I don’t try to be brilliant, it just comes to me.
So I wasn’t surprised when, without even trying, I came up with the most innovative sarcastic social experiment since Swift’s A Modest Proposal.
I’ve been thinking a lot about abortion and gay rights recently, as the Liberal Lion within me wakes up, indulges in a long, huge yawn, and takes stock of the current political climate. Though up and roaring through the Terri Schiavo debacle of 2005, he was soon lulled into a deceptively peaceful sleep by the conservative talk radio I’ve listened to of late.
But as I said, the Lion is now awake, and pontificating about politics in that annoying way Liberal Lions will.
“McCain is compromised by his base, not to be trusted.” He growls. “And you can’t trust a damn thing you see on television. Liberal media my tail, I’d like to see a one of them not in the administration’s pocket. Obama is the Manchurian Candidate, can’t be trusted either. Johnny Damon is the True Antichrist.” (the Lion is decisive in his thoughts, and liberal to an almost paranoid degree. Also a rabid Red Sox fan.)
The Liberal Lion was first prodded from his nap by Texas legislators and their ever-more-creative ideas to strip women of their rights to choose.
The Lion was further stirred from his slumber by two classmates of mine, both of whom were gay and neither of whom was terribly pleased to have fewer rights than I.
The Lion was pleased to hear they’d emailed the president about his agenda as it related to them, but the Lion became quite upset when they received a form letter in response (although I don’t know what he was expecting).
“That basically says,” he intoned, “Thank you for writing. We are sorry you will spend eternity burning in hell.”
Then came the Idea.
“Hey,” the Lion posited, “what if we gave those conservative freaks” – I apologize again for the Lion, his perceptions of conservatives are both highly outspoken and highly uncomplimentary – “exactly what they wanted?”
“What?” I said. I admit, this was so uncharacteristic that I was brought up short.
“Well, let’s let them pass all kind of legislation restricting abortion,” he began, “and they have a crack at convincing any girl they can to carry her child to term. We’ll throw open the doors to all the clinics! Let the bible-thumpers and blood-throwers come right into the waiting room! We might even let them administer counseling!”
He was starting to frighten me a little. His teeth were bared and glinting in the late-afternoon sunlight, and there was an eerie gleam in his eye.
“But here’s the catch,” he went on, “any child born in this system – any fetus they convince someone not to abort – will be adopted, sure. Adopted, by law, by a loving, well-adjusted gay couple.”
He began to chortle in the way one does when one suspects that one has solved all the world’s problems. I too began to giggle. It was actually a kind of awesome idea.
“Then the gay people who want children can have them, and the fetuses that the conservatives are so worried about won’t be aborted! Everyone’s happy!” he summed up.
It was then that I saw the fatal flaw in his scheme. I felt I had to point it out, even if he lost his new-found glee.
“But, Lion,” I pointed out, “that won’t make the conservatives happy.”
The Lion looked taken aback, his face crumpling in sadness and disbelief. Or perhaps he had a fly on his nose. “But why not?” he whined.
“They want to prevent the ‘death'” – here the lion utilized his paws to make elaborate air quotes – “of all these aborted fetuses. That is their stated agenda. This will accomplish what they want.”
I laughed gently at his naiveté, a fragile remnant left over from the 60s, when he was more of a lamb. “Oh, Lion,” I said, as I affectionately ruffled his mane, “that is only what they say they want, not what they actually want.”
“But why would their stated objective be different from their actual objective?” Despite his verbosity, he looked woefully confused.
“Because if they told us their true objective, we wouldn’t agree to it, silly,” I explained. The Liberal Lion can be so dense sometimes.
“Well, what is their true objective?”
I sighed. “It’s complicated. Lion, have you heard it said that rape is not about sex?”
“I have heard that, yes,” he responded thoughtfully. “Isn’t it about control over another human being? Usually because one feels one has no control, over one’s own life?”
“That’s right. And when you think about it, taking away a woman’s right NOT to be a mother – or, conversely, a gay couple’s right TO be parents – is exactly the same thing. It isn’t about morality, it’s about having control over how people live their lives. That’s what I think, anyway.”
“Hmmmm,” the Lion purred, deep in his throat. Then he brightened. “That might actually make my suggestion better,” he said enthusiastically. “Puts the evangelicals between a rock and a hard place, doesn’t it? Almost a Sophie’s choice, I’d say.”
He adopted a game-show-host tone. “Today, we have gay people and abortion………both are abominations in the face of God………….but which is worse?” Then he rolled on his back laughing.
“That seems a little cruel, don’t you think?” I reproached.
He turned grave again. “So is controlling other people’s lives under little or no flimsy pretext,” he informed me.
Can’t argue with him there.