Invest time in the complex

Black and white are polar opposites. They are easily identified and rarely mistaken for one another. One can clearly identify black as black and white as white. Some people seem to think that many issues in politics should be approached in the same manner. Abortion, amongst many other issues, seems to receive this type of approach.

Most people, when asked whether or not they are in favor of abortion, would answer with a quick yes or no. They would then follow up their answer with reasons that support their position. Some would say that destroying human lives is illegal. Yet others would say that expecting a young, and oftentimes inexperienced, girl to take care of a child is not in the best interest of either herself or the child.

Is it really that simple though? Republicans are usually the ones voicing their opposition to abortion, but, at the same time, they oppose welfare and other types of aid that could help mothers who, in a sense, have been forced to keep the child. Sure, you could argue that it is not the government’s job to give handouts, because after all, it is her fault. But what if it is not? What if she was raped? Regardless, if the government is not giving aid, who is?

Church-goers—as I will refer to them since you can be a church-goer but not a Christian—will often petition to repeal any pro-choice bills. That’s fine, though it would be in accordance with Christian values to have a sign-up sheet where the same people opposing abortion are pledging to help in raising these children.

This is only one of the many issues that receive such a reductionist approach. Issues are far deeper than we make them appear. It is absurd to present political issues as a clear dichotomy. The extension of this train of thought is that people can be dealt with in a similar way, placed easily in one camp or another.

The problem of carelessly taking issues only at face value lies in the fact that many people tend to be misinformed or not informed at all. Gay marriage, immigration and welfare are all issues that require a deeper and more nuanced level of thinking and investigation. It is necessary to always keep in mind that these issues are dealing with people, and people are complex. We need to avoid approaching these issues from a reductionist point of view, because political activity is human activity. We are not just dealing with abstractions, theories and concepts. Everything we stand for or against impacts the lives of real people. These impacts are therefore not as simple as we would wish they were.

Become informed and involved, always keeping in mind that these issues are intricate, because these issues deal with us.