What could be better than one know-it-all telling another know-it-all that he doesn’t really know it all? Another know-it-all joining the fray!

So, class, the abortion debate “Word for the Week” is … obfuscate.

From Dictionary.com:


tr.v. ob·fus·cat·ed, ob·fus·cat·ing, ob·fus·cates

To make so confused or opaque as to be

difficult to perceive or understand: “A great effort was made... to obscure or obfuscate the truth” (Robert Conquest).

To render indistinct or dim; darken: The fog obfuscated the shore.

Guest columnist Bo Alawine (“Abortion’s complexities,” Sunday, March 12) raised one good point about this country’s abortion debate. In the heat of battle and the desire to try to convert the other side, pro-lifers often have too little regard for the women facing an unwanted pregnancy. Simply ending legal abortion is not enough. Every effort and initiative to end legal abortion in this country should be balanced by an effort to prevent the unwanted pregnancy in the first place. Point taken.

However, Mr. Alawine’s jabs at Craig Ziemba’s “simple” take on the subject (“Mississippi’s historic moment,” Sunday, March 5) soon leads us into a barrage of questions that are not meant to help clarify the debate on abortion, but to — yes, you guessed it — obfuscate it.

The numerous questions that Mr. Alawine raised are, for the most part, a smokescreen composed of complexity. Take any controversial subject and you can throw up an almost unending number of questions that will lead you to believe that this subject is just too complex to ever be solved by mankind’s limited intellect.

No doubt the situations leading to an abortion are complex, difficult and unique to each individual. Guess what? That’s life. And we shouldn’t let the convoluted nature of the problem confuse the right and wrong of the issue.

I believe in a hundred years, this country will look back on abortion in the same light as another great wrong that was at one time a legal, constitutional right. You will find no one today, save a few extremists, who believe slavery was morally right. Yet it was a legal practice in this country for almost 100 years because people couldn’t see past the complexity of the issue to do the right thing.

Mr. Alawine writes of abhorring abortion. This is not the same as believing it is wrong. Those who do believe it wrong can answer the more serious questions he puts forth in the column. As for his last question, why in a “culture of life” is it not immoral to promote and participate in executions and wars, let me take a stab.

Now the morality of state-sponsored executions is a whole other column, but as for war, the reason it is not immoral is because it is sometimes necessary. Just as sometimes an abortion is the only way to save a mother’s life, a war is sometimes the only way to save a country. Now your definition of save may be different from mine, but that is most likely your whole point. That is, to be contentious.

Yes, I agree the world cannot be viewed in black and white. Viewed from afar, this world is very gray. But as you get closer, the hundreds of individual decisions we make every day, when viewed honestly, are right and wrong, black and white.

When it comes to the important things, there is no “maybe” option. But I suppose, when viewed from far away, like perhaps from a columnist’s writing chair, little dots of black and white will always look gray.

Steve Wilkerson of Meridian is a Kemper Academy and Mississippi State University graduate who currently works as an information systems manager.

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