The always eloquent and gracious Matthew Lee Anderson takes on the question of why pro-life focuses so exclusively on the baby. At it’s core, it is something akin to a marvel at the promise of this life, a promise which we must then honor. As noted, he is nothing if not eloquent. It is a thing of wonder — wonder, which Abraham Heschel reminds us, is at the core of our approach to the world. And in its own hidden way it also informs our politics.
Within the pro-life outlook, the hiddenness of the fetus is a microcosm of our social relations. As Gracy Olmstead observed, the Women’s March on Washington’s proclamation that “defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us” perfectly distills the pro-lifer’s beliefs. “Defending the voiceless, the vulnerable, the marginalized, is priority number one,” Olmstead suggests
Yet this eloquence has a blindness: the mother goes under-addressed. If the embryo presents a society in all its tentativeness, the social setting of the mother is no less important. She is not only the bearer, but an active agent, too. Wonder cannot negate agency. Further, there remains the question of our relationship to our bodies an the control that I may or may not exert with respect to my body.
These are not a counter to the essay so much as limning, an edging. There is yet more to be said. In that score, the term “pro-life” is an attempt to get a more fully-orbed sense of the issues, not only that of the embryo, but of the mother, her setting, and yes, her body. To stop at the baby is to leave the topic smaller.
His preference is for dealmaking, for the bright shiny object in the moment. That suggests to me that government will be in the hands of the people he’s appointed. But how that works out remains to be seen, because at some point a president has to be engaged in the question of how well we’re doing.
That’s Michael D’Antonio’s take at Vox. What all the current uproar misses is that Donald Trump is consistently himself, and what D’Antonio misses, consistently a man of his class, of big, heedless, bullying money.
Reading Max Fisher’s laundry list of confrontations between journalists and the police in Ferguson MO can leave one drained. Or in despair. We have entered the strange stage set of public political theatre. So police officers who have put on the regalia, the costume of the security State, no feel an obligation or perhaps a freedom to act out that role.
The weapons, the helmets, the vehicles and body armor are all signs of Authority. One is not to challenge them, certainly not in an age of Security. Yet fundamentally one must. One must challenge precisely because this is a theatre, a mock show. Challenge in order to save them from themselves, from the cloak of curses that seeps into them like oil (Ps 109.17). The cycle of violence keeps asking for escalation, because it is the substance, the purpose of Authority. Such a sign, is of course one that pushes out the republican truths of discourse and citizenship.
As long as we engage in our political Security Theatre, we render ourselves unable to see our neighbor. For some that is a flaw, the fear is that for others it is a feature.