Shanti Emerson: Everything in moderation
This time last year, I described myself as a liberal. Now I describe myself as moderate.
I think there are those on the other side who felt conservative last year and moderate this year. Do you feel that the political pendulum is swinging so far each way and so fast, it seems out of control and going to extremes? A lot of the commander in chief’s conservative rants are pushing the left so far that they are losing contact with their base and so far right that reasonable responsible constituents are lost.
“Can we all just get along?” Rodney King plaintively asked. Oh, Rodney, if only we could!
Don’t we all love our country? Don’t we love the people? Don’t we all love the land? Do we want the Democratic States of America, the Republican States of America or the United States of America?
If we truly do love our people, our country and our land, we must talk to each other in a civil manner and listen deeply, and we must compromise.
Those pro-lifers should understand that if no abortions are allowed, they put thousands of women’s lives in peril. Abortions will never stop and outlawing them will only lead to ugly botched surgeries in back alleys. This is a decision that only a pregnant woman and the father should make. On the other hand, pro-choice people need to understand that abortion to a pro-lifer is tantamount to infanticide and show respect to how far a fetus has developed. How many periods does a woman skip before she knows she’s pregnant? Surely not more than three. So can we compromise on abortions are legal through the third month?
What about guns? The NRA has filled hearts and minds so full of paranoia that there are those who balk even at background checks and won’t stop the manufacturing of assault weapons designed to kill many people in a short time period. Their fear seems to be that if they give in even on reasonable restrictions, they’ll lose their guns, and they are terribly afraid to be without their guns. So progressives need to assure them that they are not after their guns but want only responsible sane gun owners and no more production of military style weapons. Is that too much to ask?
Then there is immigration. One side seems to want no one coming into our country, and the other side wants to decriminalize illegal entrants. Just try to immigrate to Canada or France. It is not easy. We have to control our borders, but isn’t separating parents from children abominable? All of our forefathers immigrated here, and others want to have the same opportunities we do. Yet it is difficult if not impossible to accommodate vast numbers of new people each year. So there need to be policies that set reasonable standards for immigrants and conform to international law.
What about racism? While people on the far right probably don’t want any people here but whites, the people on the far left are taking classes about how they should be ashamed of their race, their white privilege and their “fragility.” Yes, we can improve but let’s celebrate the huge advances minorities have made in the last 60 years. If we cannot look at our successes, then why should we even try to do things better? Black lives matter and so do blue lives.
People on the far right seem very comfortable with only some Americans being covered with health insurance. People on the far left seem to want everyone, even undocumented people, to be covered and to take away citizens’ rights to choose their own insurance. Covering everyone (even illegal immigrants) is not financially feasible and would attract everyone anywhere on our planet with a sick family member to flock to our country for free medical treatment.
How about expanding Medicare or Obamacare to include all citizens and let everyone have the right to choose their own private insurance plans?
Fortunately, I have dear friends and acquaintances on both sides of the aisle and also a few opponents in both parties. I know that most of the American people want to get along.
But it will take listening, understanding and compromising.
Finding that precious reasonable middle ground perhaps is like the quest for the Holy Grail … but it’s so important at this time to do everything we can to be united, to understand that we see things in different ways but that in the end, we want the same things — a place of kindness, of safety, a place to thrive.
We want a place of equality and opportunity. Can we work on this together?
Shanti Emerson is a Nevada County resident and a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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