Friday, July 21, 2017

Two women share their thoughts on the Holocaust, abortion

Paris Pantheon


     The names Simone Veil and Brittany Carl probably shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. It's an insult to one; I'll let you figure out which.
     Veil was an icon of French politics, its most significant stateswoman in the past half century, twice the nation's minister of health, the first woman president of the European Union. She died June 30 and was interred in the Paris Pantheon, a rare woman honored among French heroes such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Emile Zola.
Simone Veil, left, and Brittany Carl
     Carl is the communications specialist just hired by Gov. Bruce Rauner, part of a group of hard right ideologues our billionaire governor brought in after sacking much of his loyal staff. The new crew proved instantly embarrassing — or would have, if Rauner could be embarrassed, an open question — because of their various racist, sexist and homophobic baggage. Rauner's valet, or "bodyman" as they're called, was fired Monday, the day he started work.
     Carl's lapse is no less odious but probably survivable, in that it doesn't directly attack a particular group but merely perverts history. Besides, it's so well-worn. In April, Carl wrote a piece for the Huffington Post airing the standard anti-abortion trope comparing a medical procedure voluntarily practiced every day by women around the world to the Holocaust of the Jews during World War II.
     A subject Veil knew something about, having been sent to Auschwitz when she was 16.

     To continue reading, click here.

14 comments:

  1. thank you Mr. Steinberg for publicly acknowledging a womans right to choose. i support this view. and thank you for bringing attention to the life of Ms. Veil.

    frank verciglio

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  2. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is why Neil Steinberg is the best columnist in America. Reactionary fools are in power, and are busily working to undermine women's (and so many other's) rights. Mr. Steinberg brings truth to power.

    It is technically possible to clone a human from fingernail clippings. At what point does it become illegal to clip your nails? Sound insane? Consider the frantic efforts to finance a trillion dollar tax cut for millionaires by taking away health care from the elderly and infirm. We've already crossed the line into insanity in this country.

    I recall Rauner and his wife doing those cutesy, populist commercials during his campaign. She professed to be a Democrat, he dropped g's, they giggled about all he would do to help the workin' people. I wonder what Mrs. Rauner thinks of her husband's embrace of a philosophy that sees women who make use of their constitutionally protected access to reproductive health care as the equivalent of being an accessory to the holocaust. I want to see that commercial.

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  3. Oh yes, Governor A-hole-no abortions for fetuses that would only have a life of misery and wreck their parents and siblings life but then cut out aid for home helpers for these overwhelmed parents or close down or underfund homes that can help care for them. He's showing his true colors now and hope Republican moderates will wise up next time. And his wife, if she was truly a Democrat should be divorcing him after this one. But she sold out...

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  4. Brittany Carl demonstrates a real lack of understanding for the Holocaust. You'd think Notre Dame could do a better job of teaching morality. Still it doesn't rise to the level of stupidity that was PETA's "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign a few years ago. My fantasy for teaching such people what virulent racism is like, would be to place them on the streets of Stuttgart in the late 30's, with a yellow star of David on their arm or chest. Unfortunately the full scope of the lesson would be lost on the majority of these clowns in that they would be stupid enough to look down at the badge and remove it in public.
    Illinois problems started well before Rauner. At least Rauner, unlike many of his predecessors, didn't compromise with Madigan and whee what fun, have a pension holiday! But don't despair, despite Rauner's best efforts Illinois has a budget now, passed over his veto. Looks like we are on the fast track to better days, although the income tax increase may slow the economic growth a tad. Until they're implemented, it remains to be seen if Rauner's "efforts to gut the middle class" will do just that. I believe at least a few of the reforms will make Illinois a little more employer friendly.

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    1. i don't think anyone needs to be transported to the 30s in germany to learn about racism. its alive and well today in america. just look around the next time you're in a retail establishment and see how people of color are treated by our fellow citizens.

