Author Zach Lorentz
Zach is the current Director of Public Affairs of the Secular Student Alliance at Missouri S&T. His interests include sexual freedom, reproductive rights, LGBT equality, and advocating for proper scientific education and understanding.
In case the pattern is not obvious, the most radical and threatening elements of the current regressive trends in America linger at the more local level. In particular, these theocratic and authoritarian amateurs thrive the closer to “home” one gets. They persist so long as they don’t state their far out and dangerous views in a recordable environment. Their resulting extremism shouldn’t be too surprising when confirmed for posterity.
The latest zealot to get caught in the spotlight is New Hampshire county sheriff candidate, Frank Szabo. In a local television interview, Szabo made yet another simplification of a complex problem by suggesting that law enforcement can do “…anything in their power to prevent a [late-term fetus] from being harmed.” He further goes on to clearly imply that violent force is acceptable in stopping doctors from performing elective-late term abortions.
Szabo’s remarks also obliviously reinforce already simmering violent attitudes among the extremist base. Abortion clinic attacks and the murder of George Tiller demonstrate the already volatile state of a constituency with ready and enthusiastic access to weapons. The directors of our discourse should steer us towards a thorough examination of the different causes, perspectives, and implications of abortion policies. Instead, we get reflex “All Abortion Is Murder” reactions, legislative end runs around the constitution, and subtle-but-not-subtle calls to arms. In the next breath, these non-compromiser will hypocritically criticise their opponents as “too partisan.”
Ill-informed and extremely misdirected local political candidates and officers speak to the need for a greater activism and visibility. Our electronic communication has given us comfort in finding and addressing each other on a national and worldwide scale; however, the policies and politics that will affect us most directly go unchallenged by our silence at the micro level. Letters to the local newspaper, remarks at city council meetings, and even minuscule but visible protests make sure that these extremists know that they do not exist in a group think vacuum. Additionally, they will know that actions are being scrutinized by a well-informed opposition. Going it alone takes great courage, but a full grassroots change will require individual initiative for many years.