Thursday, October 11, 2012

Memo to Paul Ryan: Do not call yourself pro-life.

We Canadians are a notoriously polite lot, and being polite, we ought not to comment on the politics of another country.   It’s bad form.  But I don’t care.   I have heard Paul Ryan, the U.S. Republican Party’s candidate for Vice President referred to as “pro-life” just once too often to keep my mouth shut.

Whatever else you think of his politics (and I think they’re idiotic, but I’ll keep that to myself) this man is not pro-life.   I get that he wants the state to control abortion but don’t call him pro-life.

I read that Chicago just experienced its 400th homicide of the year…it will be more by now, I’m sure.  Toronto has yet to reach 30.   It’s guns that make up the difference, that snuff out so many human lives, innocent or otherwise, and yet Ryan is determinedly pro-gun.  Yep…he has the National Rifle Association’s undivided support against those bleeding hearts who dare to suggest any restriction on “the right to bear arms”.  And yeah, they’ll say Chicago has gun regulations, but that’s like putting ink only on one half of a bowl of water and expecting the other half to stay clear.   The country’s awash with guns, and a hell of a lot of lives are lost; graves filled with people who should, as  you read this, be feeling the sun on their skin, their grandkids on their knees, or be smelling the cool smell of autumn in their nostrils, loving their companion animals but are forever dead in the interest of the “right to bear arms”.

So what does this numbskull do?  He buys his ten year old daughter her very first rifle.  Never mind that at age ten  your cognitive abilities are far from well-formed and decisions are not always wise, she has to be inculcated into the fellowship of shooters, because her daddy likes to kill things.  He is a life-destroyer.  There is nothing remotely pro-life about him.

I’ve known many a non-human animal in my time, shared my home with some, observed many more in forests, seas, jungles, deserts and other such habitats around the world, and guess what?   They are alive.  They cherish their lives, they feel pain.   They don’t want their lives ended, least of all for fun.

This killer sometimes favours bows and arrows over guns, and since he has long dipped deeply into the tax-filled public trough, never making anything of use but always positioning himself to direct others in their endeavours, the proceeds of which by way of taxes pay for his private arsenal, this right wing loony does not need to fire arrows into deer to save on the price of meat!   Research by various agencies shows that about thirty percent of deer struck by arrows don’t just drop dead…they are the walking wounded, suffering so people like Paul can enjoy their “sport”.

And one aspect of such “sport” many of us have only recently learned about is “noodling”.  Flathead catfish lay their eggs in holes in the banks of rivers or ponds or pond bottoms, and the male will defend those eggs against any perceived threat, including a closed fist!  Noodlers take advantage of this defensive behaviour.   “You get your hand inside the fish, and they kind of, they come up on your hand,” Ryan explained to the press.  “Then you just squeeze wherever you are on that fish and pull it out.   I know it sounds crazy, but it’s really exhilarating.”

Right.   Hurting and killing fish guarding their eggs is not how I’d seek exhilaration, and shows no trace of respect for life.

Okay, so by “life” he somehow excludes the 99.999 percent of life that happens not to be human.  One has no choice in what species one is, any more than one has a choice in what colour of skin one has, but no matter…if you were stupid enough not to be born human, your life is no longer of concern, and “pro-life” becomes code for “pro human-life only”.

So for those of our American neighbours who will vote for you, they deserve what they get – someone who likes weapons that kill both human and non-human animals, someone who likes to play cruel games with animals – and someone who is definitely not a “pro-life”.  The only good thing about those people who will vote for you.  They are a tiny minority and given the breadth of your hypocrisy, it is likely to stay that way for a long time.

Barry Kent MacKay
General Manager
Animal Alliance / Environment Voters Party of Canada

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