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Contrary to the line Barack Obama used in his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech...."we are not red states and blue states..we are the United States"......we are, actually, a deeply divided country. And the divisions are so deep that true reconciliation, I think, is impossible.
I realize that conservative Americans detest liberal and progressive policies. American progressives and liberals, on the other hand, reject what they consider to be faith-based, and proven to have failed, conservative ideas. Because policies and ideas are difficult to strip away from the personalities who support them.....Paul Ryan becomes, then, a "granny starver".....and Barack Obama a "Kenyan socialist", and on and on. Never the twain shall meet.
Out there in the states, however.....where the policy rubber meets the harsh reality road.....the differences are not so easy to just name call away. There are real-life consequences to our deeply divided country.
Take, for example, the state of Kansas. Kansas, a hopelessly red state, is about to pass the strictest anti-abortion law in the nation. And that is saying something in the light of the hundreds of anti-abortion laws passed in the last year or so in numerous red states. Here are a few provisions of the new Kansas law.....
...If you can locate an abortion provider in the state of Kansas, no easy thing that.....and qualify under the state's new abortion laws to even have an abortion.....your abortion cost will be taxed. Yep.....sales tax. Kansas is adding a 6.3% sales tax to a medical procedure. Seems a bit odd. I guess Kansans flipped a coin to decide which they hated more.....a woman's right to choose or tax increases.....and decided that most women seeking abortion are not in the top 1%, so the sales tax was appropriate.
...zygotes and fetuses are defined as "persons." Not quite the same as "corporations are people"...but just as ridiculous. "Personhood" laws to stop American women from exercising their legal right to choose have been on the rise recently. You might also remember that Kansas was the state where abortion Dr. George Tiller had his brains blown out by red state, forced pregnancy enthusiast Scott Roeder....while Tiller was at weekly church services. Dr. Tiller was a grown "person."
...a banning of tax deductions in the state of Kansas for abortion insurance costs or abortion services costs. Needless to say, those insurance policies have nothing to do with incentivizing a woman to have an abortion because she'll have more tax deductions if she buys said policy. But in Kansas.....a state which is developing a gulf too far......banning tax deductions for abortion insurance and services is not about incentivizing or directing spending activity one way or the other,...oh no....it's about punishing women who have, or consider having, a legal abortion.
...under Kansas' new abortion law, doctors are ordered to tell women seeking abortion that abortion causes breast cancer. It doesn't, of course.....there is no empirical, scientific evidence to support such a claim....but this is Kansas, a conservative, red state....and science takes a back seat to faith in red states.
...this one is the worst. Doctors in Kansas who withhold critical health information from pregnant women....state of the fetus, potential for life of the fetus, problems with the pregnancy.....will now be shielded from lawsuits. Naturally, this is the textbook version of government inserting itself in between your doctor and you.....as well as encouragement for the medical profession to become as dishonest as Dick Cheney.....but that government intrusion, that dishonesty....is a way to take a woman's right to choose away, by denying her the information she would need to make that choice.
Obviously, Kansas wants to make all abortions illegal. The state's new anti-abortion law is simply nullification of federal law by other means, and it's another example of the deep and unbridgeable divide that exists in America.
For discussion purposes, I would like someone to tell me where the "center" is to be found in Kansas' new anti-abortion law. Where's the common ground? Where could progressives and conservatives meet halfway on this issue? And if red states will not rest until women no longer have a right to choose their own reproductive lives.....how can the reds and blues work together at all on this issue?
Finally, multiply this Kansas abortion law times a factor of 1000 and you can understand why I think America is, and will remain, hopelessly divided. Some have said that the only solution to our irreconciable differences would be a major national or world event. I disagree with that notion. We had a major world event in 2001.....and we're more divided now than ever.