Above all the noise and clatter of our day to day, our sidewalk ponderings, our boisterous dinner table speeches, our coffeehouse campaigns, perhaps we hunger for an earnest discussion of what has been wholly wanting in our politic --- that is earnestness itself. I speak not of the most banal of judgments concerning the high hypocrisies of legislating moralizers, nor the severly misplaced and self- aphyxiating comments about one's desired objects of pandering. Rather I speak of a systemic dearth of earnestness itself. An illustration may best suit as preface.
We men of social responsibility consider a lack of opinions to be the most glaring symptom of an unserious conscience. To believe whole-guttedly that nothing can be said on the given controversy (and think of all the controversies of our age!!! - lest you are struck with dizziness and nausea) well-signifies the degeneration of our mental capacities (and women's intuitions) to a lumpy mass, only to be animated by Dr. Frankenstein or a series of narcotic energy drinks.
With this danger in mind, we take certain precautions. To not have a position has been made difficult, especially in our newspapers. Consider a poll - Yea nay and undecided! Where is there room for a bloated expression of apathy - the nominer Undecided mrely signifies delay - overwhelming those prolific non-thinkers with a sense of anxiety - for a decision must necessarily arrive with loud trumpets and yellow flashing lights.
I wish to dare something, though the daring of words excites few, perhaps a counter argument, though your opinions on the matter will undoubtedly dwarf my petty cognitions.
Now let us consider abortion.
Why you ask? Do you fear being offended by my rash ravings? Well, let me try to alleviate your worries: I remain agnostic on the issue.
Is this comforting or the most troubling thing of all. Perhaps now you tremble more - how can I, this often ill-considerate preacher of distasteful rashness, not know the status of those little humans "to be or not to be."
For myself it is not a matter of knowledge. I am absolutely certain if I browsed enough pamphlets, listen to enough speeches, and read the relevant scriptures, an answer would surely arise (oh lucky modern man with your answers and steam engines). Rather I hold the fantastic belief that such knowledge leads to the most horrendous host of sins. The people who know the answer to such a question are the most despicable of God's creatures.
Let us imagine a malevolent man, oh but what name could fit this man of sheer inhumanity? Jared Johnson will definitely suit the ticket... actually Jared Tyler JOhnson, for serial killers and poets always have middle-names (what is misanthropism but good poetry, i.e. the sublimation of the particular, cf. western canon and true crime, what is evil but taste that transcends taboo?).
Forgive me, I shall return to our subject immediately so as not to wander further into my quasi-philosophical, pseudo-intellectual pursuits. NOw, Jared works at a nursing home, bathing cleaning and respecting. In his spare time he mentors troubled youth, preparing them for the further troubles of adulthood. He loves his God, his country, and even his hour long jogs through the city park with his autistic roommate.
STOP! you say. NO MORE!!
I beg you dear reader to wait a moment. I will get to the revelation. In fact, in this next sentence after these elipses... Jared is pro-life. He believes that the horrors of our existence begins at conception!
Imagine if you can that a clinic exists in his city and some doctor of death waxing hostage-taker, murders one tiny soul on the stroke of the hour 9-5 every day of the week save his Satanic Sabbath. In this very city lives your share of communists, free-thinkers, and anti-male citizens (if one can truly call such people citizens in any reasonable sense) who remain as ignorant as blind Hindus in slaughterhouses who believe that their Tofu is just a tit-bit lively and screaming.
But Jared, Jared has consumed the fruit of that trite cliched ancient tree and holds the truth in his brain in utter clarity. And how does Jared relate himself qua thinker and actor to this undeniable happening in the center of this very town he proudly called his home one sunny August afternoon?
Not doubtless once in a low moon he protests the clinic, he listens and loudly prayers every Sunday to the all-powerful sun-god Yahweh at the local Presbytarian church that the insidious forces of theo-conservatism will triumph over the tyrants sitting in tall brown chairs in Washington. He even held the humption to push his dear cousin to dialation and heavy sweat.
Given all this, expends 1.57 hours and 300 calories a week shadow-boxing with the white suited monster downtown. But what of the other (give or take) 144,000 minutes of the week? He obviously still hears the shrieking screams of tiny voices, perhaps attempting to muffle them with the delightful musics of Sir James Taylor (which ironically well-harmonizes with the screams). Jared knows where the dumpster is, when the women enter, how much plywood and torque-headed screws would be required to obstruct the red-trimmed entrances. He knows dozens are dying each week.
And he still goes to work, he still listens to his 2 hours of Prairie HOme Companion, and spends 10 superfluous minutes on the toilet every day. If one would raise this point to him, the utmost unraspy of voices, it would be utterly useless. Jared knows. He is an honest man. He knows what the consequences are of his knowledge. So what must we conclude my dearest of friends. Jared has no heart and will allow thousands to perish under his watch.
If polls have any truth to them (remember everything depends on polls! both democracy and fascism) literal millions of couch potato mass-murderers roam the Main Streets and probably a couple dozen on the European Peninsula to boot.
Do you feel relieved now by this attack, you men and women of choice and charred bras?
Well SHAME on YOU ABove everyone else. WHIle the prolifers may have committed their gruesome murders of omission, you stand idly by and let these homicidal maniacs roam our alleys. PErhaps you are right and the fetus is merely a clump of flesh, yet then you at least overlook the non-imprisonment of millions of attempted murders, whose only shortcoming is that ehy didn't wait sufficiently for their victims to exist. WHo but a great immoralist would tolerate such a situation?
I am well-aware that such observations as those here thoroughly dead-horse beaten have already been likewise beaten around in the halls of congress and in Opera's book club. But remember, the hallmark of earnestness is a slow consistent state of being repetitive and boring.
I will posit one novel musing though, which as of now is merely a dream that has been given garbled words : perhaps no one truly has an opinion on the issue. NO one cares to know or believe that such knowledge is possible in this bitter moment. WE are all closet agnostics and your humble narrator and his fellow travelers are the only souls daring enough to earnestly express a position on the matter (as vacuous as that position might be).