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From V-chips to Vetoes

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Message Jayne Stahl
  Don't you just love the progression, or regression, we've made, over the past several years, from figuring out how to block what we don't want to see on our TV screen to the food we eat to whether to follow through on the innumerable opportunities afforded us to procreate every time we engage in what we consider to be harmless fun. And, make no mistake, were it up to this administration and, arguably, this Supreme Court, the days of harmless fun may well be over.

Yes, friends, President Bush whose muscular veto of the Iraq war funding bill captured last week's headlines now promises to exercise that fuel-efficient veto power once again, only th is time to veto any effort made by a Democratic Congress to mitigate against his flagrant goal of doing to Roe v. Wade what he did to Baghdad.

The reaction to the president's growing obsession to use his newly discovered, and clearly intoxicating, veto power on bills that roll back choice should come as no surprise, especially in light of the fact that 30% of those Republican wanna be presidents, at the Reagan library debate ,said they don't "believe in" evolution. Excuse me, but I thought the days when one believed in evolution were over, and that evolution has been established as scientific fact. Maybe these fellows were thinking of "evilution," a process that happens when the axis of evil is allowed to metastasize from a morbid abstraction to a twisted rationale for torture, illegal search and seizure, and unjustified, unlimited detention.

When watching the debate Thursday night, I confess, I had one of those V-chip moments myself , and wished my TV came equipped with the apparatus requisite to block hypocrisy, so I wouldn't have to watch ten rich white guys talking as if they gave a flying fajita about the middle class, or the working man and woman in this country. Having to listen to obscene talk of securing the border against illegal immigrants coming from the mouths of those those who have gained the most from their exploitation was more than I could bare.

So, instead, I proceeded to keep track of just how swiftly, almost effortlessly , this commander guy has managed to work his way through the alphabet, and how far he has come from unitary to make it squarely into veto country.

'I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage," the president wrote in a letter within hours of his party's first debate. And if, as he suggests, he really opposes the taking of human life "at any stage," how can he suppport legislation that furthers the destruction of the lives of more American service members, as well as those of Iraqis? Can it be that the lives of those yet to be born mean more to this president than the lives of those in combat? How can one who opposes stem cell research out of concern for human life, in its conceptual stage, turn around and authorize $124 billion more to divest of breath many thousands? By what quirk of logic can this come to pass? May he be held to account for those words by the widows, children, mothers, and fathers of every man and woman who lost their lives as a result of his illegal, and irrelevant war

While the talking heads were busy keeping score of whose Republican mitts went up first in response to a question that one prospective nominee, the next day, declared to be irrelevant, ("Why does it matter whether the next president of the United States believes in evolution?"), those who want another decade in which to deny women access to health care services which will not only save the lives of their "preborn" progeny, but their own lives, as well, were at home licking their chops at the clear and present danger of a McCain presidency.

What a cynical ideology it is that confuses the right to life with the right to live, and that uses a frozen embryo as a pawn in a game to promote the politics of privilege, to ensure that poverty is generational by denying a woman the right to determine her own destiny. Over the past six years, we've witnessed the collapse of opportunity across the board; this is just one more perverse attempt to instill a sense of caste into those who dare to strive. The women who will most be impacted, were Roe to be overturned, would be the poor women, those for whom a college education, and a career, will, once again, become a distant hope.

Upon hearing Mr. Bush's resolve to stay the course, and turn back the constitutional amendment that allows for legalized abortion, Douglas Johnson, the head of the National Right Committee told the Associated Press how much he appreciates "that the president is drawing a bright line," and a bright line it is, indeed, a border that separates rich from poor, literate from illiterate, privileged from disenfranchised. But what happens to a country when the voice of the majority is stifled for the protection and profit of the minority? Stay tuned, there hasn't been a V-chip made yet that is powerful enough to keep images of growing domestic sectarian violence from coming to a theatre near you.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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