So now it is over. That every-other every-other year when we wish that the framers of our constitution had set the length of a presidential term at twenty years. (That's a comment on the painful process of electing one of these guys, not a comment on the my desire to hear sixteen more years of 'Now let me be perfectly clear...'). Seriously, I doubt the Constitutional Convention had any idea campaigns would be such a massive stew of gobbledygook. But to be zen about it, well, it is what it is. And tweaking the process would only screw it up more. Don't even get me started on switching over to a popular vote. (The current national trend would be to vote in Lady Gaga or Brad Pitt. Thank God Justin Bieber is under 36!)
But what truly amazes me each time we do this is the crazy debate over abortion. A long time ago it occurred to me that the whole argument was flipped upside down. And if the two parties would listen to me, it might just untangle some of the confusion that saturates the political landscape today.
So let me make this simple proposal.
I propose that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party pry up their planks on abortion and trade them, nailing their opponents planks into their respective platforms. Simple, really. Democrats need to oppose abortion, and Republicans need to promote it.
That's all it would take.
I just think that the party faithful have been paying the price for a major political blunder that started nearly forty years ago. You see, millions of Christian voters have been forced to hold their nose and vote for the party that worships money in order to salve their consciences as they vote to save the lives of countless children. And so many tough-minded pragmatists have been strong-armed into voting for the Heart-on-their-Sleeve party in order to promote a practice that keeps the undesirable population as low as possible.
Think about it. In what world would the current political mess make any sense? Christians vote in large numbers for a party who would rather cut welfare and increase the war machine. At the same time, tender-hearted liberals, who only want to help the helpless, actively campaign for the right to murder little babies. Only Woody Allen could have come up with a more absurd idea.
An economic conservative looks at the world like this: cut expenses, cut the fat, tighten the belt, and make sure everyone is doing their share. This will ensure that money is not wasted, and there will actually be money out there that can be accumulated. Are we to believe that this man or woman is also a major advocate of adding over one million children a year to the population? Children who are more than twice as likely to be born into minority families where the rate of poverty is seven times more likely? Don't be ridiculous. Any conservative worth his weight in the gold he desires to accumulate can easily see that culling the poorer classes is an ideal way to right our economic woes. It just makes good business sense.
A social liberal stands up for everyone: women, working men and women, minorities, the dispossessed, and certainly children. But are we to believe they care so much for everyone except babies? That's preposterous. Forget Woody Allen. This veers off into the morbid nonsensical world of Monty Python. You cannot even begin to find an argument to defend this kind of lunacy.
But as soon as I say this, I'll hear from everyone and their mother that I'm wrong. Because we are so conditioned to this backwards way of thinking that no one is going to take the time to think clearly about it. We get angry, we curse, we call down Heaven's wrath. We will fight to defend our senseless positions. We no longer allow any serious discourse on these matters. We already have our battle flags, and we raise them high as we charge into the fray. But I have a feeling most of us haven't bothered to see what's on those flags anymore.
Parties switching positions is not unheard of. Ronald Reagan, the poster boy of conservatism, was once a Democrat, and only switched to the Republican party when he took the time to look at his party and realize that is had abandoned that for which it had once stood. In the case of abortion, it could just be that memos were mistyped, or sent to the wrong mail slot, and in fact each party has been stumping for the other parties' view all along. The question isn't whether or not this kind of mix up is possible. The question is, would the members of each party be able to recognize such a blunder?
Judging by the last forty years of campaign rhetoric, I would have to say that so far, neither side has. And I doubt they ever will.