"Do you know, sir, no disrespect, truly no disrespect, but it's not your call. You don't decide. You don't decide for anybody's family here what they are going through and what they need." -- Whoopi Goldberg, The View, discussing Ben Carson's stand against abortion, October 26.
I ask myself in every general election season if we're going to be promised a retro revolution. Four years ago the Republicans promised to "Take Back America." How far? Because if you could go back, you wouldn't find utopia. What you'd find is war, suffering, calamity, perseverance and hope, I think. I hope.
The current Republican frontrunners are kind of unique, because Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are really out there, in a '70s kinda way. It's perplexing to listen to them for different reasons. Carson, as he talks daffy, makes it hard to keep your eyes open because his seem always to be closing up shop.
Carson is in the lead as the GOP's candidate of the moment, though Jeb Bush is playing possum at the family compound. Meanwhile, evangelical voters and righter wing Republicans in Iowa are said to like Ben's "soft spoken" style, even as he likens women who choose abortion to "slave owners," or calls on black men to "re-educate" black women when it comes to pregnancy.
Nice that he makes these statements as if he's whispering sweet nothings in our ear, but how sweet is it to use the terms he does about terminating pregnancies, such as "genocide"? Doesn't that trivialize real genocide?
Dr. Carson says slavery is a word we are not supposed to use. This while he sets himself up as the brave renegade willing to say it aloud. Ben, you are not supposed to trivialize the word. That's what makes it become an offense. That's what was shockingly ludicrous about your saying "Obamacare" is the worse thing since slavery.
I think there were worse things since slavery than Obamacare. Jim Crow, lynching, institutionalized segregation, inferior education, pervasive poverty and discrimination against anyone who was not white, male and straight. Also, let me throw in global warming, the Holocaust, two bloody World Wars, the tsunami that killed over two hundred and fifty thousand people in Thailand, and our own little tragedy here at home, the bombing of the World Trade Center.
Obamacare? Not so much.
Carson was not always so soft spoken. As a teenager, he would "go after people with rocks and bricks and bats and hammers" he says, in a tone as if he might be Mr. Rogers reincarnate. At 14, he tried to stab someone. After saying this he almost appears to falls asleep but rebounds.
He has changed now, he says, calmly, but he doesn't tell us how it happened and the reporter doesn't ask. It's an NBC Meet The Press interview. That hot seat cooled down years ago and sitting for an interview there is about as tough on your answers as hosting Saturday Night Live.
I am not sure what we are experiencing with the candidacy of Dr. Carson. He purrs ever so daintily that women are thinking of their babies as "the enemy." He speaks like a life coach with access to some pretty lofty drugs. His deep thoughts, he explains, are something he thinks deeply.
Carson does not believe in abortion, for any reason. Rape and incest? He's aware of many people who were conceived that way and have led productive lives. He fails to mention the mother of that productive life, and seems to have no sensitivity for the emotionality of pregnancy itself and the psychological damage such pregnancies from rape or incest would surely incur. There are women who've gone to term in such cases, and I laud them for their bravery and kindness. But women who don't go through with them are not war criminals.
In 2012, Carson likened homosexually to pedophilia, but apologized for it later. And though he excepts the law on gay marriage, he still doesn't agree with it because being gay is a choice. I guess it makes sense then that he doesn't believe abortion is.
Statistics show that the greater majority of women who have abortions are over 25 and are struggling financially. Their abortions are not the ones of convenience that Carson so loathes.
A high percentage of women who have abortions are already raising a child, and a higher percent than not have been in a relationship with the man they are pregnant with for longer than a year. The opinion that these women are loose, or easy as we used to say, is false. But so what if they are? The decision is personal.
When I listen to Ben Carson I find myself becoming vaguely hypnotized. Carson's most powerful weapon is his ability to put you in a trance. He is so mellow that if he were actually in my home I wouldn't have to use incense.
Women, sex and pregnancy seem never to go away as a hot topic. And there's a lot of hypocrisy in the pro-lifer's passion for unborn life and what women must do regarding it. Yet so many who want to ban abortion seem bitter about sexual freedom and in favor of war.
In fact, those who cannot accept abortion seem perfectly able to accept war, and I have heard none of them ask what a 19-year-old fetus feels when it's blown apart. Is there a silent scream?
The filmmaker, Spike Lee, shot a film in Chicago this summer based on the Greek comedy Lysistrata, in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex with the men until the men stop making war. Forty years ago Eldridge Cleaver called that "pussy power." I suppose that's fair enough, but Cleaver admitted to several acts of rape in his autobiography so he had to know that not all sex is consensual.
A more powerful position for a movie based on that Greek tale might be to alter it a bit. The women tell the men they'll have sex with them, because they themselves enjoy it, but will have no more babies until the men stop killing. If the men do not relent, there will be no more people, and war will end, as well as civilization. I'd also throw in that the women want the governing body to provide them with birth control.
An early fetus has no memory nor is it conscious nor is the nervous system developed enough to send signals of pain. And though I do believe life is sacred, I also believe women have the right to put their own sacred lives first.
Abortion is a sad decision no matter. But I think about children who are thrown out of windows or left in garbage cans and I ask myself why they were brought to term to suffer that fate? Where are the programs to help prevent such despair?
Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood the way those hunters go after lions and giraffes for sport. If we care about life, why don't we care about the most vulnerable among us? Many children in America live in poverty, though Dr. Carson shrugs and says we are doing better than other places.
That's not only pathetic, Doc, it's not presidential.
Does Dr. Carson really believe he is the father of some retro revolution in which men regain control of women, making us see the error of our waywardness? Women are so far past that that it's a joke, which is why abortion should not even be in question.
If you really love life, do what you can to stop violence, neglect and ignorance. Wake up, Dr. Carson.