It's Valentine's Day. I guess that means I should talk about what I love.
Let's see ... my family and friends, cats, chocolate, word-nerd humor, poking bears/trolls ... yeah, that's enough of that. It could get way too schmaltzy too quickly, and I'm not enamored of schmaltz. Except at Christmas with all those sappy movies. (I can't help it; I love It's a Wonderful Life!)
Instead, today I feel like talking about things I'd love ... to go away.
At the top of that list would be "nothingburger" and "fake news." When they mean whatever you want them to mean (generally something unfavorable to you), you've annoyed a very large portion of those of us who live in reality. Sure, reality's not that much fun sometimes, but it has the advantage of people agreeing on basic facts. Besides, most of the nothingburgers I've heard people drone on about seem to have a lot of extra cheese, and that's not a nothingburger; it's a grilled-cheese sandwich.
Next would be terms such as "full-term abortion." There is no such thing; it's a political term (as is "partial-birth abortion"), not a medical one. Full term is generally accepted as 38 to 40 weeks, and what would happen then is called "delivery"; that "ripping out of the womb" thing at nine months that a certain someone spoke of is called a cesarean section, which is how about a third of U.S. women deliver each year. Abortion rates have steadily fallen in the U.S. over the past few decades, and of those that occur, 91.4 percent are in the first trimester, and 1.3 percent are at or after 21 weeks (and before 38 to 40 weeks), what is considered late-term, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The decision to have an abortion is rarely taken lightly, and in the case of late-term abortions, it is almost always because of fatal fetal defects or serious threats to the life of the mother, and is devastating for all involved. Adding politics into the mix helps no one.
Whataboutism can kindly take a hike too. Yes, that other person may have done bad things, but it's no excuse for someone else doing something similar. If it's bad, it's bad, period, and nobody should have done it. Whataboutism is not a valid legal defense and would probably get you laughed out of the courthouse.
I would loooooooove to bid adieu to incivility, especially that which has been heightened through hyperpartisanship. Honesty, respect, courtesy, personal responsibility and the like seem to have all but disappeared in some places, replaced with hostility, rudeness and bullying. If you take a view on anything, then you're painted as the most extreme version of whatever party takes a similar view. I'm sure that my pointing out that "full-term abortion" doesn't exist will mean I'll be tagged by certain people on the newspaper's online comment board as a raging alt-left liberal who wants abortion on demand up to the time of delivery. And yet I'm not and I don't. I do believe that it's a medical decision between a woman and her doctor; the government shouldn't have a say ... more of a libertarian view.
And shhhhh ... I also have conservative views ... how dare I not stick with a party line, right? It's like I think for myself or something.
Sitting in the window waving goodbye to tired talking points would also make me very, very happy. I see the same ones repeatedly, and for some I can name that tune in three words. Sometimes I wonder if there's a computer somewhere that transmits the day's talking points to a chip in the heads of the worst offenders. Considering that so many of those talking points are misleading or just downright wrong, I have even more reason to dislike them. Again, Adolf Hitler was a National Socialist, which is not the same thing as a socialist; the illegal alien population has been steadily decreasing since 2007's peak of 12.2 million, as have border apprehensions (since 2000), but those who overstay visas outnumber those who illegally cross the borders; and the president, whoever that is at a given time, has nothing to do with Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, which are automatic and tied to the Consumer Price Index.
So please, stop repeating that stuff. If you think I'm cranky now ...
As much as I'd love to see all of these things go away, I'd love even more for some things to return.
What if we all went back to discussing issues on their merits, using factual evidence to support our arguments, instead of just repeating what some party icon said, or flinging insults? How about if we got back to using respect, common courtesy and common sense in our interactions with each other? And would it really be so hard to take responsibility for our words and actions?
All of that would make for a much more civil existence, one in which I wouldn't constantly wish for someone to invent the Slap-A-Matic™. Stick in liberal usage of words like persnick-ety and discombobulated, and I think we'll all be happy.
If you can't smile at persnickety, there's little hope for you.
Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com. Email her at email@example.com.
Editorial on 02/14/2018
Print Headline: Love and loss