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Are We Even Talking About the Same Thing?

Thanks to advances in technology and the brilliant minds behind them, Americans are now able to work much faster and accomplish much more on a daily basis. Our strive for success has never been more evident than it is now. With this being said, we, as Americans, struggle to achieve anything in regards to our current public discourse. Election cycle after election cycle, we seem to engage in the same public debates that we have been having since the beginning of the modern-day presidency. We have been partaking in debates such as the abortion debate and the gun control/rights debate for so long that one has to wonder if we are even talking about the same thing.


Americans are stereotyped as divided; we are generalized down to the two-party system that we unofficially adopted where one party is incapable of working with the other party. If you are a Democrat, you cannot agree with a Republican, and vice versa. At a quick glance, this does appear to be true. For example, Democrats tend to be pro-choice, pro-gun control candidates, where Republicans are your typical pro-life, pro-gun advocates. My generalization is not backed by any studies but by my perception of how people perceive our two parties. If someone is pro-choice, you may not be wrong if you also guessed that they are also in favor of gun-control and tend to vote Democrat. This is not always the case because there are always exceptions, but it is the case more times than not at first glance.


First off, these labels are misleading. A pro-choice proponent is someone who believes in a woman's right to choose what to do with her body where a pro-life proponent is someone who seeks to protect life at the earliest stages of conception. These two labels may not seem to be contracting at first, and that's because they're not. The opposite of a pro-choice proponent is not a pro-life proponent. The opposite of a pro-choice proponent would be anti-choice proponent, or someone that does not believe in a woman's right to choose what to do with her body. The same is true for the pro-life proponents; their counterparts are not pro-choice proponents, but rather anti-life proponents, or someone who does not value life at the earliest stages of conception. Misleading labels such as these misguide us through the public discourse so drastically that we cannot resolve any of the age-old debates because we have not been having the same conversations.


Along with misleading labels that misguide us through important discussions, Americans also fail to limit the scope of national debates. Arguments on social media platforms recently have suggested that we should focus our intention on protecting school children from mass shootings through the utilization of tougher gun legislation rather than protecting fetuses. This argument addresses two points: First, the argument makes the point that the solution to our gun-violence problem is stricter gun control. Second, the argument suggests that the life of a fetus is not as valuable as the lives of the school children. These are two separate, very important, unresolved national discussions that should not be taking place on the same platform.


Someone who comes across the aforementioned argument may be compelled to be against stricter gun laws if they value the life of a fetus at conception. Because of our unofficial two-party system, people tend to align themselves with one party's platform if that party's platform has a stance that they feel passionately about. These issues are unrelated. Abortion is an issue that already has a magnitude of factors within the scope of its discussion. These factors include women's rights, scientific evidence, and ethical matters regarding the execution of an abortion. These factors are also debates that need to be held separately.


Americans do not have a problem engaging in the public discourse. The problems that Americans face in resolving these national debates are related to limiting the scope of the discussions. Americans have trouble remaining focused. Someone who identifies as pro-life is not automatically presumed to be against a woman's right to choose just as someone who is in favor of stricter gun control does not hate the Constitution. These topics become so convoluted and tangled that we get lost in their webs, resulting in no results.


We need to have focused discussions. We can have as many discussions as we want, but if they are not focused and efficient, we will not be able to achieve anything. When we speak on abortion, there is no reason to tie in another heavily unresolved debate such as gun rights into the conversation. These topics are two very different topics that should be addressed with the goal of coming to a reasonable conclusion. If we address these topics individually, we can have a clear and concise national debate that doesn't force someone's hand onto an unrelated topic.




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