Friday, March 27, 2009

who's Margo Crawford?

Many of you have read my blog under my pseudonym for some time. Most of you know my real name by now, either cuz we grew up together or because we've gotten to know each other a bit outside this blog.

So who's Margo Crawford?

I am. And I'm ready to tackle Shakespeare's eternal question "Would a rose smell as sweet by any other name?" by simply going by my own given name. And for those of you who no longer find the metaphor of an empty ink well of any significance, or were merely curious as to what "the face of Margo...er, Catherine" looks like, I've even updated my photo to an actual picture of me.

What does this mean for the blog? Not much. I'll still be me as predictably as I always am. What does this mean for humanity? I dunno... these changes may usher in the end of the world.

At any rate, welcome to the next phase in my own evolution.

Friday, March 20, 2009

You're yes then you're no....

If you knew that Proposition 22 and Proposition 8 may not have ever been necessary propositions, would it change your mind about them?

In short, these two propositions were brought before the people of California to vote on whether or not marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman or broadened to include same-sex unions.


It turns out that the California Family Code, sections 297 and 297.5 allow for same-sex unions to exist:

"Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses."

These registered domestic partnerships are equal to marriages, legally, and are protected from discrimination and partners in such a union are legally considered spouses.

If there already exists a legal union of same-sex partners, then why is same-sex marriage even an issue? Is it because of the definition of the word marriage? If so, then the people of California have twice said that they -- as a majority -- want a marriage to be exclusively between a man and a woman. Does the California Supreme court have a right to overthrow their passing of Prop 22 and later Prop 8? Is the court imposing legislating from the bench or upholding the law?

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hot Topic: abortion and rhetoric

"Someone against abortion might define 'abortion as 'the murder of an
innocent still-born person'. This definition carries a negative connotation,
as the term 'murder' suggests that abortion is wrongful killing, and it also
assumes that the aborted fetus is already a person. Such a definition is
surely not appropriate in a rational debate on the moral legitimacy of
abortion, even though it might be useful as a rhetorical tool"
(Joe Lau
Department of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong, August 2003).

Someone might also describe pregnancy as having a parasite growing inside the uterus.

But let's look at "murder" and "abortion" beyond their trigger words. "Murder", according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, is "the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought". Well, I'm not sure how many people get an abortion out of malice for their unborn child. Most probably do it out of fear: fear they don't have the money nor the education to raise the child, fear that the father of the child will beat them, fear of their parents, fear of the unknown, etc.

And let's look at the rest of the definition: "the crime of unlawfully killing..." well, thanks to Roe vs. Wade, it's not unlawful to have an abortion, therefore there is no crime. So, strictly speaking, abortion is not murder. Ok, moving on.

According to Lau's definition, the abortion is the murder of an innocent still-born person. Answers.com says that the definition of "stillborn" is "dead at birth". Well how, Mr. Lau, can you kill something already dead? (I'll let it slide that it also has to be born and dead to be considered stillborn.)

Mr. Lau's definition doesn't work.

But let's go on. He assumes that those against abortion consider the fetus a person. Now, I am not going to argue the philosophy, psychology, biology, or morality of whether or not a fetus is a person. I'm going to argue that there is nothing to kill if the fetus isn't a person, and you can't even kill it if it's dead, as in the aforementioned definition, so why are we discussing abortion in Mr. Lau's terms?

Let me ask you this: if we can legally kill something that doesn't exist anyway (not my definition), we morally wrap our minds around genocide (in this case, infanticide). Why can't we, therefore, euthanize our elderly like we do our old dogs and cats? Why can't we "put them out of their misery" of old age, cancer, dementia, brittle bones, etc. Come on, we kill our kids in the womb! What's the difference between deciding the first breaths of infants and the last breaths of the elderly? The difference is, I offer for your consideration, that fetuses have no eyes, no smiles, no names, no faces, no emotional to pull at heartstrings. But are they any less alive?

Is a plant a viable organism while it is still a seed or a seedling and still growing? Is it "alive" before it shoots out of the ground and grows leaves? Is it "born" only after it has sprouted roots?

No, I'm not going to go off on the tangent of the evils of eating plants, because "plants have feelings too". I honestly don't care if you eat cows or elephant ears. (For those that don't know, an elephant ear, in this context, is a large green leafed plant, not the actual ear of an elephant).

But I am going to say that Joe Lau, by his own definition, uses rhetoric to attempt to argue that those who oppose abortion are wrong to do so. I say it's wrong to grow peas in a 5th grade science class because they are only going to be discarded after the experiment and not planted into soil to continue to grow and thrive and become mature plants!! Plant Killers!!!!

Now go hug your grandmother.