Under African Skies…Understanding

Marrakech, Morocco

15-April-2019

We’ve been in the country of Morocco since April 9th and not for one single moment have I felt the slightest bit concerned. Contrary to the fundamentally flawed jingoist ignorance of many Americans, Muslims are not jihadist crazed zealots seeking the destruction of America.

As with most things, ignorance ignores truth.There is no such thing as one Islam. There are Sunni and Shia with major doctrinal differences always left aside when right wing zealots, led by an equally uninformed President, call for barring Muslims from the US or requiring them to be registered.

(From a BBC special on the historical split between the two sects)

Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. But they differ in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organization.

Their leaders also often seem to be in competition. From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, many recent conflicts have emphasized the sectarian divide, tearing communities apart.” (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-16047709)

Most Muslims, like most people, seek nothing more than to enjoy life, raise their families, and live in a free and open world. I think we have more to fear from nationalist fervor than anything rising from the few terrorists who twist Islam for their own selish purpose, or any other misguided religion driven groups.

What is also true is the West bears some responsibility for creating an environment where radicalism rises. (A stage set by our British friends with their random drawing of borders with little regard for the history of the Middle East and Africa.) Our long history of overt support for totalitarian regimes (particularly in the fervor of post WWII anti-communism) and covert action when the government showed the slightest resistance to our policies contributed significantly to anti-American attitude which the terrorist turned to their advantage.

The best way to learn the truth is to seek it. And traveling to a country like Morocco can be a great opportunity. The best part, it works in two directions. We offer a kinder, gentler face of America, countering the rabid ignorance of the Tweeting President.

Our experience here has been nothing but incredible.

These are the faces of Morocco.

The last face is a Moroccan man who walked over to speak with me when we stopped for a break before heading into the desert. Like many Moroccans, he spoke Arabic and French with just a few words of English.

I, on the other hand, had a piece of paper with some English/Arabic and some vague memory of Bonjour and little else.

But by the simple gesture of a smile and a nod, we got our point across. Two men, raised under entirely different cultural backgrounds, could stand under an African sky and convey, without the benefit of words, Hello. How are you? Glad we could meet.

And that is what I see when I’ve encountered a Muslim.

Let’s hope the future is one embracing understanding rather than driving us back to the folly of the Crusades.

Inshalah. Salam

Something Right for all the Wrong Reasons

Let me preface this piece with a couple of caveats.

  1. I think Donald Trump will go down in history as the worst President ever
  2. I find Trump to be boorish, a bully, a liar, and an inarticulate, uninformed charlatan
  3. I hope with all that I know is right with America that the voters say to him in 2020, “Mr. Trump, You’re Fired!”
  4. I have not lost my mind.

With that said, let me get to the point.

In threatening to close the southern border, Mr. Trump is correct. A crisis often calls for drastic action. A crisis not of just illegal border crossings, but severe economic and humanitarian issues in Central America.

We face a humanitarian crisis of significant, if not historic, proportions. The crisis is directed and condoned by the corrupt and greedy governments of Central America, i.e., El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala. Assisted by the government of Mexico by facilitating the passage of these desperate caravans across their territory.

There is no right answer here. It is not the risk of terrorists we need fear. Not the overblown, exaggerated, culture of fear of crimes perpetrated by immigrants propagated by Trump and his zealot supporters. That is as sinister a false flag as anything coming out of this administration, which is saying much.

But by leaving the borders open, we are luring the desperate with false hopes. This administration has little concern for humanitarian issues. This administration ignored its own citizens in Puerto Rico, what hope do immigrants, illegal or otherwise, have here?

In cutting foreign aid to these countries, Mr. Trump is adding fuel to the very fire he wishes to extinguish. Countries give foreign assistance because it is in their best interest to do so. While some see it as sharing our wealth and spreading goodwill if foreign aid worked against our interests we would not offer it.

Close the border, Mr. Trump. See just what the economic implications to the southern states turn out to be.

Stop foreign aid, Mr. Trump, and see what effect it has on the stability and economies of those countries.

Use your self- aggrandized deal-making skills to convince Mexico and others it is in their best interest to protect our best interest.

The nightmare you have created by focusing on a wall that will take years to build, have a questionable effect, and cost billions of dollars is a sideshow to real statesmanship and your obligation to serve America’s best interest.

