up and thus perpetuated. But those considerations do not occur to most who are faced with this argument - they simply concede the ground.

Then comes the next hard case: the Defective Child. What if the child is (*sigh*)...Not Quite Right? Such occurrences are tragic, and nobody's fault, but why make a bad situation worse? What hardhearted cad would, for the sake of abstract principles, force a woman to carry to term a child with a severe birth defect? Who can ask that of another person? What kind of a burden would that be on the family? And what kind of life would the baby have, anyway? Would it not be better to deal with the problem before it became a problem? And, since nobody wants to be a hardhearted cad, this ground is conceded as well.

At this point the argument is effectively won. The focus has been shifted from the humanity and rights of the unborn child to other factors, and from there it is easy to move on to other hard cases (the unwed teen, the poor woman, etc.) But it all hinges on those two wedges to force the door. Those two hypothetical cases are the linchpins of the popular acceptance of abortion in our culture. Without them, people would have to grapple with the savage reality of abortion, but so long as they can be trotted out, the critics can be silenced. After all, who can blame a woman who discovers that her child is carrying a gene for a severe illness, or has a defective heart? There might be a quiet clucking of tongues, and a gentle shake of the head as the eyes are averted, but who are we to judge? And so, in the name of compassion, the "defective" child is almost automatically sentenced to death.

Until someone like Sarah Palin shows up to strip away the noble-sounding phrases and expose this argument for what it truly is: bullying and cowardice.

To begin with, she already has four children. Four! Isn't that already a little - er - over quota? She's a very successful career woman with a high profile, high stress job - and she turns up pregnant. To most die hard feminists, her life circumstances alone indicate an abortion should be considered, if not assumed. But then she learns that the child she carries is "defective"! You can almost hear the indignant sputtering. Surely this, this of all circumstances, would qualify for a Hard Case Scenario B exception. A no brainer, easy call - when would you like that appointment?

No, says Sarah Palin and her family. Even though it is difficult to accept, they refuse to make the appointment. They will not take the innocent one down the long stone street to the temple to leave him with the ravenous god who claims his blood. From the eldest to the youngest they accept him, love him, cherish him - and all before she stepped into the public spotlight.

And how the brutal god and his acolytes scream and gibber with rage! Not only is the god denied his blood feast, but by choosing life the Palin family gives the lie to the excuses, the platitudes, and the cliches by which "defective" children are usually condemned to death. The brilliant light of love shines into the darkness cast by this common excuse, and like roaches scuttling for the baseboards, the apologists of death must flee before the simple witness of a family who accepts and loves all its members, "defective" or not. The shallowness and selfishness of the second excuse is laid bare as a simple housewife and mother utters the very words of God: "when I look at my child, I see perfection."

That is her offering, and that of her family: love and acceptance, not cowardice and blood. No wonder the pro-aborts hate her! She shows them for what they really are, and denies their god his rightful sacrifice! How dare she?

Maybe she dares because she bows down before a different God.

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