Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's Not Really about Politics

As my sidebar "About Me" section says, I live in Michigan. We're the 11th largest state, and the eighth most populated. (If our largely-unoccupied Upper Peninsula was as densely populated as the rest of the state, we'd be fifth.) Unfortunately, we are also the state with the highest unemployment rate, which means that many people are moving elsewhere to find work.

The "Big Three" automakers are responsible for much of the employment slump here. But some people also place blame on the state government, which is currently run by Democrats. Of course, when we had a Republican governor, people blamed things on him. I'm not a student of economics; I even avoided taking a class in it in college, which was unusual for math majors. And I have never liked dealing with the political process -- in fact I was over thirty when I voted in my first presidential election. But over the last twenty-odd years I have become very well informed on Michigan (and national) politics for a very simple reason: I'm pro-life.

My husband, who grew up in Michigan, remembers his parents working hard to defeat a ballot proposal which would have overturned Michigan's laws against abortion. That proposal went down to defeat by a two-to-one margin. Unfortunately, that was in November of 1972, and the following January the US Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which overrode the abortion laws of all fifty states. Since we have been married, Michigan has dealt with votes on taxpayer funding of abortion (not anymore!), informed consent (yes!), parental consent (with the mandated judicial bypass), assisted suicide (NO --70 to 30%), partial birth abortion (still being fiddled with), and more.

I know some people for whom working on these campaigns is a challenge but a joy, because all this political stuff is right up their alley. Me, I do it because it's right, not because I like it. And this year I get to do it again.

In all the election years when Michigan didn't have some kind of a specific vote going, I still worked hard for the election of candidates at all levels who believe that life and death should be in the hands of God, not a doctor or any other individual. And this has been on both sides of the political aisle; my current state representative is from the "other" party. And he knows me by name and face, even though we disagree on just about every issue but this.

But this year Michigan pro-lifers have a bigger challenge. Yes, we will work to get candidates elected. Our main focus, though, is on the innocuously-named Proposition 2. Prop2, for short, has an attractive website called "CureMichigan". You can go there if you want (it's dot com), but I won't link there because I refuse to inflict the half-truths you'll find there on anybody without a warning. The crux of the matter is that the proponents of Prop2 are claiming that if only Michigan would relax its archaic (passed in 1978) law banning research on embryos which is not for the therapeutic benefit of the embryo, lots of other non-embryonic people would be cured of everything from diabetes to Parkinson's disease.

The facts don't bear this out. This site shows the large number of cures achieved with non-embryonic stem cells, while so far embryonic stem cell (ESC) research has come up empty. But leaving that aside, (and also, if you like, the morality of ESC research), the most dangerous part of Prop2 is "in the fine print."

Prop2, which is a proposal to amend the Michigan constitution, says in part :

All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

(i) prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or

(ii) create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

That's a bunch of legal language which boils down to "and nobody's allowed to make any new laws which might stop us from doing any of this, or even make us fell bad about it." So this would be a constitutional amendment that could never be changed. Even scientists found out we didn't need to do any of this stuff. Even if the culture changed, and most people agreed it was wrong.

History shows that at least some laws always need to be amended. As far back as Biblical times, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo wound up in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lion's den, because the king couldn't change the laws that put them there. And the American constitution has needed to be changed. When my mother was born, my grandmother had no legal right to vote. When my grandmother's mother was born [she's the one for whom I'm named] African-Americans weren't even citizens. Those things needed to be changed, even though they were "sensible" at the time when they were enacted. But Prop2's framers figure they're wiser and more enlightened than America's founding fathers.

So this election season I'll be out there dealing with yard signs and get-out-the-vote phone calls and fund-raising and all the other stuff of a political campaign, and hating it. But I'll be doing it anyway, because it's not really about politics -- it's about Life.

If you live in Michigan and are interested in helping -- or even if you think I'm off-the-wall --log on to and see where you fit in. And for those of you who live somewhere else, all prayers are appreciated!


Jen said...

I'm always afraid to put up my politics on my blog because at least half of everyone is bound to disagree with me. :)

Ted said...

Prayers from a resident of another state and a citizen of another country... :-)

Mimiboo said...

You probably know -- or could guess -- that I respectfully disagree with most of your political leanings, but I just want to say I think it's great that you posted this and were so open about it, and that you posted that link. One thing we do agree on is that people should be informed and know exactly what they are voting for or against, and the proposition wording, as usual, makes that very difficult. So thanks for that link.