Stupidity on all fronts is disappointing

Election time can be a real high or it can be harsh.

It’s great when the candidate or issue you support wins. It can be a bummer when you back a loser.

It’s really no shock that some of the statewide measures failed in Oregon. Some were a bit of a stretch, especially when you factor in that the majority of voters in this state don’t live in rural areas such as Sweet Home and don’t share the values that many residents here hold.

For instance, I thought the idea of requiring that state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges be elected out of districts in which they reside was a good one because it would help ensure that the courts reflect the residents of this state more broadly – something that isn’t happening now. But I didn’t really expect it to pass because, again, the urban voters greatly outnumber rural voters, even though rural voters represent a much larger geographic area of the state.

The diversity of Oregon is a problem for voters, 60 percent of whom bothered to turn out (a euphemism for filling out and mailing a ballot) this time around. That leaves 1.182 million who didn’t bother. Apathy is definitely a problem, though it’s not hard to understand why many people aren’t inclined to involve themselves enough to voice an opinion on the ballot. Still, it’s wrong to think that since your position is likely to have less support than the others on the ballot, there’s no point in bothering to voice it.

Believe me, politicians are watching those numbers, even the losing numbers. Which kind of makes you wonder where the 40 percent who didn’t vote stood on all those issues and candidates.

It’s easy to feel cynical about our political process, but at least we have one that lets us participate and we should participate even if it’s only because we can. North Koreans cannot.

Maybe I’m naive, but I was especially hoping we’d see a flash of wisdom from Oregon voters on the question of whether a girl under 18 should be able to get an abortion without her parents knowing about it. Forty-four states in the rest of the Union have this restriction, but we Oregonians are apparently smarter than everybody else. Of course, we also have legalized suicide as well.

I’m male and that will immediately brand me in the minds of some. I also understand that there are complicated and troubling issues that sometimes seem to weigh in favor of abortion.

But I am still disturbed by the convenient presuppositions that lead to the very rationale used by the Supreme Court in 1972 when it decided in Roe v. Wade that abortion should be legal.

This vote by us Oregonians is just more of the stubborn, illogical thinking that a woman’s “right to choose” outweighs all other factors. What’s galling about this “right” is that it outweighs another person’s right to life, so advocates of a woman’s “right to choose” must conveniently argue that what’s being terminated isn’t really human life.

No supporter of abortion at any level that I’ve ever met wants to face the logical outcome of the kind of thinking we employ to get to the idea that a fetus is not legally a human being until it’s born. You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s a valid question: What’s to stop us from moving to the next level, to say that Grandma is no longer a viable human being because she can’t take care of herself and therefore must be expendable?

The law itself is illogical in that a person can be charged with murder when they cause the death of a fetus through violent means, but a mother can choose to end that fetus’ life at any stage early in the pregnancy and a doctor can make that decision right up to the end of the term.

That kind of thinking goes against the very idea of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for at least one party in this equation.

But rather than get into a longer diatribe, hashing over these and other arguments again, let me just say that this knee-jerk sacred cow of abortion is a sick departure from common sense when it comes to parents and their children. And it’s too bad that our state is so stubborn that they’d rather opt for ending lives than giving parents a chance to weigh in before their daughters make irreversible decisions that could affect them deeply for life.

I have to sign a form every time my kids go on field trips. My daughter can’t enter a tanning booth without my permission. She can’t get her ears pierced unless I sign on the dotted line. So tell me: Why should she take a life-altering step that involves terminating the existence of another human being without me even having the right to know about it? Clearly, a majority of voters out there think my responsibility for my daughters is outweighed by their “right to choose” and the “wisdom” of a doctor I may not even know.

That’s gross stupidity.

* * * * *

If you’re not a follower of soccer or the University of Oregon, you may not be aware of the blatant foul committed against the university’s women’s team, which this year finished second in the Pac-10, the toughest women’s soccer conference in the land. The Ducks, who have been horrible up until this year, finally broke through to post a 6-1-2 conference record and a 12-6-2 record overall – 12-3-2 since Labor Day. They beat USC and number 3-ranked UCLA on the final weekend of the season to, they thought, guarantee themselves a berth in the 64-team NCAA playoffs.

Guess again. In an action so absurd that it defies rational explanation, even if you’re not a Duck or soccer fan, the NCAA tournament selection committee selected third-place Stanford, fifth-place Southern California and sixth-place California. The Ducks finished with twice as many Pac-10 victories as the Trojans (3-2-4) and Golden Bears (3-3-3). They also had one fewer league loss than the Cardinal (6-2-1).

They left the Ducks high and dry.

This is a team that was picked to finish last in the Pac-10 before the season started and that began the season with an 0-3 record. But with a marquee forward in Nicole Garbin, the Player of the Year in the Pac-10, they finally turned the corner – big time, it appeared.

I’ve been involved in soccer at several levels – all of them much lower than this. Soccer’s an imperfect game, as are all sports, and bad things sometimes happen. One bad ref can spell ruin for a very good team, at least for a game. It’s happened to me as a coach and any soccer player can tell you it’s happened to them. But this one defies explanation. Granted, the Ducks’ non-league schedule was a little softer than some other teams, but they finished ahead of Cal Berkeley and USC in the Pac-10, and those two teams are in the NCAA tournament?

What did the committee (which includes an associate athletic director from the University of Portland) do – drop the sheet of paper that had the Ducks’ record on it under the table? There have been mumbled explanations about how the committee gave Oregon due consideration based on many factors.

Fact is, thanks to a bunch of idiotic officials, the season’s over for Oregon. And it’s a slap in the face to all of us in this state where soccer is still a growing sport at the upper levels.

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