Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mixed Bag of Tricks

Yesterday, several of my blogger friends were getting hit - and responding - to the "Moaning Meme." No, I'm not doing it - just that some of those posts and another one on a favorite blogger's space got me to thinking about some things. Mainly, politics.

Now, when I get thinking - I mean really THINKING, with respect to politics, what happens is that I tend to feel really confused -not just about the way our politicians operate, but how and why I feel the way I do about some issues. I get a bit convoluted not just in my writing but in my thought processes too.

So, let's look at some of my inner thoughts here then.

First, here's simple one -maybe - Gun Control. Ok, if you know me, you also know I worked for the NRA for several years back in the 60's, early 70's. When I went to work there, I had no clue as to many of the NRA's stance on things. Here I was, a youngster really (only 19 years old), a dyed-in-the-wool (or so I thought) Democrat, liberal to the max, relatively a feminist, pro-union person whose hero had been JFK and I had this theory then that gun control could have prevented his assassination. I did, while working there, change my views considerably about gun control. I didn't believe then, still don't either, that gun control is the total answer to a lot of society's ailments. Remember the adage, "Guns, don't kill people; People kill people?" Well, I do believe gun control won't change that element there.

But, think about this too - we register our cars don't we? If one believes guns kill people, then one has to also believe that cars kill people - right? Well, now we know that people driving cars, people using guns - are the culprits here. However, we use car registrations, driver's licenses as a means to track cars when they've been stolen, or driver's licenses at times, to track people too. What's wrong then with having gun registration as a means then to aid in tracking guns when they are stolen? I know - this is a probably a bit more simplistic the way I see things than the way things really may be, but that's my thought there. I have no problem with registration of cars, no problem in my mind for registering guns then either but boy, tell that to some people who are gun enthusiasts, etc.! But then, I have another problem too and that's with the types of guns some people like to have as well. I mean, really - how many oozi's does a person really need? Or machine guns? Are they an absolute necessity to living a great life? Ok, I'm not into collecting guns, so naturally I am going to feel that way. But I just think a lot of the gun issue could be toned down a bit from all sides in the matter too. And yes, I know there's more to it than just registration as some feel the government would then try to confiscate their guns if they knew who had this or that type and how many, etc. Do they have a valid point there? Perhaps, it's possible. I would sincerely hope our government wouldn't resort to actions like that.

The next three issues - well they aren't related but yet, depending on how you look at them, they are: Abortion, Death Penalty, Assisted suicide, The War. They all have death in common, don't they? But in different methods.

I am pro-choice. Now, I don't believe in abortion as a means of birth control - which some people do at times, use it in that manner. For myself, I am of an age where I no longer have to be concerned about birth control - for me. Had abortion been freely available to me when I was, it's highly unlikely I'd ever have chosen that route unless it was truly a major medical emergency. But, and here's the rub, I suppose, I also don't believe women should be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy either - if they believe they are unable to handle it or to cope with it. WHo am I to tell someone else what level of stress that person can handle? I don't know some days how much stress I can handle so how could I force my choices onto another person? I don't want to see women boxed into a situation where they are forced to choose backroom type abortions again, nor do I want to see people forced into trying to self-administer an abortion either as these can be sure-fire methods of self-destruction too. Each person should be able to make a choice, a reasonable, intelligent choice, made after being made aware of all options, of having been given other avenues that could help if she decides to have the child too. Then if she still believes abortion is the only answer, if she truly in her heart and mind feels she knows herself, her body, her mind well enough to be able to live with the decision, she should have the means to acquire one in a safe environment. It is a tricky element as it does mess with the mind - emotionally, spiritually - and good counseling is really a much needed element to this issue.

