Monday, March 26, 2012

The rhetoric, the argument, the direction

While the proverb tells us that the world stands on three things and names them as law, work, and deeds of kindness, our arguments need different legs on which to stand.  Traditionally they are named as logos, ethos, and pathos; logic, personification, and emotion, as I'll translate them (though somewhere in there I'm always feel driven to add Aramis).  Our issue today is to identify the tools with which we can successfully build our platform and in fact completely change the dialog, altering the very factors which are considered up for debate, consideration, legislation.  Our goal must be to make clear that women's bodies, women's health, women's decisions for themselves are as inherently sacrosanct as men's and can be thought of in no other way.

Sadly, while logical discourse once was held in the highest regard, today we see every fallacy from ad hominem to tu quoque appear online, in media, even in presidential debate.  In any case, the possibility of success in debating faith-based beliefs with simple logic defies my imagination.  The rare cases I can think of in which this has worked have been not merely historic, but often have created whole new religious faiths.  That's not truly our goal.

Emotion runs high, there's no doubt, in all this debate and discourse.  From the names being bandied about to the scenarios evoked, emotion has been manipulated.  Still, emotion is a good tool to revive the spirit of the believer and to convince the fence-sitter.  It is unusual for pure emotion to cause someone to change their minds and beliefs in the long term.

What's left is the personal.  Take out the representational, the fictional, the imagined scenario.  Fill in the blanks with true stories.  Show the fallacies of the wrong way of thinking, of marginalizing women, of dehumanizing them.  Believe that while there may be evil about, most people do indeed want to do what is good, proper, sustainable.  Give them reality.  Give them my story of experience and need.  Give them Carolyn Jones' story of suffering.  Give them yourself.  When I discuss the current legislative onslaught of anti-woman bills with women ten to fifteen years older than I am, the first thing everyone tells me is that they remember women they knew having back-alley abortions.  The real life stories are what strike horror in their minds before even the memories of not having the legal right to control over their own bodies, of needing permission from authorities to do what their own spiritual beliefs as well as physical needs and personal desires deemed right.

Speak up,  in any way you can.  If you're participating in the Government Free V-JJ project, it's perfect as it's injecting the personal and making it tangible, real.  If you are not, that's fine, just don't remain silent nor complacent.  I'm willing to speak out to you, with you, for you.  Take my words and my life and join them to yours.  My daughters are depending on me and while they may turn their backs, I can't turn mine on them.

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