Thursday, December 16, 2010

Instead of a Truce, let’s sit down and find Common Ground

One of the hot button political issues for candidates is always abortion.  In 2008 we saw each candidate being asked the extent of their pro-life views and their history of decision making on this issue. Mike Huckabee was one of the few who actually engaged in a discussion about what it means to be pro-life.  He didn’t avoid the issue and was actively engaged in answering it.  This is because Huckabee became politically active because of his views on the sanctity of life.  He didn’t take up the cause after he entered politics.  He entered politics to help promote the culture of life which to Huckabee means from the moment of conception until natural death-we should care about a human being.

In 2009, Huckabee sat down with Jon Stewart and had a meaningful conversation about abortion.  Huckabee went about changing the hearts and minds in the audience by respecting Jon’s opinion and being honest in his own.  Don’t we wish more politicians would do just that?  Huckabee explained what he said on the Daily Show segment in his book, Do the Right Thing,

“I am pro-life but that for me pro-life does not mean that we should care about a child only during gestation.  I believe that the life of the unborn is sacred and has value, but that life does not lose that value once leaving the birth canal.  To truly be pro-life means that we should be just as much concerned about the child who is eight years old and living under a bridge or in the back seat of a car, or the life of an elderly person who is eighty years old, terminally ill, and living in a long-term-care facility. Truly being pro-life requires that at every stage of a person’s life, regardless of the function of that person, there is a respect and protection of that life.”  That explanation was met with a warm round of applause.

The main stream media doesn’t allow for these kinds of discussions. They toss out the abortion question in a debate and give candidates 60 seconds to give their response.   In doing so, they demonize those on both sides of the political aisle.  Republicans are viewed as zealots who would make a young girl raped by her uncle not get an abortion. Democrats are viewed as lenient in that they want to give out free abortions on demand to anyone who has had unprotected sex.  But somewhere in between lies the truth.

The truth is that both parties would like to have less abortions.  Both parties would like to have healthy women.  Both parties want women to have reproductive rights.  Differences include:  Republicans want to limit abortion as much as they can by instituting laws that will ban partial birth abortion, require parental consent, require 24 hour waiting periods, require viewing of an ultrasound, and banning of any taxpayer funding of abortion.  Democrats want women to have access to all types of birth control, freedom to make their own choices without government intervention, safe legal abortion, and funding of abortion for poor women.

In June of this year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was interviewed by Andy Ferguson of  the Weekly Standard and said, “the next president, whoever he is, “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until the economic issues are resolved.”  Daniels addressed this again in December as reported by LifeNews when:  

he told 6News in Indianapolis that conservatives in the state legislature can move forward with pro-life legislation so long as it doesn’t distract from the economic and education-related legislation he prefers to push. 

“As long as it doesn’t get in the way of the really crucial (objectives) — keeping Indiana in the black, improving our economy and bringing big reform to things like education. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of that, there’s plenty of time and capacity,” Daniels said.

Daniels also told 6News that his call for a truce was not aimed at the Indiana state legislature, but Congress.

“I was answering questions about the nation’s situation, which I think is very grave in terms of our economic and financial future. I said the priorities ought to be there,” Daniels added.

Realistic compromise can only be found if the issues are discussed.  If you put them on the back burner, they remain untouchable, and therefore beyond a solution.  By sitting down with an opponent, one can find areas of agreement.  If we call a Truce, we can never bridge the great divide.  Huckabee never wants to give up on the pro-life cause.  That is why he is willing to have a discussion with any person regarding abortion.  He’s honest, forthright, and engaging.  He may not agree with you, but he’ll listen to your point of view.

Truces, such as the one Indiana Governor Daniels suggested, are called when there are no areas of agreement.  And while legal abortions may never be eliminated, their frequency and necessity can be drastically reduced.  Both parties can work on promoting and providing better sex education, counseling resources that include encouraging adoption, healthcare services for the mother and new born baby, and legal resources for a better answer through adoption.

I hope that as the race heats up for 2012, Huckabee continues to show leadership by pressing the social issues and showing how two people with opposing views can sit down and find common ground.

Please check out Gov. Huckabee in his interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at the links below:

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