So it’s Valentine’s Day. I guess that means I should talk about what I love.
Let’s see … my family and friends, cats, chocolate, word-nerd humor (yeah, that’s me wandering downtown with the tote bag with two crows and the caption “Attempted murder” on it), poking bears/trolls … aaaand, that’s enough of that. It could get way too schmaltzy too quickly, and I’m not enamored of schmaltz. Except at Christmas with all those sappy movies. (I can’t help it; I love It’s a Wonderful Life! And White Christmas. And … you get the point.)
Instead, today I feel like talking about things I’d love … to go away.
At the top of that list would be “nothingburger” and “fake news.” When they mean whatever you want them to mean (generally something unfavorable to you), you’ve annoyed a very large portion of those of us who live in reality. Sure, reality’s not that much fun sometimes, but it has the advantage of people agreeing on basic facts.
Besides, most of the nothingburgers I’ve heard people drone on about seem to have a lot of extra cheese (but lord, some of those rationalizations don’t even rise to the level of processed cheese food), and that’s not a nothingburger; it’s a grilled-cheese sandwich.
Next would be terms such as “full-term abortion.” There is no such thing; it’s a political term (as is “partial-birth abortion”), not a medical one. Full term is generally considered by doctors (you know, the people who actually practice medicine and know about this stuff) as 38 to 40 weeks, and what would happen then is called “delivery”; that “ripping out of the womb” thing at nine months that a certain someone spoke of is called a cesarean section, which is how about a third of U.S. women deliver each year. Abortion rates have steadily fallen in the U.S. over the past few decades, and of those that occur, 91.4 percent are in the first trimester, and 1.3 percent are at or after 21 weeks (and before 38 to 40 weeks), what is considered late-term, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Many of those who have abortions in the second trimester report that they do so because the states where they live have closed so many clinics that they have to travel out of state, and for many of them, that means waiting till they have enough money for the trip.
The decision to have an abortion is rarely taken lightly, and in the case of late-term abortions, it is almost always because of fatal fetal defects and/or serious threats to the life of the mother when the baby most likely won’t survive, and is devastating for all involved. Adding politics into the mix helps no one.
Whataboutism can kindly take a hike too. Yes, that other person may have done bad things, but it’s no excuse for someone else doing something similar. If it’s bad, it’s bad, period, and nobody should have done it. Whataboutism is not a valid legal defense and would probably get you laughed out of the courthouse.
I would loooooooove to bid adieu to incivility, especially that which has been heightened through hyperpartisanship. Honesty, respect, courtesy, personal responsibility and the like seem to have all but disappeared in some places, replaced with hostility, rudeness and bullying (no, you can’t claim the higher ground when someone insults you if you insulted them first).
If you take a view on anything, then you’re painted as the most extreme version of whatever party takes a similar view. I’m sure that my pointing out that “full-term abortion” doesn’t exist will mean I’ll be tagged by certain people on the newspaper’s online comment board as a raging alt-left liberal who wants abortion on demand up to the time of delivery. And yet I’m not and I don’t. I do believe that it’s a medical decision between a woman and her doctor, and the government shouldn’t have a say … more of a libertarian view.
And shhhhh … I also have conservative views … how dare I not stick with a party line, right? It’s like I think for myself or something.
While we’re at it, let’s stop being offended by every little thing. There are days I’m afraid to even smile or nod at someone I see in the street because, who knows, that person might be one of the easily offended who just can’t stand anyone to be happy. It’s exhausting. And sometimes you might have to do something in your work that clashes with your personal beliefs; everyone has to do that at some point, or they have to find an occupation that has no chance of that. For example, if you’re seriously anti-abortion/anti-birth control, why would you become a pharmacist or OB/GYN? And if the existence of people who don’t believe as you do and who might lead lifestyles you consider sinful gives you the willies, why would you choose to work somewhere where you’re surrounded by those people?
Sitting in the window waving goodbye to tired talking points would also make me very, very happy. I see the same ones repeatedly, and for some I can name that tune in three words. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a computer somewhere that transmits the day’s talking points to a chip in the heads of the worst offenders. Considering that so many of those talking points are misleading or just downright wrong, I have even more reason to dislike them. Again, Adolf Hitler was a National Socialist, which is not the same thing as a socialist; the illegal alien population has been steadily decreasing since 2007’s peak of 12.2 million, as have border apprehensions (since 2000), but those who overstay visas outnumber those who illegally cross the borders; and the president, whoever that is at a given time, has nothing to do with Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, which are automatic and tied to the Consumer Price Index. And while members of Congress do make more than the average person, no, they haven’t voted themselves a raise in nearly 10 years.
So please, stop repeating that stuff. If you think I’m cranky now … believe me, I can get muuuuch crankier.
As much as I’d love to see all of these things go away, I’d love even more for some things to return.
What if we all went back to discussing issues on their merits, using factual evidence to support our arguments, instead of just repeating what some party icon said, or flinging insults? How about if we got back to using respect, common courtesy and common sense in our interactions with each other? And would it really be so hard to take responsibility for our words and actions?
All of that would make for a much more civil existence, one in which I wouldn’t constantly wish for someone to invent the Slap-A-Matic™ automatic slapping machine. Stick in liberal (meaning in generous amounts, not left-leaning) usage of words like persnickety and discombobulated, and I think we’ll all be happy.
If you can’t smile at persnickety, there’s little hope for you.