Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Went to the Bridge Cafe for breakfast to watch the vice-presidential debate. As debates go, I thought they both did pretty well--no major mistakes on either side. It was interesting at first, but after awhile I found myself strangely distracted. My mind kept wandering from the debate such as it was, to the debate as it should have been. I couldn't concentrate on their answers to the questions being asked, because I was thinking about what their answers would have been to the questions that weren't being asked.

The biggest problem with the current election, is not how the candidates are answering questions--it is the subtle manner in which important questions have been sidelined so that they don't even get asked. There is no question that Sarah Palin was added to the Republican ticket because of her position on social issues like abortion that are important to conservative Republicans. But in the debate this morning, she wasn't asked anything about that issue, and when she was questioned about it in a previous interview, she went out of her way to emphasize her sympathy with those who disagree.

I am losing my enthusiasm for public figures who advertise their position on issues to their supporters, but back down from the fight when faced with those who oppose them. I hasten to add that I do not question Sarah Palin's sincere commitment to the right of the unborn to life. Her life speaks for itself. Still, it is deeply troubling to see a popular figure like Obama allowed to present himself as a compassionate leader, when he has consistently opposed any attempt to provide protection for children born alive during abortions in the State of Illinois. These precious little ones are left to die alone. He believes this practice should be allowed to continue.

In China, the debate is quite different. Here in China, the issue is forced abortion. So you could argue that in China, the pro-life people are pro-choice. They believe that a woman who wants to keep her baby should be allowed to do that. The issue of forced abortion plays out according to a tiredly consistent pattern. Whenever the issue comes up, the charge is denied by the government, and the whistle blower is arrested. In fairness, I should state that actual forced abortion/sterilization may not be happening as often as is sometimes reported; the larger problem in the countryside is the pressure on rural families who prefer to have several productive children, to self-limit their offspring to one or two. But the Western idea of a whole nation being forced to have small families against their will is certainly not accurate. Many professionals I talk to in the cities support their government's policy. Nevertheless, the pervasiveness of this policy would certainly give one reason to believe that abortion must be part of the process, even though it is rarely talked about.

But if there is need for moral leadership on this issue, where is it going to come from? Certainly not from America, where so many precious little lives are snuffed out every year in abortion clinics, and where innocent little babies born alive are allowed to die alone because politicians like Obama resist any attempt to protect them. It is at such a time as this that candidates who know the right should speak unapologetically for the right, and debate the issue vigorously, making it the center theme of the campaign, even if it means that they go down in defeat. Far better than winning is the knowledge that you have stood firmly against wrong and defended the poor and helpless without reserve.

"Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:9-10)"

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