In the run-up to the election, I’m going to have a few guest writers come on here and help stir up critical thinking, vituperative rants and hopefully some really bad puns. And in doing so, there will be some folks on here with whom I’ve had tremendous differences of opinion, but it’s still great (to me, anyway) to see them writing without the constraints of the comments section.
If you have a particular topic in mind, please gimme a holler, wontchya?
The person who proffered the idea was the legendary “Dean From Bub’s and Troll’s”, who will be the first guest writer to put himself out there, and will take any and all questions you have for him about the conservative side of the aisle. And so here we go:
Dear beloved xtcian’ers:
As many of you know, I am one of the conservative lurkers on this blog. But, my allegiance to Ian pre-dates ideology and stems more from my days in the Pit, Polk Place, the Dean Dome, Kenan Stadium, He’s Not Here, etc. Hell, believe it or not, I dated a girl in 1992 who told me that her older sister was dating that guy Ian Williams from Wednesday’s Child. If true, I hope Ian’s relationship with the older sister ended better than mine with the younger sister. [Ian – if you’re curious, send me an email.].
Recently, Ian has been on a roll with “Hate Republicans Week.” After one of the particularly hateful days of comments, I sent him an email regarding how he and I are polar opposites politically, but I am sure he and I could enjoy a Chicken, Egg & Cheese together at Time-Out without fisticuffs. [In my vision, we’re sharing a meal there circa 1990 – Billy’s glory years]. I am willing to hazard a guess that everyone that reads or comments on xtcian.com is above-average intelligence. If so, why is the dialogue so hateful?
There are things that spew from the mouths of many commenters that would never be said to the other readers’ faces. Did our parents truly fail us? Are we not able to discuss public policy issues without name-calling and hate? My mother taught me that the only people that use profanity and name-calling are the ones that are not smart enough to properly express themselves. Granted, when you see me play tennis, you’ll notice that I did not entirely buy her notion.
I digress. I insisted to Ian in my email that it is possible to have a civil discussion. I also insisted that it is possible for one side of the aisle to state their position in a rational manner such that the opposing folks, if intellectually honest, will admit that they understand my position, but courteously disagree with it. Both candidates are campaigning that they want to change Washington and work towards consensus, but the ONLY topic that can be happily discussed among us xtcian’ers is that dook sucks. You can always count on a good ol’-fashioned “dook sucks” to restore order to the Force.
After a few emails back and forth, Ian invited me to dive head first into the arena of ideas, to pick a spicy topic, to explain my conservative position, and to invite everyone to put their cup of vitriol down for the day so we can lower our collective blood pressure. So, if I am putting myself out there for hate-mongering, I figured I should start at the top . . . ABORTION. I do not pretend to believe that my position on abortion represents the formal plank of the GOP. I only hope to shed some light on a possible conservative alternative.
I do not know when life begins. Hell, I am not even sure when life stops. I do not know when a fetus is viable. There are days when I am not viable, but my wife swears it happens to every guy. These are issues that I do not think that mere mortals can ever reach consensus. As such, am I pro-life? Maybe. Am I pro-choice? Maybe. I am a liger – half tiger and half lion – hear me roar.
My opposition to Roe v. Wade largely stems from the principles of federalism and judicial activism. Unfortunately, “judicial activism” has become a code word for any Judge that does not agree with you. Judicial activism is actually a term meant to describe an appellate Court that makes law, instead of assessing law. An appellate Court’s job is to decide whether the government acted constitutionally and their opinions can typically be summarized in 1 word. Their job is NOT to say yes or no, and then re-write the law to fit their standards. That is the job of the (typically) legislative branch. And it is certainly not the judicial branch’s job to unilaterally create an entirely new paradigm.
At my esteemed Wake Forest School of Law (’95), I learned that there are many egregious examples of judicial activism from both ends of the political spectrum. One startling example was the famous Miranda case. All of us have watched enough TV to know the Miranda warnings by heart: “You have the right to remain silent . . .” In the Miranda case, the Court was asked whether the incredibly extensive interrogation conducted by the cops was too intrusive and whether the evidence gained by said interrogation should be struck.
The underlying facts of the case were not disputed and the Court’s issue was largely a yes or no issue. The case was fact-specific. Nonetheless, the Court took it upon itself to huddle in some darkened room and draft a set of word-by-word warnings that every law enforcement officer in the entire country must start using when apprehending any defendant. Although it is likely a good idea for such Miranda warnings to exist, the way the warnings came about was an example of a Court overstepping the case that was actually before it.
Back to abortion. I would like Roe to be overturned on similar principles. Without getting into a contentious recitation of the underlying facts, the main legal issue before the Court was whether Texas’ laws regarding abortion were unfair to Jane Roe. The Court took it upon itself to create an entirely new paradigm that involved viability, late-term, short-term, blahblahblah. If a person is vehemently pro-choice, Roe may be a beloved outcome, but it was not a good day intellectually for the Court.
I know that these two examples may not be the best examples because the outcomes were not inherently distasteful. But, imagine the following: the next time an affirmative action goes to the Supreme Court, the Court not only strikes the race-based portion of all college applications, but states that any minority admitted into any university with less than the university’s average SAT must enroll in remedial English and Math. Such a decision would be ludicrous. So, do not get bogged down in whether Miranda and Roe were agreeable. Blatant judicial activism is dangerous to both sides of the political spectrum.
Back to abortion. If Roe were overturned, abortion does not become instantaneously illegal. The issue would then descend to each individual state for the respective state to decide. There are certainly states that would place more restrictions on abortion than some other states, but I doubt there are any states that would absolutely ban all abortions or any states that would permit it without any restrictions whatsoever. Viva la difference!
Yes, I know that some folks might find it unseemly to have different laws in different states throughout the country. Such a system is called . . . federalism! There are innumerable issues that have been resolved via federalism: voting eligibility, illegal immigrants’ access to public universities, driving licenses, Workers’ Comp, and on and on. These are all important issues and, for the most part, federalism works. Is it a perfect system? Nope. Is the current system broken? Yep.
The current landscape is never going to improve via absolutists. The spirit of compromise and intellectual honesty must prevail for the sake of the country. With that in mind, I hope the bomb-throwers from both sides will bite their forked tongues, take a breath, and read my position again before dispensing the usual knee-jerk dose of vitriol. If you have any nice questions regarding my position that you’d like me to address, post them as a comment and I’ll try to reply. Because, in the words of John Lennon, all that I am sayin’ is to give [it] a chance.