Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sticking my fingers in my ears

Because I don't want to hear the ugliness that's coming.

Dick Cheney got a heart transplant.

I can already hear the howls of outrage about how he doesn't "deserve" one because he's a bad, bad man and a wrong-thinker and all of that (and also that he's, like, OLD).

You know what? That kind of thinking makes me sick. I may disagree with President Obama on just about everything, I may be annoyed by Mrs. Obama's attitudes...but if, God forbid, either of them needed an organ transplant, I'd hope they got it. And I'd hope they'd have the best surgeons available to do it.

Because they have family that loves them. Because they're fellow human beings, and I don't like to see fellow human beings suffer.

The allocation of donated organs is pretty complex and has a lot of ethical questions about it. But I'm not going to claim someone "deserves" to die when a good-match organ is available for them just because of their politics or their attitudes. (I would probably feel differently if it were a mass-murderer on Death Row, but none of the individuals I've named above fit that scenario).

Increasingly, I'm disgusted by the ugliness, the "other-making" that both sides seem to engage in ("other-making" - using language that tries to dehumanize your opponent). I turn off radio hosts who have ugly "pet names" for politicians they dislike, or who use snarky terminology. I try not to use it myself; I try to disagree with the ideas and articulate why I think they're bad ideas, rather than demonizing the person.

(And I admit, though I didn't hear the broadcast, I am deeply dismayed by Limbaugh's usage of "slut" in the case of Ms. Fluke. I think it makes far more sense to argue from the "can we really afford all these new entitlements as a nation, and what does it do to people's mindset to let them think that every last thing they want will be covered by the government (meaning: taxpayer money)." Now, maybe he said that, I don't know...but what got the publicity was the ugly name, and as a result, the real debate (IMHO) got lost...but I guess that's how it's going to be from now on, like four year olds in a sandbox, throwing dirt and ugly names and not really explaining anything or trying to make their positions understood. We're not HEARING each other any more; we just seem to be looking for the next "gotcha."

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