By Stew Alpert
Back in the ‘60s, we were all about life. We talked endlessly about the life force, and our drugs were life drugs as opposed to the death-downer drugs consumed by our parents.
Now in 2005, the Christian, crazy, right wing says it stands for a culture of life and that secular liberals are pro-death. I’ve seen a couple of obnoxious die-ins at peace marches, but besides that, what are the crazies talking about?
When the right-wingers proclaim they are pro-life, they usually mean that they worship fetuses and oppose aborting them, even if the life of the mother may be at stake, if the poor woman was raped, if she just can’t afford to have a kid or if she might go nuts if she had one. They figure a woman’s body is Christian state property, and who cares what she thinks, because “life” comes first.
Of late, the right-wing version of “life culture” is being pushed via the issue of human beings who through some misfortune live on in a vegetative state. You can’t mercifully pull the plug even if the best scientific evidence indicates that the poor person can’t improve. What do scientists know anyway? They think Terri Schiavo and Jesus are descended from monkeys.
These same folks cheered George Bush when, as governor of Texas, he sent living, thinking human beings to the execution chamber with as much relish and about as easily as he ate hamburgers. These same “life” supporters also rooted for Dubya when he opted for shock, awe and torture in Iraq.
But what of the progressives and their festival of life? The liberals have folded their tents and let their worst enemies have their best word. I’m sorry, liberals, but the word “life” carries a lot more magic than “choice”does.
When I think of choice, I think of consumers looking at menus. When I think of life, I think of energy, reflection, love, growth, development, compassion and community. Choice takes me to a shopping mall. Finding a bargain or two is fun, but it doesn’t measure up to reflection and love.
What we of the original and most honest pro-life movement should be saying is: We are taking back the life force. You guys are hypocrites who forget about the care and welfare of human beings once they are born and can think, feel and ask questions about the meaning of life. You lose interest in them, because they are no longer “pure” and “innocent.” But let one of them experience a major trauma to their brain and lose any capacity to think and act-ah, then the “purity” returns and those who want to end their misery become anti-life, crucifying, mean-spirited, absolutely evil Nazis. You guys must hate the fact that human beings have free will; that’s why you don’t care about executions, people living on the streets, napalmed cities and back-alley abortions. People with free will might commit sins, so let them live in hell.
Let we progressives, liberals, humanists and reasonable thinkers reclaim the banner of life culture by saying, “We are about stopping wars, providing health care, protecting social security, letting women decide about what should happen in and to their own bodies, saving the environment, making sure everyone gets three square and nutritionally worthy meals a day and gets to think and speak for themselves and to let people know that maybe they wouldn’t want to live on as a brainless vegetable. Let’s reclaim life by making sure every homeless person is offered a home that isn’t a prison.”
It’s time to take on the hypocrites and their deadly message about how real human beings are worthless sinners who deserve prison, punishment and poverty. That’s what the crazies stand for, and it has absolutely nothing to do with life.
Stew Albert runs the Yippie Reading Room. His memoir, Who the Hell is Stew Albert?, is just out from Red Hen Press. He can be reached at: email@example.com