The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

It used to be called Armistice Day because, at that hour on that day, the war to end all wars finally ended. It was 1918; 87 years ago. I spend much time reading and thinking about World War II; I told Emily not long ago that one cannot understand the world around us without an understanding of that that war. But, truth be told, it is the Great War that defines our modern world.

Notice my use of the present tense. The people we today call Islamic terrorists fight for a day when they can return to the glory that ended “more than 80 years ago…” It was then that the world we know was formed.

[from Wikipedia] World War I proved to be the decisive break with the old world order, marking the final demise of absolutist monarchy in Europe. Four empires were shattered: The German, the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Russian. Their four dynasties, the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, the Ottomans, and the Romanovs, who had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell during or after the war.

West Wing and the ‘08 Election

I was watching The West Wing the other night, a program I started watching just to have something to talk to my father about, and in-between all my complaining I ran right over a moment when I thought, “yeah…good point.” It was towards the end when the Democratic candidate was talking to a women’s rights advocate. This woman was threatening to throw her support to the Republican candidate because, since they were both pro-choice, why not support the better man? The big issue was not over abortion itself but over restrictions on abortion. Since, as I said, both were pro-choice, the argument was over who favored which restrictions. The Republican candidate favored parental notification and was 100% against partial-birth abortions while the Democratic candidate’s position was no restrictions at all. As the Democratic candidate and the woman were arguing, he said to her, (I paraphrase from memory) “do you favor abortion based on race?” She, of course said no. He continued, “do you favor abortion based on IQ?” She said no again. He spoke so fast, I wonder how many people caught what he was driving at. He concluded by telling her that it looks like she does favor some restrictions on abortion as does he, but it is not our place to put our restrictions on others and therefore, he votes for no restrictions at all.

I commend the writers for going this far. How many of us have considered what our restrictions would be? For instance, if homosexuality was found out to have a genetic root, what if a couple decided to abort the baby because they found it to be so? What if a woman decides to abort the baby because it’s going to have a cleft lip? Where do you draw the line?

Now, on the elections: It’s possible that the Republicans will nominate a pro-choice candidate in Rudy Guliani. Why? How? Well, it’s because the issue, as illustrated in the TV show mentioned above, has come a long way in recent years. I believe, thanks to George W. Bush. The first words I ever heard come out of his mouth were, when asked about Roe v. Wade, he said simply that he wasn’t interested in overturning the law; he was interested in changing people’s hearts. I can accept a pro-choice candidate because if I were king of the world right now, I would not overturn Roe v. Wade. I want something much bigger. I want the world to know that abortion is bad; just like I want the world to know that divorce is bad. I don’t know which is worse sometimes. The family in this country is falling apart.

OK, enough ranting. Here’s my free advice for Democrats in 2008: First, the race has already started, so get it in gear. Second, you are not running against Bush or Cheney! Figure out something positive to say about you. Tell us what you’re going to do about the war in Iraq. You may wish you can run away from it, but you can’t. (nobody can) If the Republicans put up a pro-choice candidate why should anyone vote for you? Keep watching The West Wing for the answer!