Close the border, Mr. Trump. Even you cannot make this worse.

Take the money you save by withholding foreign aid and use it to improve the immigration and border control system. Use it to regain the advantage that has always made America Great, the benefit of immigration and immigrants significant contribution to this nation.

Do that, and you can go back to playing golf while the nation burns.

Tears Flow From the Land of Lady Liberty

The America we all Loved

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Emma Lazarus, 1883

The America We Have Become

Keep your tired, your poor,

Your caravan masses, yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Keep these, the homeless, tempest tossed, they are no longer welcome.

I hide my lamp, close the golden door, and hang my head in shame…

America, 2019

Making America Great Again has cost us our soul.

(Here’s the original in all it’s glory)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Derin Devlet is Coming for You

Beware. I have warned you. Derin Devlet is coming for you. Derin will steal your rights, your freedom, and perhaps even your life. Derin can manipulate the news, drive the economy up or down, start wars, alter history, and control the media.

They have warned us and yet Derin is still there; lurking, immortal, invisible yet affecting our everyday lives, all to Derin’s whim with little regard to anything else except maintaining the power and the continuity of Derin Devlet.

You may know Derin by another name. Throughout the long history of the world, Derin has borne many names. Derin Devlet is his Turkish name, translated literally to Deep State.

While many Americans believe the “Deep State” to be monolithic, if a secretive, behind-the-doors group of well-organized individuals holding vast power and controlling the government, the reality is different.

Some would argue it’s the Civil Service, career bureaucrats engaged in what some see as subverting elected officials’ policies. Others see it as preserving the law. The deep state exists in various manifestations.

The first use of the term seems to be in 1817, John Fitzgerald Pennie’s “The Varangian, or Masonic Honor,” offered this dialogue of two servants working a large banquet hall filled with contriving earls and knights.

Second servant: “Oh, could I but pry into these deep state secrets! I would give my very head to — Third servant: “Thus mayst, for aught ’tis worth.… Would I could pry into a venison pasty…. I will see what cheer the buttery yields.”

Second servant: “Then art thou come in right good time: there’s glorious feasting here. But thou, dull fellow, hast no great regard for plots and state affairs.”

Third servant: “No; but I have for the sad state of my deserted bowels.” (https://www.thenation.com/article/what-is-the-deep-state/)

Here’s the way Mr. Trump seems to see the Deep State.

If an allegation against, let’s say Billary Hinton, is unprovable, then the Deep State protected him, or her, or this fictitious person who bears no resemblance to any person living or dead or soon to be living or dead or otherwise real.

If an allegation is proven against, let’s say, Dichael Bohen, or Dichael Slynn, or the other 35 individuals indicted (so far) by someone with a name like Mobert Bueller, (again all fictitious individuals I mean 37 people indicted in one organization in government and not part of Organized Crime? Come on!) the Deep State conspired to make it happen.

One might make an argument the deep state exists, in an existential sense, by looking at the effect it has on public perception with little firm evidence of its reality. The Deep State lives in the minds of many, and thus it exists.

I offer here a proof of this Deep State and the power it wields. John McCain did not die. He was promoted to Director of Deep State from Beyond, and his one job is to torment Donald Trump.  You have only to read the maniacal ravings of Mr. Trump and see McCain’s evil hand forcing the President to hit Tweet, Tweet, Tweet all night long.

Derin Devlet is coming for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Excerpt: UnMade Honor Loyalty Redemption

In the 1970s, Olneyville was a desolate neighborhood of rundown, multiple family homes and small manufacturing shops, which sat in a valley across an overpass that ran above the Route Ten connector to I-95.

It was a short walk from the Italian, Federal Hill section of Providence. No emblems on street signs showing demarcation points, nothing separated one neighborhood from the other, yet it needed none. The intersection of Atwells and Harris Avenue was the boundary. Along Atwells, up on the Hill, sat cafes, restaurants, salumerias, social clubs, laundromats, pastry and veal shops, live poultry markets. All part of the fiefdom, the unofficial headquarters of one of the most feared of all Mafia Don’s, Raymond L. S. Patriarca.