The death penalty - this is one that I think boy, someone who commits a really horrendous crime should get the death penalty for that. Well, at first I may think that. But then, after mulling things over, it gets really confusing when one looks at this from the Biblical perspective because you have things at odds right there. On one hand, we hear "An eye for an eye." and on the other, "Turn the other cheek." Ok, I've never been in a position as a victim of a crime or a relative of someone who was the victim or even really known anyone in that position, so maybe my thoughts would lean to the "eye for an eye" if that were a personal thing for me. But, really - does killing another person bring the victim back as a whole person again? And, if someone has committed a really atrocious crime, and they are executed, does it really bring peace of mind to friends and family - I mean, really and truly, a calmness, serenity, peaceful frame of mind? I really think when one is that adamant for the death penalty to be carried out, the rage there is so severe that the so-called desired peace will be a momentary thing and the rage will take over again. But really confuses me even more with the abortion and death penalty advocates is that on one hand, they are adamant about abortion is "killing a child" but yet, they don't seem to realize that the death penalty also kills someone's child too - just in the adult form. I can't quite follow the incongruity there but then, some would say my ideas about abortion and death penalty are just as convoluted too - and perhaps they are. I dunno.

Assisted suicide - yes, I know there are those who feel Dr. Kevorkian should have been jailed and the key thrown away in a deep swamp or the ocean or whatever and he should never go free. However, when someone is stricken with an illness for which there is NO cure, a really crippling illness that affects body, mind, etc., and creates unimaginable pain to the person, if that person has reached a decision they no longer want to deal, no longer want to fight an impossible battle, do not want to die a very undignified death, should we, as a society really force them to continue to live and suffer? For myself, if I had health concerns like that and really felt I couldn't keep going, couldn't keep on dealing with those problems, I would very much appreciate knowing there were doctors who were able and willing to make my exit come about in a more peaceful type of setting. I would not want to be kept alive on a machine. I wouldn't want to be kept around either if my mind and body were not functioning "together" - as a whole entity.

And then, there's the topic of War - or, as it affects us in this country today - "The War." Why are we even involved in trying to force our way of life on other nations? If they have a dictatorship and don't want it, and enough people join forces to over throw that government, then do it. If they ask for our help, and we agree to "help" - not fight their battles for them, not become an unwanted presence there, that is one thing. But, just because we here may feel we have the best form of government - a democracy, etc - perhaps other groups do not agree and if we truly believe in our tenets - freedom of choice - then apply that theory to other countries too and give them the freedom to choose as well.

And, what is war anyway but ultimately a legitimate means of killing! (Well, depending I suppose on whether you think a war is "legitimate" to begin with.")

I really resent people too who say if I don't support our government in the War in Iraq, I am being unsupportive then, unpatriotic towards our troops. Excuse me? I fail to see where because I don't believe our government has the right to go tromping in and attacking others is a good thing but, when people who are a part of our military are sent there, who feel they must go for a personal reason or because the government has said they must, I pray for their comfort, safety, that they return home soon, intact. I don't believe they should be there in the first place but - if they are in harm's way, then see to it they have their needs provided for there and also, when they return home too . One would think that those who believe so fully in this war as being a necessity, would turn to history and read about how well things worked out in Vietnam too - or Korea, for that matter. Have those lessons all been totally lost, forgotten in the mix? Sometimes, it does appear that way - at least to me.

Now, I know that my ideas, theories, etc., solve nothing. I'm still just as confused - and confusing too - as I was before. What a conundrum though isn't it?

Yep - truly is a "mixed bag" in my book -and some tricky stuff going on there too.


lattégirl said...

Know what? Since I am just back into surfing mode, I am going to have to retread and read this attentively... not just skim like I kinda hoped to, with a quickie comment... how lazy, eh?! So for now I will just say HI! I'M BACK! (you knew that) and BACK SOON! WITH MANY INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS for your edification! (Enough with the caps, already, I know.)

lattégirl said...

See, there are too many pros and cons to everything, and you manage to bring them all up.

It's easier to side with or argue against someone who has a strictly black&white stance.

I am for and against gun control, for and against religion, and same way on the death penalty, law and order -- good cop bad cop (good movie, that, please watch it to get a real feel for Canada's duality)-- and all the things you talk about which I feel I SHOULD feel strongly about one way or another, but can't. Does that make us wishy-washy or just human and uncertain?

I prefer the latter. I thank you for making me actually THINK about these things. (Not very deeply, but just a bit more than usual, enough to type this drivel.)

Vic Grace said...