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    2. Hi FME, IMO and presumably Neil's, people like Ms. Carl who lack any form of empathy and make cavalier comparisons to the Holocaust have no place in government or the lobbying of public opinion. Thus I have drawn from events surrounding the Holocaust to accentuate the idiocy of their opinion. Pointing out racism as it exists now wouldn't have the same impact. I re-read Neil's older columns and try to make an effort to remember comments and opinions of others before criticizing them. Please don't condescend, I do have a history of comments pointing out racism in our culture.

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    3. no condescension intended . what was happening in 1930s germany was the initial phase of the worst genocide of the 20th century. while racism was a component of that ,the Holocaust is a far greater atrocity. while this may help people see the full scope of racism white people killing other white people might be a difficult way for many people to understand racism in my opinion. Neils initial point that conflating abortion with the Holocaust perverts history is sound. i think conflating any other issue or event with the Holocaust is best avoided. each attempted genocide in the truest sense as the Holocaust certainly was stand on their own in ways that should never be diminished by equating them with some far lesser horror. many people now days will try to attempt to elevate their objections by siting hitler or the nazis, which i think shows that their understanding of the scope of certain events is limited.

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  5. Abortion opponents are also fond of comparing abortion to slavery and Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott. It's an open question as to which analogy, slavery or the Holocaust, is more offensive.

    Certainly, facile invocations of the most hideous atrocity in modern history are always repulsive. But what gives the slavery analogy an extra tang of obnoxiousness, IMO, is that it's nearly always invoked by people who have consistently opposed civil rights, who generally benefit from political racism, and who, if they could be transported back in time to the 1850s, would almost certainly have advocated for maintaining slavery.

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  6. The term "holocaust" originally described an offering which is burned in fire but in the Old Testament was limited to animals. Pagan religions were known as well for fiery offerings but children were often the sacrifice as with the worship of Baal and Molech. And so, it seems a bit strange to apply this term to what happened under Hitler until you bring to mind how many victims were literally consumed by fire. I do not support laws banning abortion but I still think that later generations will look back on us in horror over this issue. One last comment - this Captcha is getting out of hand. I had to go through seven of them before it recognized that I wasn't a bot.

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    1. "Seems a bit strange" until you factor in the fire part? You're picking an odd moment to split hairs, David. Perhaps the Captcha is trying to tell you something.

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    2. Neil - it does seem a bit strange because a holocaust was part of worship being an offering to God or gods. I do not see how the killing of millions and millions of people whom Hitler and the Nazis considered to be less than human resembles in any way an honor or offering to God. And so, I know that historically that the word "holocaust" has been used to describe other attempts at genocide. But, it strikes me that the word "Shoah" which refers to catastrophe and is the term generally in use within Israel and the recommended term by the Yad Vashem museum makes better sense to me. In one sense, it makes no difference. They were still butchered no matter what term we use and the same kind of thing still goes on today and we sit idly by doing nothing. If anything, the term "holocaust" would seem a more appropriate term to be used by haters since many did back then think that killing Jews and other "undesirables" was doing God's work.

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    3. My understanding is that, as David says, the term "holocaust" was indeed originally intended to refer to a sacrifice to God, and that its use in connection with the Nazi slaughter was at first bitterly ironic. But as history progressed, the original meaning of "holocaust" got overwhelmed and swept aside, to the point where it now refers to the mass murder and nothing else.

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    4. "I still think that later generations will look back on us in horror over this issue."

      If there *are* future generations, it seems to me that *allowing* women to have some control over their own reproductive systems, while at the same time attempting to ensure that every baby is desired and cared for properly will not be very high on the list of things that horrify them about us. I think they'll be amazed that we lived on an overtaxed, heavily polluted planet of 7.5 billion people, gaining 80 million a year, and some folks' main concern (not putting you in this category, David) was that not enough babies were being born.

      The Captcha has definitely upped its game, often outwitting me as well as you and the robots. Rather than being infuriated by it (always my first choice when presented with an annoyance), I've decided to consider it a fun brain-teaser, like the crossword puzzle or Jumble. ; )

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Thanks for commenting. As soon as I vet your remarks, they'll be posted, assuming they aren't, you know, mean and crazy.