Two ladies were talking. I do not know their names, nor would I use them if I did.
The one was relating the traumatic experience of a dear friend. The dear friend had become pregnant with a child who would most likely be born disabled. Autistic perhaps. I don’t remember the details.
The dear friend had decided to abort the child.
What followed was the most mindless pipeline of vocalized squelch I have heard in memory. A series of justifications. The child would, if born, have preferred not to live. It would have been hard on the parents. But mostly, over, and over, and over, the stock line, the refrain, the religious litany: “I would never criticize someone for making a choice.”
I will not say (though I could) that I, an emotionally disabled person who will, one day, live under the curse of schizophrenia, am outraged that we the disabled apparently don’t get to choose for ourselves whether life is worth living. I will not say (though I could) that any love not willing to face hardship is technically hate — leading someone on when in fact you are going to abandon them at the first sign of trouble is something enemies do.
What I will say is this:
You damned well would criticize someone for making a choice, you schlock-spewing liar! If I chose to point this out to you, you would criticize my choice all the way to the managers’ office, and there demand that they officially endorse your criticism with criticisms of their own.
Or maybe not. Maybe my job is safe if I speak up to your face, instead of online under a pseudonym. Maybe I can take you up on your word that you won’t criticize my choices either.
So, you have no criticisms if I choose to punch you in the face. Or to light your stuff on fire. Or if I choose to follow you around for a week singing the song that doesn’t end at the top of my lungs. Or if I steal your food and throw it in the trash. Or if I hack your online accounts and change your screen name to “hopeless loser.” Or something worse. Every day, someone chooses to steal, to rape, to murder, to destroy.
You wouldn’t criticize any of that, would you? After all, it’s my choice, and you said over, and over, and over, and over until it echoed around in my poor unfortunate ears that you wouldn’t criticize someone for making a choice.
Here’s the truth that every human instinctively understands. That you understood when you were ten, and have forgotten now that you’re forty.
Some choices are wrong. Wrong choices deserve to be criticized.
If I choose to punch you in the face, then only someone who doesn’t care about you or me wouldn’t criticize me for making that choice.
I don’t believe that you are so foolish, so corrupted, so twisted as to believe that all choices are valid, that all choices are right. Your words betray you: apparently you believe it would be wrong to criticize someone for making a choice. You believe that choosing to criticize is a wrong choice, and you yourself have chosen to criticize the choice to criticize. So you are not gone. You are not lost. Truth and rightness still echo in your heart.
If only you would add to them logic. Cold, reliable, solid logic, ready to take the political slogans interrupting your thought stream and clear them out.
Here is a choice I would not criticize:
Choose to think.
I know you can do it.