Even before I left Texas, I was pretty much a wild-eyed, tree-hugging, bleeding-heart liberal.
Having spent my teaching career in schools that served singularly needy neighborhoods, my liberal bias is stabilized, starched and ironed in place. I taught children who arrived at school hungry, scared, tired and sometimes bruised. Some followed crops, some arrived after the fall of Saigon. Some were the product of poverty, neglect and parenting that was mentally and emotionally limited.
Most of these children bought into the idea of a better future, unaware of all the cards stacked against it. However, the teachers I worked with were stalwart defenders of the dream and we had successes — “transcenders,” we called them — children who persevered and overcame the obstacles inherent in an impoverished early life.
Since I was part of it, I felt that schools and teachers made that difference. Of course there were also heartbreaking failures, but when you are trying to turn a stampeding herd, you take what you can get.
I suspect there is a lack of this type of experiential understanding in politicians who rail against squandering the nation’s wealth on the undeserving — the elderly, the very young, the physically disabled, the mentally ill and, heaven forbid, what Jonathan Swift called “those beggars of the female sex who are inevitably followed by three, four or six unkempt, whining children.”
Much of their criticism is directed not at the root of the problem but toward the single parent, but the fact remains that uteruses do not impregnate themselves.
Perhaps the “anti-bleeding-heart” political bloc does have a point; safety nets are costly. Placing greater focus on personal responsibility could result in a reduction of tax-supported expenses.
One favored option under consideration is the huge savings that could be realized by withholding healthcare, childcare, food, shelter, pensions, etc., thus allowing the weak, aged and very young to die off sooner than otherwise, abating the financial demands of an aging population.
Inherent in such a fiscally responsible plan is the threat that some spin doctors would probably label the movement as “retroactive birth control,” but the focus in the current political climate is pro-birth, not pro-life. After the amniotic sac is broken, YOYO (You’re-On-Your-Own).
Of course, there would be the unseemly side effect of reducing the number of able-bodied working poor. After all, if there is no ready pool of cheap labor, who will clean up after us, groom our golf courses, flip our burgers and care for our beloved children?
But I have an elegant supply-side solution sure to please everyone.
I was inspired by the overwhelmingly white, male state house of Georgia that drafted and passed some of the most extreme anti-choice legislation in the history of our republic. Their success sparked a flurry of similar action as more states jumped on the pro-birth bandwagon.
However, only my home state of Texas found a way to fund its effort by deputizing volunteer vagina vigilantes paid through civil lawsuit bounties, thus eliminating the need for departmental development, education or oversight.
It’s a start, but that just doesn’t go far enough.
We need a national penis license with mandatory user insurance.
There is a perfect model in the existing massive electronic system set up for driver licensing.
To obtain a driver’s license, you must demonstrate that you can operate a motor vehicle safely. But then to actually drive one, you also need insurance to cover any costs incurred by negligent operation resulting in an accident. Your insurance rate is affected by the number of miles driven, your personal driving record and how many accidents you cause.
Due to advances in technology, obtaining the personal record of any particular penis should not be difficult. Microchip tracking devices have proven useful in locating house keys, pets and vehicles. Why not genitals?
If men were chipped, male procreative activity could be conveniently recorded in real time, and society would no longer have to rely upon after-the-fact evidence of negligent operation, like unwanted pregnancies.
Just think of the private sector jobs created in the tech world to design and operate tracking systems with links to DNA databases. Of course, there would be shrinkage in paternity suit litigation, but extended expansion in the insurance sector.
The required policy would cover costs from conception to maturity — those incidentals associated with medical care for both mother and child, and the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, education, and perhaps an optional rider covering lost earning potential for the mother. This would provide vast opportunities for actuaries, accountants and an army of private sector enforcement agents — and just think of the wealth generated through advertising.
The life of the penis, like the art of politics, is often a study in unintended consequences. Too often, in our ever-more transient society, the seed donor wanders off or simply neglects the care, feeding and nurturing required by parenthood. But we are all equal in the eyes of our creator, if not so much under the law. As far as that goes, the invasiveness of having one’s vagina perpetually policed by the state far exceeds the one-time inconvenience of microchipping a penis.
Award-winning humorist Carolyn Wiley lives in Longbranch.
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