Abortion Debate? Let’s cut it out…

The terribly insensitive title was a bit attention seeking I’ll admit, but it speaks to this notion that abortion is still a divisive issue for so many people and it’s frustrating amid a spectrum of social problems that require much of the activism and discourse that is wasted on what I feel to be a open and closed issue. Let’s simply and quickly breakdown the debate from the three most popular perspectives and I’ll add one caveat at the end.

Not a solution to unsafe sex-This idea that men and women actually consider the relative “ease” of “taking care of” the potential result of their subsequent sexual encounter before they engage in intercourse is quite hilarious. No one reaches the critical moment of decision and is comforted by the possibility that an abortion will solve the dilemma that having sex might bring about. So, why do we punish young women by arguing, “Hey you should have thought of this before. You don’t get an easy way out.” Well, we are past that point if she is already pregnant and we know that outlawing abortion would not act as a deterrent so therefore, that argument of “It shouldn’t be an option to erase a mistake” is unfounded because it’s not viewed as an option before the mistake is made, it’s viewed as a choice (a very difficult one) for someone who is already pregnant. Abortion is not an easy way out, it’s not a time machine that transports someone back to before their moment of conception, nor is it murder.

Religious Argument (God’s plan)-If it is murder, so is masturbation, sodomy, oral sex, homosexuality, wet dreams, protected sex, birth control…All of the potential sperm involved in those instances are being preemptively restricted from “babymaking” it’s just cutting out the middle man. ┬áThe idea that God treats conception differently because it’s “meant to be” and therefore that fetus is immediately a person means that every person who uses in vitro fertilization, a surrogate, or adopts a child is defying God’s plan because if he wanted them to have kids then he wouldn’t have forced them to be in their childless predicaments in the first place. I mean Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph didn’t have sex (or so they told the town) and they had the son of God so he can make that stuff happen if he wants it to right? That fetus is a result of sperm fertilizing an egg, not some divine intervention.

Roe v Wade reversal-This is a popular harping point for a lot of right wingers. It’s funny, if you actually study politics you’d realize that the reversal of Roe v Wade would be incredibly detrimental to the conservative base. As it stands now, it is a rallying cry that segues into family values, religious traditionalism, and us v them galvanization that resulted from the Culture Wars of the 1970’s and 1980’s which catapulted Reagan into the Presidency. The idea being, find what people perceive to be integral to their lifestyle among a certain homogeneous base (the South in this case) and latch on to an event or decision (Roe v Wade) that exemplifies the heavy hand of the government telling that base that their way of life was inferior or that the government knew better. The republicans rode the coattails of the Culture Wars to win three consecutive elections from 1980-1992 and their next two term representative in the Oval Office was George W. Bush who ran a campaign based on? You guessed it, family values and liberty with an emphasis on religious freedom. Any republican who wishes to reverse Roe v. Wade is suggesting opposition to the true party line which benefits greatly from using that decision and this issue to further their propagandized mission to convince “the real America” that their religious and family values are antithetical to the aims of a left winged Federal government. Sorry, but it’s all bullshit.

Furthermore, the idea that Roe v Wade is recycled as a point of contention to rally the conservative troops around the “core” issues explains why people have such a visceral reaction. It’s programmed. Pro life is just a response born out of fear and fear-mongering in this case. It is a convenient argumentative position that directly opposes the pro-choice (which actually speaks more towards liberty and freedom despite the party connotations) movement while giving religious backing in order to degrade and judge women who choose to do what’s best for their bodies and their lives. I contend that we shouldn’t care as much as we do and I’ve outlined the reasons why so many think they should but few actually sit down and think about it. If you would, you’d be like me and you’d just want everyone to cut it out. Simply put, I do not feel I deserve the power to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their body. I have no right nor do I have a place. God has nothing to do with this and legally there could be few more restrictive laws than one that would outlaw abortion (which will never happen). So, can we just give up and focus on things that matter? People protest, they drive vans with obscene images of dead fetuses, they hound young women who enter abortion clinics and tell them that they are scum. For what? Where is your right? And don’t say, what about the baby’s right to life? Well, again, life is a result of a sperm and an egg so unless you advocate that every sperm is sacred you have no basis there. Let’s cut it out, protect our rights, and fix real social problems.

