Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 16, 2008
Inclusive society must have room for all
Barack Obama's clinching of the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States is an historic moment in the life of the world's most powerful nation. It is a sign that the ideals that lay at the foundation of the American republic are still alive, that the appeal to, in Abraham Lincoln's famous phrase, "the better angels of our nature" can bear fruit.
While one may take issue with Obama's policies or question his ability to fulfill the requirements of his nation's highest office, the fact that a black man will be put forward to contest the presidency of a nation where slavery was once a pillar of the economy should be a cause for rejoicing.
One also might have been willing to rejoice that a woman had become a presidential candidate in the event that Hillary Clinton had won the party's nomination.
But despite rejoicing over the ascendancy of a black politician and a female politician, one still must question the inconsistency of those who would extend rights to some and deny them to others.
Both Obama and Clinton are fierce defenders of the so-called right to abortion. While benefiting from a growing inclusiveness of blacks and women in the American political process, they would deny the basic right to life to the voiceless unborn. One would expect that those who come from groups that are on the margins of political life would be sensitive to those who are more marginalized than they ever were. Sadly, this is not the case.
Abortion is far from being the only life issue. Assisted suicide, reproductive technologies and contraception are some of the others. So are war, in particular the war in Iraq, the destruction of the environment and the widespread poverty that, among other things, retards the healthy development of the unborn and young children.
There ought to be political leaders who argue consistently for the protection of human life. Such leaders are hard to find. In all corners of the political debate, politicians typically pick and choose which lives to protect.
But abortion is the central life issue because it involves the deliberate, conscious taking of a human life. In the United States, more than a million preborn children are killed each year; in Canada, it is more than 100,000.
In March, Obama spoke to a town hall meeting about his two daughters, aged nine and six. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
This is a radically diminished understanding of a new human life - it is "punishment" for a "mistake."
Because of attitudes like this among Democrats, pro-lifers in the U.S. have overwhelmingly supported the Republicans. But with self-proclaimed pro-life presidents in the White House for 20 of the last 28 years, one has to ask, Where is the beef? Where are the victories for the unborn? Where is the decline in the abortion rate?
One would at least expect pro-lifers to be cynical about how politicians saddle up to them to win their votes at election time, but do little to turn the tide against abortion after the election. But apparently they remain happy with the Republicans.
In Canada, of course, the situation is worse. There is not even the tiniest restriction on abortion and no major political party will utter a peep in protest. The nature of our parliamentary democracy is such that while pro-life MPs may be elected, their leaders ensure that they are ineffective and their voices silenced.
One must laud Americans for the step they are now taking towards a more inclusive society. But all need to wonder at and protest against societies that, while becoming more open to some groups of people, continue to exclude the most marginalized of all - the preborn children.
- Glen Argan
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