When gang-banging, street criminals thought about edging out of their Olneyville neighborhood, and moving toward the Hill, the thought was a fleeting one. Patriarca deplored all street crime, unless, of course, he ordered it. Bad for business, it brought unwanted attention from the police. Olneyville gangsters stayed in Olneyville; it was safer.

One day, a blond-headed, blue-eyed scary guy, who scared very scary guys, crossed that bridge. Back then, Bobby Walason understood it would be suicidal to challenge the supreme power, it was far more sensible to join it.
This story casts a light onto the ebb and flow of a dark side of American society, a look at the forces that play havoc with lives that go adrift on the streets of all our cities.

As a child, Bobby held out against cruelty no boy should ever endure. Thrown from his own house at the age of twelve, he lived in a cardboard box and survived. Though the word survived is a stretch.

As an adolescent, there were turnstiles of reform schools, escapes, and then, even though he was underage, the adult correctional institution, known as the ACI. A prison for adult criminals where he was misdiagnosed, beaten by guards, and fought extraordinary battles holding his own against overwhelming numbers. Finally, they wrapped him in canvas and chains and shot him full of Thorazine—a drug he was allergic to.

As a young adult, there was little thought of a future, he lived hour to hour. Adrift in a world where no one would notice if he lived or died, he found a harbor of refuge in an even darker place.

A career path tailor-made for Bobby Walason as custom fitting as the expensive clothes he would soon come to wear. He became an enforcer in a Mafia crew. A manic-depressive Bipolar Type I enforcer for the mob.

A very scary guy who scared very scary guys.

Pre-order today Click Here

Another Day

(A re-posting of a favorite of mine. We are once again enjoying some time in Aruba. While the weather at home is improving, it has a ways to go to match the Caribbean breezes and warm ocean waves.

We are once again staying right near the Cormorant Tree (not it’s name, but it seems so with the crowd of birds.)  Since I last wrote about them in 2015, some of those birds have passed on, others remain, and new ones have come to be.

The comforting rhythm of nature continues.)

My wife and I are spending some time in Aruba, escaping the single digit temperatures, snow, and ice of New England.

On our first day here, we went to the store and bought hotdogs.
Yes, hotdogs.
We have been craving a nice, well-done, burned skin hotdog on the grill for weeks. Talking about it as we watched the snow fall and wind chill dip lower and lower.

There is nothing that says warm summer evening like a well-burned hotdog. The crinkled skin nestled in the crispy onions, bathed in relish and mustard, embraced by a soft roll.

Nirvana.

As the sun set, I cooked the hotdogs and sipped a beer. I watched as a tree in the middle of a lagoon fill with Cormorants, those birds that swim underwater in their daily search for food.

Against the waning sun, purple red, orange yellow skies, watching them circle and land on the branches caught my eye. Like most of these type birds, the bodies appear heavier than they are, the seemingly fragile, thin branches easily supporting their deceptively light weight.

I’ve watched this phenomenon a couple of times now. (Once we had our hotdog fix, we moved on to Italian sausages!)

The daily gathering of the birds repeats each evening.

As each new wave of birds return, they join in a chorus of noises that sounds like a combination beer burp and growl.

At first I thought it a challenge or threat;
My branch, my branch
Get off, go away
And then I realized, it is a welcome home
Glad to see you, my friend
We’ve lived another day

Rationality Reemerges with Attorney General Peter Neronha’s Drug Policy

It would seem we have an Attorney General who embraces rationality and realism over politics and rhetoric and I, for one, am pleased.

The drug problem in the United States, and worldwide, is complicated. On the most visible side, you have addicts, deaths from overdoses, hospitalizations, and lost opportunity by convictions for possession.

On the other side, you have the intricate relationship of governments of producing countries with the enormous money generated by the cartels. Drug money funds politics, political candidates, and corruption.

Over the last several decades, the trend in the US was to increase punishment and eliminate rehabilitative services for inmates. There was an apparent shift to warehousing more inmates with no consideration for what happens when released.

Recidivism among drug offenders reached 60-70%. Most offenders released from prison are rearrested within a year. Something is not working. There is another troubling trend buried within the change toward punishment that should concern us all. The shift to private prisons. Logic would dictate that businesses with a vested interest in a steady, or growing, supply of “customers” would have little incentive to reduce crime or incarceration rates.

