Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Preserving Life: A Controversial Reflection On the Pro-Choice Debate

A flower does not begin a flower but a seedling, planted by the two hands of its gardener. It is not without a little love, care, and some patience, provided by those two tender hands over time, that that once tiny seedling can flourish and eventually blossom into the beautiful flower it’s destined to become.

Epictetus, an ancient Greek philosopher, once said, “No great thing is created suddenly.” In essence, greatness is an incubation process, and it takes time to develop, much like a mother’s carrying a child in her womb. But without a chance, greatness can never be achieved; it can never even be acquired, let alone perceived. When we support the idea of abortion as a feasible means to an end, we support the most basic violation of human rights: the right to LIFE, liberty, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. How can we be so selfish as to deny another the right to live, to have aspirations and dreams of their own, and to strive to achieve greatness for themselves? We will never know if we never give them a chance; instead, we often look towards the route that will best quench the thirst for resolution to our “problem”, our “mistake”—by diminishing the affects of cognitive dissonance, and clearing our head of the many conflicting thoughts that sail across our guilty mind like a boat amidst a tumultuous sea of regret and negative emotions. Unfortunately for many, the resolution to their “problem” is abortion.

And now to propose some questions… In America, do we not go through 12+ years of schooling? And do we not learn in the course of those 12 years at least once the process of human reproduction and the possible result of our participation in sexual acts between two members of opposite sex? While it may be said that not everyone in the world has such access to sexual education, and in some cases (such as rape or incest) not everyone is entirely at fault and at will for the result of pregnancy, it goes to say, that in the United States, where this topic is of great concern and importance to both men and women alike, we cannot deny then that we don’t have at least some knowledge of the consequences of having sex. Using negligence as an excuse for our life problems is not a valid excuse whatsoever.

Furthermore, in addressing the idea that men are in no way and should not in any way be part of a woman’s decision making process of whether or not she is to have an abortion is, simply put, absurd. While men may only contribute the sperm and the women do carry the baby for the first nine months of its pre-natal life, it still remains that that baby would not be in the first place without both, that that child is not strictly of one but possessing genes from both the parents, that what is hers is equally his. I know a father would be greatly displeased if he did not have a say in his own child’s life—as if he himself had no responsibility in the creation of human life whether by will or by unplanned pregnancy, and that ultimately, his opinion on the matter was of little to no importance. It just so happens, that women carry the baby—that's nature—but the presence of the way things simply are as a result of Nature’s workings should not mean the absence of opinion and responsibility of one’s actions on the male’s part.

In continuation of said point, the woman’s justification that, “it’s my body and I have complete say over what comes and goes into and out of it ” may appear quite logical and indisputable at a glance, but under more careful examination, and in arguing about abortion in particular, it is in all actuality quite paradoxical. I suppose the woman then, in cases of consented sex, had “complete say over what comes and goes into and out” of her body in respect to allowing the male to ejaculate inside her, and as a result is now held personally accountable for the pregnancy. Furthermore, when the male then decides to leave her because he finds out she is now pregnant, he is not responsible for the child because “he has no say” over a woman’s decision to keep or abort her child. Ludicrous? Any sensible person would agree, that yes it is. But it is easy to see how the implied context of a statement can easily be flipped to work against it once that statement is recognized as being contradictory. Obviously a man leaving his pregnant female counterpart is a reflection of him evading his own personal responsibilities and obligation to be there for his baby’s birth and watch them grow up. So if he has an indisputable obligation to support his wife in her pregnancy, then he has an indisputable say in the life of his child. Anything contrary to that understanding would support the obviously ridiculous hypothetical situation described above.

Overall and simply put, a life is a life. Once human life is created, that individual has the right to live. They have a right to learn, to grow, to laugh, to play… just like any other child who was given the chance to thrive. Though we may all not achieve greatness, we have the right to try, and with a bit of self-cultivation and some determination we can do just that. Perhaps, all those lives who were never given a chance of their own could have grown into someone exceptionally noteworthy, someone admirable, respectable—a passionate civil rights activist like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the world’s brightest scientist who goes on to making an astonishing ground-breaking discovery in the fields of science, medicine, or technology. Perhaps they will flourish into a man or woman of remarkable character like the wise Mahatma Gandhi, or speak kind words of peace and love like Jesus. No great thing is created suddenly, and that’s the truth.

