In the Dem-Green e-mail wars of the election aftermath, one subject seems to emerge again and again -- women who favor abortion rights being attacked as "single issue voters."
It's fair to say that the friction between Greens and Democrats has been intense and sustained in the post-election period. You've all heard the blame being thrown around on both sides, and have probably grown as weary of it as I have, so I won't rehash the arguments here...
But there is one subject that needs The Diva's elucidation: The "single-issue voter."
Invariably, in a good, heated Dem-Green shout-off, abortion almost always comes up, usually in the context of a Gore voter explaining their vote. And usually the response from the Green in the other corner of the ring is to belittle that person as a "single-issue voter," as if this were the gravest of insults.
Naturally, this sucker punch takes the Dem completely by surprise, because in the Democratic Party, supporting a woman's right to choose isn't something that requires a staunch defense.
So, for all the Dems and Gore voters out there who've either suffered a personal verbal body-slam, or have read or watched the back-and-forth surrounding one, I give you my point of view:
SINGLE-ISSUE VOTING IS A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICE.
This is basic Psychology 101. For a healthy emotional life and healthy relationships, individuals need to establish "boundaries" or "limits." These make up the relationship deal-breakers, the "lines in the sand," of our personal lives. They may differ from person to person, but some boundaries and limits seem almost universal.
For instance, if The Diva told you she met a great guy -- funny, smart, generous, handsome, and romantic -- who liked to put out lit cigarettes on her skin, you might feel compelled, as a concerned friend, to have a discussion with her about "boundaries" or "limits." You wouldn't be out of line.
Politics is no different than any other human relationship. Each person has to set their own boundaries and limits. For many of us, we draw those boundaries and limits at out own skin. For us, there is no freedom where biological slavery is a possibility, or where the wider society feels entitled to consign us to the status of forced incubators, even when that consignment could lead to our death or disability. And for us, there can be no political relationship with a person who fails to respect those boundaries, no matter how great that person is on other issues of concern to us.
Yes, I'm talking about reproductive freedom; and no, I'm not saying that Greens are pro-life. What I am saying is that threats to choice are not a top priority of the Green Party as I see it. Greens are right to criticize corporate indentured servitude and excesses; but they are wrong, in my opinion, to exalt those causes above fundamental freedoms like reproductive choice and religious freedom (I see the two as related). Greens' boundaries may be at the workplace and marketplace. Mine are elsewhere… at my skin.
Some might characterize issues like these -- along with gay rights, racism, anti-Semitism, voucher plans, sex education, and many others -- as "red meat issues," the modern political equivalent of "waving the bloody shirt." I will admit that these are the issues most important to me, and where my real passions burn. An unenlightened remark on any of these subjects has the same effect on me that a toreador waving a cape around has on an angry bull. I won't apologize for it, because I have nothing to be sorry for. Personal autonomy and social justice have always been at the center of my belief system, and at the root of my political affiliations.
Although the Green Party thinks it has bigger fish to fry, this is where my boundaries and limits lie, and where my political allegiances are born or die. I am a single-issue voter in the same way that I am a single-issue lover:
I would no more vote for someone who is cavalier about my right to choose, than I would take to my bed a man who is cavalier about causing me physical or emotional pain.
In politics as in love, boundaries and limits are a psychological necessity, and are the only healthy way to go.
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