I like the word “caveat” and I never get to use it. So indulge me two caveats and a contradiction at the top here.
Caveat one: I’m not qualified to write this piece. I’m not sure I know anyone who is, “’cept for the Pope maybe in Rome” as the song lyric goes. And even then I’m not sure.
Caveat two: At the end of the day, there is no answer to the question “Should everyone become a parent?” Because the minute you believe you can answer that, you’d be compelled to figure out how to guide people based on your decision. Would you write a peppy brochure? Would you draft some legislation? Would you make parenting classes mandatory for anyone trying to get lucky in a bar on Saturday night? You’d be fortunate to end up with a public access cable show nobody watched.
That said, here’s the contradiction: It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year when morons leave their children locked in hot automobiles, resulting in criminal charges in the good scenarios, and horrifying death in the worst scenarios. Let’s not even play around with some leeway on this. If you have abandoned your child in an automobile that is dangerously or murderously heated by the sun, you may not qualify to be the caretaker of those children.
It’s a contradiction because we live in a time in which organized forces are at work attempting to ban birth control and block access to modern developments such as the “morning after” pill in an attempt to change America’s moral path by insisting that sex be only about procreation. Put another way, a perfect world for these organized forces would be one in which everybody who has sex would only be doing so to bring children into the world. There simply wouldn’t be any of the other kind of sex. Oh, and nobody would be gay.
You’re thinking, “This isn’t news. This battle has been waging since my prom night.” Yes and no. Here’s what I think brings a new dimension: The Republican Party is now crumbling under the weight of its own hubris, and with it will go the often nauseating attempts to make government a tool of the religious right.
But the religious right isn’t going anywhere and they will find new and different ways to turn back the hands of time. Most especially consolidated within the their ranks is the movement, the jihad if you will, to make women the sexual slaves of men by repealing Roe v. Wade, repressing young people’s access to sex education and birth control, and fighting every new bio medical breakthrough that stands a chance of bringing more humanity to the decision to have children. I could say that I suspect that decision often results in child abuse. But you and I both know it’s more than a suspicion.
Before we unfortunately begin again (and we will) to fight over issues of birth control, reproduction, abortion and some notion of “a right to life,” could we please first agree that the living have a right to life? Never mind the religious right’s psychotic break in simultaneously fighting for “life” and then insisting that young people die in Iraq for oil. I’m talking street level here: People who have somehow been guided to have children when they are clearly lacking in talent for parenting. Otherwise, they would never leave those children to die in an overheated automobile.
Last week a Thousand Oaks mother was arrested for leaving her sons, ages one and four, inside a hot vehicle while she shopped at Target. She was booked on suspicion of felony child endangerment. Did she make a mistake? Was she tired? Again, these children were ages one and four. According to police, the temperature in the car exceeded 110 degrees. Is it the burden of having two children instead of just one that somehow makes rational the thought of “dashing” into a store while those kids are locked alone inside a glass and steel box?
I told you at the top, I’m not qualified to write this piece. But I did. Because summer is here, along with all of the on-going realities of life including those who pretend to know “life” enough to dictate its path to others. Al Gore may think that global warming is “an inconvenient truth,” but I know of another one.