I am not for gun control because I don't think it solves anything. Criminals are not registering their guns and they still seem easy to get if you want one.
I am for Christianity I will respect anyones opinion about their religion or lack of it.
I think we should bring the death penalty back, but we must be absolutely sure before we do it.

I have fairly firm opinions on things but I hope mercy is higher on my agenda than judgement

TomCat said...

Jeni, that wasn't me, was it? ;-)

On gun control, radical leftist that I am, I oppose it for the most part. However, I believe in registration, and controlling certain types of weapons like you do. I think the people who think the government will confiscate registered guns are missing the point. If the government decides to confiscate guns, there is little we could do to stop it registration or not.

On the subject of abortion, I believe it is wrong. But this is not a black or white world, and sometimes all the choices left to a person have something wrong with them. At times, abortion may be the least wrong choice. Nevertheless, what business do I have imposing my beliefs on others? The decision must be each woman's to make.

On capital punishment, civilized nations no longer practice it. I have a hard time swallowing the hypocrisy of those who declare themselves pro-life, but clamor for the state-sponsored murder of another human being.

Assisted suicide - we have it here in Oregon. While I understand the need to end suffering in hopeless terminal cases, I could tell you more than one horror story about how the system has been abused by browbeating seniors into it for the benefit of greedy relatives and insurance companies.

War is terrorism with bigger bombs. The best way to support our troops is to make Bush stop using them as cannon fodder in his war for oil and conquest.

Does that help? ;-)

PS - I posted the joke you sent me. :-)

Linda said...

These are some very deep and very confrontational subjects you have chosen to tackle head-on. Now why am I not surprised?! I like the fact, Jeni that you - like my best friend Miz Cyn - will run at trains sometimes. It shows courage and strength of self that so many seem to lack sometimes.

As for gun control, I have to agree that the criminal element would not be adhering to it regardless. Sadly, if there is a way to get around something then someone will find it and abuse it and there's not much to be done about it. You are right, though, that guns don't kill - people do. There are some folks who have gotten very creative in their killing methods that have nothing to do with guns and even though run-by-stabbings might be harder to pull off than a drive-by-shooting I'm sure that gangs would revert to that if guns were not available.

Abortions? I support a woman's right to choose. I shouldn't try to enforce my beliefs on life and death on someone anymore then I should try to force my beliefs of God and religion on someone. Like anything illegal, if people want it bad enough they will go and get it and abortion is better regulated and done in a clean and sterile environment rather than in some sleazy back office with a coat hanger.

The death penalty? If the crime is heinous enough then yes, I believe in it. If you have the temerity to take someone else's life in a cold-blooded and calculated way then you should pay the price for that action. I think it should only be used in extreme cases, crimes of such a horrible nature that no one can comprehend them, and we need to be more than certain that the accused is guilty. I just don't believe in criminals languishing in comfort with a/c, three squares, TV, and the Internet on my tax dollars. Bring back the chain gangs and hard labor and maybe I'll rethink my position on this - maybe.

Assisted suicide - I work in a medical-related profession and I know that the quality of life that some people have is non-existent. They suffer, they spend their days going from one endless appointment or treatment to another, they have nothing to look forward to day after day except maybe death. If a person is of a sound mind and body and can specifically make their wishes known - not coerced by some greedy relative - then I think that they should be able to make a choice to die with dignity. My father always said that he would shoot himself before he went into a nursing home and having had the opportunity to now see what nursing homes are like up close and personal I've got to say that I don't blame him. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that he died in the hospital as he would have been completely and totally miserable at a SNF. Sometimes we have to put our own wants and desires aside and think about the wants and desires of the person who is suffering.

As for the War - what a mess. Just what a mess. I can understand a war against terrorism but is that what we're doing in Iraq? Somehow I don't think so but here's a controversial subject that I prefer to sidestep because I don't have a good enough opinion formed on this at all.

As a Veteran myself and the daughter of a Veteran I do support our troops and that's not just lip-service but I would rather that no mother or father ever saw their child shipped off to War.

Thanks for giving me some food for thought and for approaching some very tough subjects. You are a brave woman whom I admire greatly!