I find that I am personally challenged by the system of democracy and free debate over social issues. The unrestrained freedom of speech is the only vessel by which democracy can be rightly enacted. However, this atmosphere often allows for disingenuous and hateful rhetoric to spread like wildfire in a political landscape that allows for mass trickery.
The recent issue of President Obama’s address to Notre Dame sparking the abortion debate has once again challenged the very fiber of my love for democracy. I support fully all forms of non-violent civil protest and although I disagree strongly with the outspoken protesters against Obama’s appearance in the Notre Dame forum I still believe that their freedom of speech must be protected from government infringement.
My personal challenge comes from another source. My challenge is being respectful and civil toward individuals who use fear-tactics, propaganda, outright lies, and uncivil attitudes as a basis and standard in their public discourse. I believe in strongly denouncing falsehoods and misrepresentations of American society and Americans themselves, as well as calling out by name those who commit these travesties of democracy.
There is a mounting temptation to degrade myself to this level of uncivil debate and partisan attacks in place of any logical arguments.
The majority of modern anti-abortion movements use deplorable tactics and needless slander to enforce their own “moral superiority” and “unchallengeable righteousness.” This ultimately distracts from the public policy debate over women’s reproductive health and government involvement in the womb.
I am all for having the debate and going through the issue, piece by piece. However, it is my perception that the opposition is not interested in debate but rather denouncement of all positions contrary to their own as “immoral.”
This is fundamentally counter-productive to the process of democracy. I cannot claim to be free of partisan fervor and personally reject the label “Pro-Life,” and replace it with “Anti-Choice.”
This is just one example of many in which I fail in my duties as a citizen.
It is the express burden, and thus challenge, of the citizenry of a democracy to not only stay informed but to conduct themselves in a manner befitting to civil public debate.
Aside from what I view as hypocrisy of conservatives in supporting human rights only as exclusive to the womb but not in other cases of injustices against human rights. There is a clear and unanswered call for a logical, civil argument not based in religious view from which to form the argument in favor of outlawing abortion.