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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Importance of Being Human

I want to write something important. Something powerful. Not because I view myself as important or powerful, but because the subject I intend to write about is so very important to me. I want to write about people and their right to exist. 

Most people don’t question their right to exist. Existence should be a given. I am; therefore, I exist. It should be an inalienable right. 

Inalienable. Remember that. 

When orders are signed to make someone an illegal alien by people who are immigrants or children of immigrants, it is the worst sort of privilege. Getting honest, poor, hardworking people to buy into the rhetoric of fear is the worst kind of betrayal of the privilege someone has been given to help someone else in need. If one believes, as I do, that we are only made strong long enough to help each other, then one understands my dilemma. 

I can’t be too heavy-handed with facts and articles supporting my position. To do so is elitist. I can’t appeal to my own experiences. That rhetoric is anecdotal, and I can’t prove that my experiences are symbolic of the rule rather than the exception. 

I don’t have the money or the power to overwhelm a media outlet – much less all of them – with my version of facts. I can’t buy advertising that will repeat my words verbatim until they are accepted as truth no matter how outrageous they might be. But I have a laptop. And sometimes I think I can write a little. I have to try. 

If I were in a position of authority, especially if I could have been in such a position years (decades, centuries) ago, I would not allocate money to foreign defense. We live in a country a hemisphere away from the problems of Africa and the Orient and the Middle East. If people want to abandon those problems by coming to our shores, we should let them. We should take great care of them so that they want to bring their loved ones to the Utopia our country promises. We should not send soldiers to change their countries’ ways of life. Our soldiers should be here learning as much as they can about new immigrants, understanding their language and culture and helping us adapt to each other. 

In fact, if our soldiers only went overseas to protect people, and not cheap oil, I think we would be closer to living in a Utopia. And if we are going to invade a country for its minerals (oil and coal are not scientifically minerals, but legally, they are included as minerals in terms of mineral rights), the least our leaders could do is be honest about it. American employees are getting pulled off US oil rigs because foreign oil is so abundant and cheap. Instead of making the connection between foreign wars and cheap imports, people are being told to fear and blame immigrants for their joblessness and resulting poverty. Poor and tired – exhausted, really – people believe what is pounded at them by the people in charge. It takes a long time to start to question authority and power, even to the absence and abandonment of logic. 

So clearly, I have a soft spot for immigration. I happen to find people inalienable. 

Then I get hit by the two by four of how I can care about people but not be pro-birth. And the simple explanation is that I don’t consider every ejaculation or menstruation a baby. A more complicated explanation is that I’m not a doctor. I have, however, been pregnant. And the juxtaposition of those two informs me that I can not make laws to account for every pregnancy situation. 

Without looking at improbable statistics, I would wager that there is an unplanned pregnancy for every couple desperate to conceive their own baby. I don’t know why the world works that way. I do know that these unplanned pregnancies and childless couples cannot be paired together like some crazy TV reality show match game. I wish it were that simple. On top of that complication, there are wanted babies who cannot be saved by current medical advances. Abortion of these babies to save the mother and provide a chance for a viable baby to be conceived and born seems the most humane course of action. 

In the meantime, pitting two groups of emotional, vulnerable people -- the childless and the unplanned pregnant -- against each other is the very definition of cruel. Chances are neither has the money or the resources to help the other, if and when they are able to connect. Then disreputable people sweep in, hoping to profit from both sides – selling babies, stealing babies, keeping children from loving families, allowing children to stay in abusive households or squalid orphanages. This behavior is inhuman and inhumane. If we spent the time and resources fighting THIS instead of constant legal battles over reproductive rights, I believe we would have much better results. 

Because I love little people, I support abortion. Not just choice, but abortion. I can’t prevent child abuse. I can’t prevent cults and sex trafficking and a lot of bad behavior. Ideologically, however, I can support the idea that if people only had babies they wanted, loved, and were ready, eager, and able to care for, then we would have additional resources to crack down on bigger problems that result from children who are uneducated, poor, bored, neglected, targeted, and abused. If instead of shooting people who walk into Planned Parenthood, or shouting Bible verses at them, people held signs –as my friend suggested – offering to pay expenses or adopt unwanted children or provide emotional support, I could believe in the goodness of the common person that I sometimes fail to see. Abortion is not the only reason people go to Planned Parenthood. The pregnant woman murdered in Colorado a little over a year ago was not there to have an abortion. She was murdered by a mentally unstable man who believed fake videos about Planned Parenthood’s only purpose. I happen to think that people supporting the actions of that mentally unstable man should reflect long and hard before proclaiming a pro-life stance. I tire of the rhetoric that Planned Parenthood’s only purpose is abortion. I especially tire of this rhetoric from craft stores who buy cheap goods from countries with mandatory child limits and forced abortions. 

It’s not about the money, either, people. I get that soulless argument a lot. Funny, I’m not supposed to complain about a portion of my taxes supporting war or the death penalty – but people can sure complain about paying for other people’s condoms, boxes of pills, IUDs, or abortions. Dollar for dollar, there is no argument. I’ve also seen enough parents complain about other people’s children’s behavior in grocery stores to know that if there was a free box of condoms that a judgmental shopper could hand a parent – well, let’s just say my grocery store trips could be a lot more interesting. 

It is too about the money. If money weren’t an object, traffickers wouldn’t traffic. Not drugs, not people. If everyone had the resources to truly do what they wanted, we might all live on private islands and not give a damn about anyone else. There are rich people for whom the true value of money is as meaningless as Monopoly money is to me – but they need to keep score with their balance sheets. The acquisition of wealth is a great game, and there is little room for second place – no room for losing ground. If we eliminated money – as some stores and government offices have done, going cashless to prevent robberies – some people would still have more than ten cars, a private jet, and a yacht while others would only have the rags on their backs or maybe a couple trash bags’ worth of possessions. Overwhelmingly, the people living paycheck to paycheck with underwater mortgages and massive bills will give more of themselves to help those seeking handouts in soup kitchens. Equally overwhelmingly, a rich person could write a check for funds they would never miss that could do more good than a thousand poor people helping poorer people. Which is why we allow charities to exist. 

Which is why we should crack down on charity fraud, kickbacks, and related bad acts. 

Which is why we should be mindful of rich people eluding taxes and fine them heavily for not compensating their employees fairly and pocketing the difference. 

Which is why a college education should be freely available and not a requirement of entry level employment. And why we should crack down on and break up for-profit colleges that break promises they make to desperate students. 

Which is why we need a livable minimum wage that includes all medical care from conception to burial or cremation. And why such medical coverage should not be tied to a job or an employer whose ideology may differ from our own. And why it should be as easy to walk into a health insurance agency and establish a personal relationship with an agent as it is to walk into a car insurance agency or tax preparation office. When we are at our most sick and vulnerable, we are most human. We should not be beans counted in an office by people who only know us as numbers on a page. That we perpetuate this is inhumane. 

I believe that a person is strong to help someone who is not. I believe we can do more together than apart. I believe that self-care is important and self-sacrifice is admirable, but selfishness to the detriment of the common good is the reason the colonies overthrew the monarchy and the reason we should not allow ourselves to be ruled by a tyranny today. I believe in We the People and I believe in the American Dream. 

And if you still don’t – why not? How can I help you address whatever fear is holding you back?