Mix a little complexity into the pallet, and you get a spectrum of pink to purple. Politicized topics in America’s ongoing culture wars include abortion, BIPOC, and LGTBQ+ issues.
I don’t know anyone who thinks abortion is a great contraceptive method and should be available to all women, whenever it is requested. However, I do know lots of people who believe in personal choice, when either the mother or fetus is in danger of death or permanent, irreparable debility, as well as abortion for rape and incest victims, and abortion on demand prior to fetal viability. I also know folks who think we should allow pregnant women who do drugs to get an abortion, followed by sterilization.
Feminists made a critical error forty years ago when they allowed the pro-choice movement to become the pro-abortion movement. We are pro-life and, among our policies, we support family planning, access to contraception and viable health care, and education for children in need of parental support.
I directed a women’s studies program in the early 1990s, at what I thought was the height of identity politics. Everyone wanted a seat at the table, a piece of the action, a vote. Layered in idealistic rhetoric, at best, it was rooted in self-interest and revenge for past grievances. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, pronounced “by-pock”) is a relatively new term for the identity politics of forty years ago. I don’t believe that it has evolved into its potential for bringing humanity into a diverse community capable of collective action. But I applaud the struggle and disdain those who support a racist or supremacist hegemony by any one race or group.
LGBTQ+ rights is yet another topic that does not fall neatly, if at all, into any dichotomy of pro and con. My second oldest grandson was my first oldest granddaughter. Short and petite like me, he excelled in extreme sports. His decision to trans into a male was pure gender identity. He wasn’t looking to use a traditional male physique to give him a competitive advantage; he didn’t need one. He isn’t curious about the boys’ bathroom, and he certainly is not a threat to anyone.
It is estimated that one or two babies per one hundred are born with both male and female genitals or ambiguous genitalia. What gender the child will ultimately be assigned depends upon who is making the decision, but it doesn’t include the child’s wishes—obviously a child is too young to have a say in the matter. That doesn’t mean that the gender assignment is actually the correct identity for the child, which leads to gender confusion and worse. Changing one’s gender to fit one’s identity is a positive and empowering act.
Homosexual behavior has been around at least since the advent of recorded history. Only now, we are being asked to acknowledge and respect people’s sexual choices. Most if not all the angst about LGBTQ+ people is over straw man issues raised for the vilest of political machinations. Ah, if only our politicians would pay as much attention to sex trafficking and addiction!
And, if you think these topics are complicated, consider the war in Ukraine. The majority of Crimean citizens consider themselves Russian and want to leave Ukraine. Prior to the Soviet Union’s President Gorbachev, Ukraine was part of Russia’ sphere, and many Russians are still angry that he allowed it to become independent. Russia wants what it considers defensible borders and a seaport for access to the Mediterranean. On the other hand, Ukraine has its own language and history and is culturally separate from its neighbor. Regardless, the Russian offensive and the loss of civilian (and military) life is inexcusable in today’s fragile world. War is a luxury this planet can no longer afford.
*The Ukraine gained its independence from Russia in 1991.