"Let's play along, shall we? Let's try, for the sake of argument, to accept the premise of this ad: Abortion is indistinguishable from killing babies and politicians who support abortion rights are the kind of people who would do nothing and pass by if they saw a baby -- a poor, adorably helpless baby -- abandoned in the path of an oncoming train.
The people who composed, prepared, funded and shipped this mailer do not believe any of that.
They're not lying, exactly. They like the idea that something like this might be true. They want the world to be like this. They want the world to be easily divided between heroes and villains, and they want to be able to count themselves on the heroic side of that divide. And if you really, really want something to be true -- if you really, really, deep in your heart, wish you deserved to be able to think of yourself as the heroic rescuer of imperiled babies -- then declaring it to be true isn't really lying, is it?
But however much they want to believe this, they don't. They can't.
"So, as I said, let's play along. There is a baby on the railroad tracks and there is an approaching train. We are witnesses to this impending tragedy. What are we obliged to do? How ought we to respond?
Princeton law professor Robert George has thought long and hard about this. That baby on the railroad tracks, George says, ought "... to be the central issue in the consideration of any voter."
Apparently there's no immediate urgency. No need to rush onto the tracks and whisk the baby away to safety before the train arrives. We just need to remember that the baby and the train are there and, every two or four years, make the abstract acknowledgement of that fact the "central issue" when we vote. If enough of us do this, the theory goes, we may, over time, establish a substantial Republican majority in our national and state legislatures. And that Republican majority may, over time, produce judicial appointments which might, in turn, over time, lead to a reinterpretation of the law and the Constitution in a way that might, over time, save that poor, innocent baby on the railroad tracks.
Seriously, can you imagine any human responding so dispassionately and abstractly and irresponsibly languidly to an actual baby-on-the-railroad-tracks scenario? Anyone who suggested such a response would be regarded, rightly, as a fool or a monster. It's almost too absurd to imagine such a response:
YOU: Ohmygod! There's a baby on the tracks!
THEM: Yes. Yes there is. And next November, we need to be sure that we make this horrible situation the central -- nay, the single -- issue that determines how we cast our votes.
YOU: But the train's coming! Shouldn't we --
THEM: Vote straight-ticket Republican? Yes we should. Yes we must. And, next November, yes we will.
Anyone who talked like that couldn't really believe that there was really a baby on the railroad tracks. And they don't really believe it."
anyway, all of slacktivist is a fantastic read, but let us observe this assessment.
if anyone in this community considers abortion to be mass murder, an atrocity, a holocaust... why have they not responded to this "threat" in kind? we knew how to deal with Hitler, so why do we (or more importantly, conservative religious groups) tepidly condemn the undue course of action pursued by, say, George Tiller's murderer?
it's an unsustainable political belief because it does not scale properly with the premise it puts forth.