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Michael Sam: The First Gay Gladiator

Welcome to a seminar on sexual orientation and the workplace…Let’s begin. I’ll spare you the agonizing b.s., but what if your workplace is a football field? Better yet, what if much of your workplace activity revolves around following and debating things that happen on a football field? Well then, chances are you know the name Michael Sam by today.

The Missouri graduate is eligible for the NFL draft this May and he is gay. Players are and have been gay while earning NFL paychecks but they never have entered or at any point in their career been open about their sexuality until now prospectively. The media seized the opportunity, and rightly so, to publicize this heroic announcement for Sam. The question quickly arose: How will this affect his draft stock? Unfortunately, that’s a valid question due to the culture of the sport in question but also the fanaticism attached to that culture.

The NFL is a physical game, a sport that glorifies toughness, strength, even anger. It is a sport of intimidation. Some might accurately call those primal characteristics, while others are fans of the sport because of this gladiator worship. But, this news story framed against the backdrop of the NFL’s image of brutality brings about a meaningful discussion of abhorrent stereotypes associated with homosexuality. Let’s examine a few

Gay men are weak: Michael Sam lead this SEC in sacks this past season at a position that demands physical strength.

Gay men are a locker room distraction: Why? Because once everyone hits the showers they are just going to rape the enitre locker room? This idea is homophobic, born out of fear by heterosexuals. Being homosexual is not equivalent to being a sexual predator. Get over yourselves straight men. What makes you think you’d even attract gay men?

Why does a gay athlete have to be open about his or her sexuality? This comes from a starting point of bigotry. The only reason this is news is because we are such an intolerant people and worship traditionalism even in the realm of sports which is such an asinine ideal that sports deserve some sort of sanctity. Michael Sam didn’t have to come out before he becomes an NFL player, but he felt it was important that he did so that there could be a shift in the NFL status quo which I find admirable.

Now, more importantly, consider the reverse of some of these stereotypes. Why is it assumed that masculine male athletes in the NFL are heterosexual? I think this is important because there is an association that develops. Masculinity=glorifying the gladiator mentality which is celebrated therefore gay men are excluded yet that assumes that we are to take gender cues and subsequently sexuality clues from this primitive idea of the male athlete (hero). This is a huge issue because we want our boys to play sports and compete and emulate their pro athlete role models but why must that encouragement be reinforced with the idea that this is the only way to be a man? Michael Sam is a gay football player. There are straight ballet dancers too but yet our associations tell us that those caricatures are to be gawked at. This comes from an unexplored place in our culture that has everything to do with gender when it doesn’t have to. Our love affair with the NFL has adverse affects when it comes to ideas about how the next generation of men should behave. This is extremely problematic and ignorant. You are not more or less of a man if you tackle other men, or if you have a “mean streak”, or if you play the piano, or tap dance. This big news about Michael Sam is big news because of our tendency to compartmentalize and stereotype but we often do not consider that this mistake permeates to subsequent generations who will do the same unless we teach them tolerance and openness when it pertains to gender and sexuality. The NFL is so mindless, the gladiator mentality so pointless and impractical, so why should we allow it to be so prominent in what we think a masculine man should be? Why do we strive to emulate that archetype? There were Michael Sams before and there will be more gay athletes and the way Michael Sam is accepted or rejected will have a lot to do with how comfortable those athletes are in sharing their true identities with the unforgiving sports world. We all should reflect on why it has taken this long and prioritize what is truly valuable if anything about the NFL while realizing that it’s reach extends further than we acknowledge it does.