In 2008, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo ordering a reduction in using private prisons by Federal authorities. Just days after Jeff Sessions became US Attorney General, he rescinded the order. Private prison stocks soared as the prison industry resumed its growth. Once again, money and politics trumped rationality. (https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/18/politics/private-prison-department-of-justice/index.html)

AG Neronha’s proposal brings rationality to our drug policy. Recognizing the accepted medical definition of drug addiction as a treatable mental health condition, shifting the focus from punishment to treatment and prevention is sound policy.

While the policy is welcome, it must go further. Reducing the number of minor offenders sent to prison is a good start and removing the stigma of a felony conviction will help reintegrate those with drug issues back into society but treating those with mental illnesses, both inside prisons and in society, is also a pressing problem. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/criminals-need-mental-health-care/)

With the trend toward punishment, they incarcerated those with mental illnesses at an even faster rate than the general population. Until we recognize the revolving door of the mentally ill sent to prisons lacking any mental health services, released after they complete their sentence, and rearrested because of lack of mental health services nothing will change.

AG Neronha wisely recognized the Criminal Justice system in Rhode Island needed a change. He is in good company with other states who have reduced recidivism through “Second chance” type programs, increased treatment opportunities, and punishment tempered by a goal of reintegration into society. (https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Reducing-Recidivism_State-Deliver-Results_2017.pdf)

Some would argue that such policies will encourage drug use, will increase the number of addicts because it reduces the preventive effect of punishment, will be only a progressive “feel good” effort with little to no benefit.

In the 1980s, Congress passed some of the most Draconian criminal sanctions to deal with the then rising scourge of crack cocaine. Possession of relatively small amounts resulted in life sentences. Yet the effect on the street was minimal, and the adverse impact on the minority population was devastating.

The numbers do not lie. We lead the world in prison population, and the numbers are growing. Whatever we have done to this point, it is not working. (http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All)

We can do better than that, and Mr. Neronha’s proposal is a tremendous step in the right direction.

Freedom of Speech*(*Conditional, of course)

In Muslim culture, they greet one another in this way.

 “As-salaam Alaykum,” meaning “Peace be upon you” and answered by “wa ʿalaykumu s-salām” meaning “and peace be upon you too.” (Apologies if I got the spelling wrong)

What’s wrong with that? Almost sounds Christian.

In the America of today, using such a greeting might prompt a visit from the FBI when your fellow Americans suspect you of being a terrorist. We fear the unfamiliar despite our claims of embracing all colors, creeds, and cultures.

Freedom is relative in America these days. While most Americans support Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion, many attach a condition to these cherished rights.

Look to the headlines and the evidence of conditional toleration is everywhere.

Opinion pieces are rife regarding the newest members of Congress, Muslims. Where is the religious toleration and why is their religion significant? I mean what could happen next, Atheists? Religious toleration only goes so far, we tolerate Christian faiths, perhaps even Jews-but not too many, you know what happens when they take over-but Muslims? There goes the neighborhood.

We can’t have it.

Freedom of religion, as enshrined in the Constitution, is unambiguous. The 4000 plus religions in the world are free to practice their faith as long as they harm no one or refuse to tolerate the different religious practices of others.

Simple, right? It would seem not. Intermixed with Freedom of Religion, which includes Freedom from Religion, is Freedom of Speech.

Once again there is a difference between what we say, or point to in the Constitution, and what we practice in our daily lives. Professional athletes take a knee to highlight persisting racism within this county and we rebuke, threaten, and call them un-American.

What is more American than taking a stand to right a wrong? What is more emblematic of American courage than to stand against evil? But even if you disagree with their method, which I found ineffectual, you must support their right to such expression.

If you argue that everyone must stand for the National Anthem out of some sense of respect for the hard-fought freedoms most of us enjoy, you’ve missed the point.

Being a product of the 60s, I lived through the years of violent antiwar protests, antigovernment upheavals, and civil rights riots. My parents’ generation looked on those protesters as un-American. Yet President Lyndon Johnson saw the need for sweeping civil rights legislation, the Great Society, to right many wrongs highlighted by the protests.

Despite Dr. Martin Luther King’s plea for nonviolence, decades of rage over racial disparity coupled with an ill-conceived and unnecessary war in Viet Nam drove the country to the boiling point.

