There is a question that always bothers me when I get into political arguments, primarily those that revolve around social issues. Why is it that those that take the most restrictive position, the same people who wish to force that position on the rest of the population? Rather than the question being, "how do we find ways for all of us to live what we believe?", it becomes, " how do we find ways to manipulate the law so that the rights of the other side are taken away and ours are strengthened?
The question has arisen over and over in our political discourse with terribly polarizing results. Before people start jumping on this article both pro and con, understand that the problem isn't limited to conservatives. Liberals sometimes utilize the same tactics as those on the other side when these battles ensue.
Beginning with the issue of GUN POLICY, both the liberal and the conservative side have been overstepping their positions by trampling on the rights of the other side. Conservatives want the right to unfettered gun ownership, concealed carry laws, gun show purchases, etc. and are arguing that there is a second amendment right to these policies. They believe that the most radical gun control advocates on the left want to ensure that all guns are banned and the second amendment is repealed. Most liberals, on the other hand believe that the 2nd amendment isn't absolute and that there should be certain weapons that are too dangerous for private ownership in the community. They are also fearful concerning concealed carry laws make them more, not less likely that they will be harmed by guns. The belief that either all guns are good and covered by the second amendment or that all guns are bad in the hands of civilians and should be banned under the second amendment, are both absolutely unreasonable and attack the rights of the other group. Gun owners should be allowed to own guns, non-gun owners should be able to feel more safe in a country that is rife with guns.
The question is clearer on other social issues. If we look at the issue of SAME SEX MARRIAGE, the differentiation of the two sides is about as clear as possible. The argument is not whether or not it is a religious issue. That is for theologians to determine. The discussion is about same sex marriage as a civil or legal issue. Those who are vehemently advocating against same sex marriage are saying that the state should prohibit any same sex couple from marrying and receiving those benefits accrued to married couples. They argue that by allowing same sex couples to marry, the institution of marriage will be irreparably harmed. Therefore no same sex couple should have the right to marry. Marriage is, to them, the union of one man and one woman. Those that support same sex marriage, however, indicate that they have no problem with those who are in traditional marriages and only want the same legal and civil benefits of other couples. They see the issue as a civil rights issue. When looking at these arguments it is obvious that the anti-same sex marriage community wants to deny a right to segment of the population while those who support same sex marriage want that right extended. The question has been how would same sex marriage affect those who are in traditional marriages? The answer has yet to be given.
The other social issues that the nature of the argument is absolutely clear are CONTRACEPTION and ABORTION. Although Roe v. Wade was decided by a 7-2 vote 40 years ago giving women the absolute right to an abortion through the first trimester of pregnancy and a limited right thereafter, the debate has raged unabated for the years afterward. The issue has even extended into the contraception area with the advent of birth control methods that prevent to fertilized egg from attaching and developing. The anti-choice, pro-life population want to have abortion banned under all circumstances, or at least in all but the most extreme cases. They would also have the sale and use of abortofascients banned. These bans would be extended to the entire population and could include prison time both for the mother and the physician. Pro-choice individuals believe that Roe v. Wade should continue as the law as written. The pro-choice individual, however, is not advocating either abortion or the use of abortofascients. They are advocating that the decision to either have or not have a child rests with the woman who is carrying that child. Everything possible should be done to insure that the child is born to a caring, capable family, but, ultimately, the decision is the mother's.
We see the same debate in the discussions of the issue of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Those church and state inclusionists believe that the founding fathers developed America as a Christian nation and that the Christian church is and should be a critical part of American society. The separationists believe that the founders were adamant that the United States was established as a secular country and even more, a country that welcomed all religions or those with no religion. In order to implement that welcome, the government has to be completely secular, yet must allow all religions to practice in their own churches, schools, and homes.
Inclusiveness versus exclusiveness has been an on-going debate since our nation has begun. Whether we argued about the merits or evils of slavery, the right of women to vote, religious discrimination in college admissions, the interrment of Japanese Americans in World War II, there always seemed to be a good reason to restrict the rights of certain individuals. We've been a wise nation, however, and although it may have take us too many years to correct our mistakes, we generally correct them. Our country has been a bastion for increasing rather than decreasing rights. Today's battles are mostly in the social-political realm. We will probably expand those rights too.