Claiming it to be an “exercise in democracy” a couple of social media butterflies have decided to ask their loyal fans whether or not they should abort a pregnancy. Minnesota couple Pete and Alisha Arnold, with a baby 17 weeks in the making, have put this on a website called Birth or Not (birthornot.com).
While the results to date show about 80% in favor of birth, the real question should be why the anonymous public should even be subjected to a couple making this kind of choice. Perhaps a better question is whether both should be immediately subjected to a psychological profile as to their sanity and fitness to be parents.
I realize that those multitudes of social butterflies/Twitterers/In your Facebookers and so on will find this less objectionable, especially in light of the sheer number of people who live their lives online, in full view of everyone they do not know as well as those that they do. There are whole families who ogle each other as though in the same room, and absolutely no shortage of opinions (including my own) that in the end have little bearing upon reality other than the sheer weight of the numbers of people venting their life frustrations for all to see.
Celebrity friends are the absolute worst. The celeb gets a Facebook or a Twitter account and when you read the mass of replies to them, all written in a tone as though celeb and anonymous online stranger were the best of friends, you see how sad our level of disconnect has become, despite our protestations about how the Internet has brought us closer.
So here we have life and death of a baby in the hands of whomever has tuned in. The anti-abortion zealots. The pro-life zealots. The strange and the weird Internet trolls. No doubt some lawyers looking for a potential case, some government bureaucrat or politat looking for a platform in the next election, someone from the IRS looking for a way to tax the volume of people as a revenue source. The boss looking for grounds to fire the idiots working for him/her now casting a shadow on the reputation of the firm. The other employees of the firm all eager to see what happens next, looking to replace other life-sucking experiences like 6 years of the TV show 'Lost' catering to people who were.
Be objective for a moment. Would you wish your child to be putting your grandchild's existence up for public debate? Why not go knock on all the doors in your neighborhood and ask their opinion. "Hi, should I have an abortion or let my baby live?"
What scares me more than this, and without taking a stance on the whole abortion debate, is the fact that our collective level of stupidity keeps finding newer ways to lower the bar. From couples raising funds to lose their virginity online, to pedophiles taking normal pictures of normal kids for the thrill of the imagination when they post them online, what scares me the most is that freedom, while essential to democracy, has included in vast proportions the right to be stupid and to accept that stupidity as the new standard of the nation.
Gone are the challenges to be better, brighter, more innovative. Gone are the sites that appreciate the hard work and great choices of people struggling against all odds. Instead we keep sucking up crap and calling it mainstream; accepting the lie and pretending that it is all right in the name of freedom and democracy, while still calling upon a deity to bless us.
What was once a nation of survivors forging something from nothing, we are now a nation that has, like locusts, turned something into a wasteland of nothing. Values gone, pride in drivel, and the equality to be whatever little fantasy pops into your head because you are "special" and "God loves" you.
Well back to the Arnolds; with parents like that you have to wonder what the correct answer to their question really is. I just hope, assuming that the majority vote prevails, that someone will be sure to tell the kid in a handful of years how mommy and daddy wanted strangers to answer what they seemingly could not. And that is a legacy, like everything else on the Internet, that will never go away.