Yet we survived.

Today, conditional toleration threatens Freedom of Speech. We need zealously guard free expression, even when we find ourselves in complete disagreement with the message.

Think about this for a moment. During the war in Viet Nam, many considered antiwar protesters to be anti-American. If that’s the case, then to be pro-American is to be Pro-War? Such sentiments carried over to the endless conflict in Iraq.

I find that opposing war is un-American to be false on its face. Americans should fight only when necessary and vigorously oppose policies to the contrary. Had such a philosophy existed in 1954, when American military advisers first went to South Viet Nam, 56,000 more Americans might be enjoying their freedoms.

To be American is to hold a wide variety of political, religious, and cultural perspectives. To be American is to accept differences in others and work together for the benefit of all.

If we want to set standards for the religion or speech we will tolerate, it is a slippery slope to losing our freedoms.

Look to the headlines and the evidence of conditional tolerance is everywhere.

Opinion pieces are rife with references to the newest members of Congress, Muslims. Where is the religious tolerance and why is their religion significant? I mean what could happen next, Atheists? Religious tolerance only goes so far, we tolerate Christian faiths, perhaps even Jews-but not too many, you know what happens when they take over-but Muslims? There goes the neighborhood.

We just can’t have it.

Freedom of religion, as enshrined in the Constitution, is clear and unambiguous. The 4000 plus religions in the world are free to practice their faith as long as they harm no one or refuse to tolerate the different religious practices of others.

Simple, right? It would seem not. Intermixed with Freedom of Religion, which includes Freedom from Religion, is Freedom of Speech.

Once again there is a difference between what we say, or point to in the Constitution, and what we practice in our daily lives. Professional athletes take a knee to highlight the persistence of racism within this county and they are castigated, threatened, and called un-American.

What could be more American than to take a stand to right a wrong? What could be more emblematic of American courage than to stand against evil? But even if you disagree with their method, which truth be told I found useless and ineffective, you must support their right to such expression.

If you argue that everyone must stand for the National Anthem out of some sense of respect for the hard-fought freedoms most of us enjoy, you’ve missed the point.

Being a product of the 60s, I lived through the years of violent anti-war protests, anti-government upheavals, and civil rights riots. My parents’ generation looked on those protesters as un-American. Yet President Lyndon Johnson saw the need for sweeping civil rights legislation, the Great Society, to right many wrongs highlighted by the protests.

Despite Dr. Martin Luther King’s plea for non-violence, decades of rage over racial disparity coupled with an ill-conceived and unnecessary war in Viet Nam drove the country to the boiling point.

Yet we survived.

Today, Freedom of Speech is threatened by conditional tolerance. We need zealously guard free expression, even when we find ourselves in complete disagreement with the message.

Think about this for a moment. During the war in Viet Nam, anti-war protesters were considered anti-American. If that’s the case, then to be pro-American is to be Pro-War? Such sentiments carried over to the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

I find the idea that opposing war is un-American to be false on its face. Americans should fight only when necessary and vigorously oppose policies to the contrary. Had such a philosophy existed in 1954, when American military advisors first went to South Viet Nam, 56,000 more Americans might be enjoying their freedoms.

To be American is to hold a wide variety of political, religious, and cultural perspectives. To be American is to tolerate and appreciate the differences others may have and to work together to bring the best of these to the benefit of all.

If we want to set standards for the religion or speech we will tolerate, it is a slippery slope to losing our freedoms.

In the Arabic world, the majority of which is Muslim, they greet each other in this way.

“As-salaam Alaykum,” meaning “Peace be upon you” and answered by “wa ʿalaykumu s-salām” meaning “and peace be upon you too.” (apologies if I got the spelling wrong)

What’s wrong with that? Almost sounds Christian.

Presidential and Not-so-Presidential Quotes

Every President has a signature line or a memorable quote. A moment in time that everyone who heard it will remember.

Kennedy had, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Johnson had, “I will not seek, and I shall not accept, the nomination of my party to run for President.”

Nixon began a sad trend in memorable moments, “I am not a crook.”

Gerald Ford briefly recovered our pride with his line after Nixon’s resignation. “Our long national nightmare is over.”

