Thursday, April 21, 2005

Unless Roe v. Wade Is Overturned, Politics Will Never Get Better.

This is what David Brooks says in his newest NYT column. The Roe v. Wade decision is one of those things that, believe it or not, caused everything that has gone wrong in American politics ever since the early 1970's. It has made politics uncivil, it has caused those arrogant elitist liberals to ignore the mainstream values (which mean wingnut values for Brooks who wouldn't recognize a member of the working classes if one was sent to him in a padded envelope) and it is even responsible for the Republicans' nuclear option of banning filibustering in the Senate. If Roe v. Wade had never happened the wingnuts politicians would be kissing and hugging communists all over Washington D.C..

The best response to this inanity is Michael Berube's rewriting of the column by substituting Brown v. Board of Education (the case that integrated schools) for Roe v. Wade (thanks to commenter norbizness for the tip). I have little to add to Michael's masterful treatment of the topic, but what little I do have is important to point out.

First, overturning Roe v. Wade would not make politics more civil. What would happen is this: Wingnuts would no longer necessarily want to vote Republican. This would mean that the Republicans would have to invent another hot button issue to keep the fundamentalists angry and ready to vote. The most likely candidate is banning all contraception. Now this would make politics very interesting, I think, but civil is not exactly the word that comes to mind.

Second, even if Brooks was right and everyone in politics would join arms in the walk towards Rapture, the rest of this life would look increasingly uncivil. There would be lots more dead women around, for one thing.

Third, though I don't exactly wonder about Brooks's sanity anymore (I have enough evidence by now) I do find it odd that only a few days ago he wrote this:

You see the febrile young teens in their skintight spaghetti strap tank tops with their acres of exposed pelvic skin. You hear 50 Cent's ode to oral sex, "Candy Shop," throbbing from their iPods. You open the college newspapers and see the bawdy sex columns; at William and Mary last week I read a playful discussion of how to fondle testicles and find G spots."

And now he tells us that Roe v. Wade should go. Brooks is a man and he is not expected to wear skintight tank tops or expose his pelvic skin (thanks for small mercies!). He is never going to become pregnant by rape or incest or by accident. He is never going to know how any of those alternatives might make him feel. Given this, he should write his columns with a little more humility, with a little less cocky arrogance. But if he was able to perform such feats he wouldn't be a wingnut.