Don’t be the one to say yes to abortion; always remember, adoption is an option, and one couple’s unwanted child may prove to be the ultimate blessing to those who cannot have children of their own.

We only have one life to live here on Earth and one chance to live it. Their life is in your hands.

A life is a life.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Solemn Poem

Whispering wind is all that’s heard amongst the sleepy land so glum,

As powdered snow falls hastily, like dust of diamonds from the sky,

Contrasting shades of phantom darkness, brought about as dusk grows nigh;

The sealing of a solemn fate, is very soon to come…

It stings her ears with frosty breath, that frigid howling breeze.

Wincing from the biting gusts, at hands grown numb by cold,

She cradles in her tired arms a whimpering child, not that old.

She presses on –that weary girl–for fear that they shall freeze…

Against the sea of snow she wades, though weathered by the squall,

Blackness shrouds the land before her, beneath a somber sky of gray,

She glances upwards in distress, fearing what will come today.

In silent prayer she sloshes forward, holding tight her babe and shawl.

Against time she races incessantly, to escape her surely forlorn fate.

Like creeping specters in the night fatigue and weakness haunt her;

The blustery winds and swirling snow make seeing things a gray-white blur,

But still she stumbles onward, in worry that it’s getting late.

To a crooked tree amidst the wood she stops to rest a while,

Out of breath and beating heart, she slumps down on her knees,

She lays the babe amidst the snow, beneath the twisted tree.

“I’ll close my eyes for just a bit,” she whispered with a smile.

And so, she laid her head down and she gazed up at the moon.

While ice-cold tears of hopelessness streamed softly down her cheeks,

Exhaustion overtook her and she drifted fast asleep,

The powdered snow she made her bed had come to be her icy tomb.

Wrapped up in his tattered rags, the child whimpered in the snow,

To his mother he cried out, but to his rescue no one came,

And near him lay a grim reminder of how his fate is much the same.

Succumbed by sleep, he closed his eyes, and joined his mother’s tale of woe.

Copyright ©2011 Michael Althouse

A Dream to Remember

Some say that dreams are a way in which we become connected with the spirit world. Often we dream of things such as deceased relatives or long lost friends and find ourselves pondering the significance of what appears to be an inexplainable phenomena. Are these people simply just on our mind? Is this an evocation of subconscious thought? Is this all just explainable by an understanding of basic biological and neuroscientific properties of the brain? … or could it just be that some things in life are just meant to go unanswered?

I remember the dream as if it were a part of my everyday reality. It was a beautiful spring day. The great yellow sun sat in the sky bathing the earth in its radiance. A soft breeze gently rolled across the air, providing a pleasing compliment to the mildly warm temperature and the pastel blue horizon. The door to my grandmother’s kitchen was open, and I remember standing at the edge of the kitchen table by the doorway admiring the beautiful weather. I remember at one point taking the time to notice a pair of my grandfather’s old Italian leather boots out on the porch—he always used to wear them. But I often found myself back at the corner of that kitchen table standing there by the open doorway. It would seem as though I was meant to be there for a reason: to see my grandfather. Like an angel emerging from the light of Heaven, I remember he made his entrance from the brightness of the day and walked into the house. It was a comforting feeling seeing him standing there, he looked the same way he did nearly ten years ago before his passing. I knew inside me he had been dead, but I knew that what I was seeing was real, he was there alive and in the flesh. I don’t remember exchanging words with him, I just know that I was happy and I remember living out the rest of the day with him and my other family members with those feelings smiling inside me. And then like the blink of an eye, I was awake.

April 5, 2011 will mark the ten year anniversary of my grandfather’s death. I haven’t found myself thinking about him too much lately, and the last time I dreamt of him was after his death several years ago. Some may search for a perfectly rational, scientific answer to what I experienced, but I have reason to believe that my dream happened because it was meant to be. I believe my grandfather was there in my dream, that he was real, but I still ask myself why is it that he decided to show up now? Did he want to tell me something, to prepare me for some future happening, to comfort me?Or maybe he simply wanted to say hello and let me know that he is always watching over me? Perhaps I will never know the true answer, but I do know that the time I spent with my grandfather then and there inside my dream was precious time, and a moment I will never forget.

Until we meet again, Pop Pop, rest peacefully.