Carter was such a disappointment as President, and so admirable as an ex-President, I can recall nothing he said.

Reagan had, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” (Tear down a wall? Almost heresy today.)

Bush 41 said in his inaugural address, “We know what works: Freedom works. We know what’s right: Freedom is right.”

Clinton, reinvigorating the downward spiral said, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

Bush 43 had this prescient statement. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

Obama brought a sense of dignity back for eight years with these lines, “We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”

And now we have President Trump, who did come up with a good line, “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government.”

But we are stuck with his pedantic predilection for tweets and must bear with the corybantic flummery of a popinjay. (I love the richness of the English language)

Let’s hope we have hit rock bottom.

Stepping in the Minefield of Abortion

At the risk of stepping into a minefield–oh hell who am I kidding I love stepping into minefields–I would like to set the record straight on the New York legislation regarding late-term abortions.

I was struck by the words of Timothy Cardinal Dolan (the archbishop of New York and member in good standing of the Catholic Church, one of the most disingenuous and corrupt organizations ever conceived by man, even if many of its members are good and kind people) who said the Reproductive Health Act of New York was a “ghoulish, grisly, gruesome,” practice.

wordmap

It started the usual social media debate. At first, I thought to let it pass. But, alas, I could not.

Here’s that actual language from the statute.

“According to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” (https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2019/S240)

The Reproductive Health Act will permit abortions after 24 weeks in cases where a woman’s life or health would be threatened by continuing the pregnancy. It also allows licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide abortion services and decriminalizes abortion.

It is a pre-emptive strike against any Supreme Court reversal of the well-established, yet misunderstood, Roe V. Wade decision. The movement to overturn Roe, almost exclusively funded and driven by religious fundamentalism, poses a grave danger to women’s rights.

Their efforts have not been without success.

Several states passed what is known as “heartbeat” restrictions, limiting abortions once the heartbeat begins. These statutes artfully dodge the fact that most women do not even know they are pregnant at that point.

These states’ highways and byways are oft adorned with myriad Come to Jesus signs and the legislatures routinely try to circumvent the Separation Clause. States where science carries less respect than NASCAR, conspiracy theories, and Bigfoot are the point of the fundamentalist spear.

Scattered throughout these same states, are billboards with a smiling baby and the ominous words, “A baby’s heartbeat starts at 21 Days!” (it is actually 22 days, and the fetus bears little resemblance to a recognizable human form.) It is about the size of a poppy seed. About the size of the period at the end of this sentence. In numbers, the size of a three-week fetus is LENGTH: 0.03 in / 0.08 cm WEIGHT: 0.002 oz / 0.06 g. (Growth Chart)

It would be nice if we put as much care and consideration into those children living in deplorable and desperate conditions as we are wont to do for those not yet born. It would seem our concern ends at birth.

I am always struck by the conservative opposition to abortion based on the “sanctity” of life, while many embrace the death penalty. As they often do, they turn to the ultimate authority (nope, not Google) but the original source of all knowledge, the Bible.

“Thus says the Lord God… “Will you profane Me… killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live…?” -Ezekiel 13:18-19

“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. -Proverbs 17:15 (Italics the author. Me, not the original. No one knows who that is.)

Here’s the problem. God may be infallible, the American Justice system is not.

I am struck by the number of men who see themselves as the ultimate arbiters of morality, primarily in others. While many women oppose abortion, men seem particularly fervent in their opposition. One cannot help but wonder if this is as much a sense of loss of control as it is a genuinely sincere position.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, in the year before he authored the pro-abortion Roe v. Wade opinion (which was passed by the Republican majority court), wrote in a 1972 death penalty case of his “excruciating agony of the spirit. I yield to no one in the depth of my distaste, antipathy, and, indeed, abhorrence, for the death penalty… It is antagonistic to any sense of ‘reverence for life.'”

The conflict between the two conservative positions on abortion and the death penalty cannot be starker.

Until we come to terms with the dichotomy of our willingness to risk killing an innocent person who was wrongfully convicted yet deny women the right to make their own choice, I think it best we stay away from legislating morality.

Leave women their right to choose and do not deny them the opportunity to save their lives whenever it is medically necessary. Leave medical decisions to professionals and the individuals forced to deal with them.

If you oppose abortion, don’t have one.