Culture War Politics Links

The Harris poll I quoted in the other post notes that Independents are pro-choice not only by a large margin, but also by a larger margin than Democrats. Republicans are 61-37 against Roe; Democrats are 55-43 for; Independents are 56-37 for. Democratic strategists should keep that in mind next time they ignore cultural issues in order to accommodate Evangelists.

Jessica links to an article about a town in Georgia whose mayor is forbidding a group of refugees to play soccer on the grounds that no sports but football and baseball should be allowed.

“There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor,” Lee Swaney, a retired owner of a heating and air-conditioning business, told the local paper. “Those fields weren’t made for soccer.”

In Clarkston, soccer means something different than in most places. As many as half the residents are refugees from war-torn countries around the world. Placed by resettlement agencies in a once mostly white town, they receive 90 days of assistance from the government and then are left to fend for themselves. Soccer is their game.

But to many longtime residents, soccer is a sign of unwanted change, as unfamiliar and threatening as the hijabs worn by the Muslim women in town. It’s not football. It’s not baseball. The fields weren’t made for it. Mayor Swaney even has a name for the sort of folks who play the game: the soccer people.

It’s ironic how soccer, which in Europe symbolizes machoism and hooliganism, has come to symbolize multiculturalism in the US. It’s somewhat like the hijab, which has become a badge of solidarity to Muslim women in some Western countries, especially Britain, even though in the Middle East it symbolizes the patriarchy.

Ezra notes the fundamental dilemma in pro-choice political strategy: on the one hand, presenting abortion as a conflicted decision could win votes, but on the other, it could make the procedure more psychologically devastating.

Speaking of abortion in a sensitive and conflicted way is probably good politics, but I fear the impact on individuals. If we disingenuously hold that abortions are morally excruciating, and keep driving home the anguish all women should/must feel after having one, we risk causing further pain to women who’d otherwise find the removal of a clump of cells unproblematic, or do find the procedure unproblematic and but fret over their “callousness.” That’s possibly all right if your goal is to reduce the number of abortions, but if you don’t think individuals shouldn be tormented because a condom broke or a cycle of antibiotics interfered with the pill, it’s more worrisome.

Lindsay has a more clear cut view. Although a lot of people consider her (or my) “abortion is a normal medical procedure; get over it” view counterproductive, nobody’s ever produced any concrete evidence for that. There are plenty of heart-wrenching anecdotes about people who got convinced only by one form of argument, but nothing that any rational person would use as a basis for determining the best rhetorical avenue.

I am reminded of a moment at the YearlyKos convention in the late spring of last year. Alon Levy and I were at an abortion rights breakout session. Participants explained in turn why the chose to attend this session. Towards the end, a woman said in slightly accented English,

“I’m here because I don’t understand what the big deal is. Where I’m from, abortion is no big deal.”

The woman was from an Eastern European country, the Ukraine if I remember correctly. She was surprised when she came to America to find that abortion was such a huge public emotional fight.

Oddly, I don’t remember that part. I know who the woman she’s talking about is – there was only one Ukrainian at Yearly Kos that I know of – and I can envision her say that, but I don’t remember that she actually said it. What I do remember is that one woman said that she was agitating for a constitutional amendment to permit abortions, because “women will never be equal as long as Congress can pass laws stripping us of our bodily autonomy.”

Pam writes about standard issue hypocrisy among conservatives in Georgia. The Governor supports a gay marriage ban on populist grounds, but is refusing to allow a popular vote on state prohibition laws. About gay marriage, he said,

I think we need be very respectful of the people’s voice and listen to that.

About repealing blue laws, he said,

But you can’t do government really by referendum. And so, I don’t support that, and I don’t know whether it will pass the Legislature or not, but it’ll have a pretty tough time getting the last vote.

14 Responses to Culture War Politics Links

  1. If we could just get things that would be easiest for all..Imagine, no wars, no religion,too…abortion wonderlands, gayness personified in all ways, no evil capitalism and no pesky laws and stuff.

    Then maybe everyone could be happy all the time.

    Ah, one can only dream.

  2. And if only we could have an internet without sanctimonious morons railing against ideologies that do not exist. One can only dream, but why they dream, they should dream big.

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