This I Believe

Sara - Brentwood, Maryland
Entered on November 9, 2006

I believe that there is only one issue.

I learned in high school that only an idiot would vote based on a candidate’s position on only one issue; “Single-issue voters” are the plague of society. These people, you know who they are, are so dumb that they forget everything else they believe in and cast their vote based on a politician’s claim of being “pro-life.”

Since then, I have considered myself an enlightened, educated voter. I have weighed the pros and cons of candidates, usually choosing to “throw my vote away” in the naïve hope that one day a third party will be able to make a difference in our political system.

But then I decided to question my own education. It sounded right in many ways; I do indeed believe a lot of things that typically “pro-life” politicians do not uphold. I do not like war or poverty any more than the next person, and I think that the death penalty is utterly unnecessary in America.

But the fact is, the fact is, that in my country right now, a mother has the “right” to kill her child. A little baby, such as each one of us once was, totally innocent and vulnerable, can be deprived of life for any reason. A new life should illicit from every one of us compassion and mercy, and, dare I say it, joy. He or she did not “just happen”; rather, that little one has been loved into existence, even if the act that brought it about was one of violence. Love wins where life abides.

They say that a “fetus” has no rights; I kind of agree; Life is not a right. Life is a total and gratuitous gift. Life is true, good and beautiful. The question is not really whether I deserve to exist, whether a child conceived in a woman’s womb has the right to be born; the question is whether someone else can have a total claim on my autonomy just by being there. The fact that you exist means that I may not do certain things without doing violence to both of us. Something new comes into existence when egg and sperm meet. Doesn’t that have to change my life? Doesn’t it demand a response from me? Isn’t the real choice here between love (including its attendant suffering) and violence?

If a man or woman in power cannot see that the most innocent of all human life has a radical claim on his or her parents for mercy and love, how dare I trust that politician with any other lives?

There are only two responses to life: love or violence. In America today, there is only one issue.