I can't fly, of course, or turn invisible, or toss about heavy objects. These days I count myself fortunate if I can open a pickle jar.
But I do have a superpower. I'm like a negative chameleon. Put me in a room with "progressives" -- these days it would be a well-ventilated room, naturally, with all of us wearing masks -- and I become the most conservative person around. At least insofar as they would be concerned. On the other hand, put me in a room with conservatives, and all present will immediately think of me as left of Bernie Sanders.
I used to think that made me a "centrist," whatever that is. A middle-of-the-roader. (And you know what you are likely to find in the middle of the road? If not... consult the Greatest Hit -- and only Top 40 hit -- of Loudon Wainwright III.) I figured, if everyone on the Left disagreed with me and everyone on the Right disagreed with me, I must be charting a proper course.
But, now I know, that's not it. Not it at all. It's a consequence of my superpower. I can bring people together -- I can unite Left and Right in common cause: They can all hate me. If that's not a great superpower, it's at least an uncomfortable one.
Case in point. This morning a lot of people on social media are losing their..., er, are very upset over the Supreme Court's decision not to prevent a Texas law that places certain restrictions on a woman's ability to obtain an abortion in that state from going into effect while the challenges to that law are litigated.
I quickly note that I am not taking a position on a law I haven't read. Nor am I offering any opinion on the action, or, rather, inaction, of the Supreme Court of the United States. But many of the people expressing their outrage this morning were running this image with their posts:
So let's see what this means: As long as a woman has a heartbeat, no one can tell her what she can do with her own [ ] body. So... she is free refuse to wear a mask, for instance? Or to refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination?
I am reasonably sure, however, that 99% of those posting this graphic today would recoil in horror (and outrage -- always outrage) at such suggestions. But... isn't that a logical conclusion that must be drawn from such a statement? Otherwise the graphic would mean that, as long as a woman has a heartbeat, no one can tell her what to do with her own body as long as (and only if) we agree with what she wants to do, or not do, with it.
The day before a different meme was making the rounds in the other social media silo, this one a letter from a fire chief in Aurora, Oregon, asserting that he would never insist that the members of his department receive a COVID-19 vaccination, despite a gubernatorial mandate requiring vaccination by a date certain. Even if he loses his job because of it. In the letter, the Fire Chief writes:
The "vaccine" is not the issue. Please take out the word "vaccination" and insert any other medical procedure or medication. These choices are better left beftween an individual and their physician.
I'm certain that a great many of the individuals circulating this letter in the last few days, and lionizing the fire chief's bravery in the face of government tyranny, are among those rejoicing this morning that the Texas abortion law has gone into effect. But I wonder if those persons realize that their new hero has coopted the abortionists' fundamental position: "Those choices are better left between an individual and their physician." (The chief has even utilized the language of the "Pro-Choice" movement, whether wittingly or not.)
We will leave aside, for the moment, the question of how many physicians would counsel a patient against taking a COVID-19 vaccine -- unless the patient had some very specific medical condition which the vaccine might negatively impact. We will likewise leave aside how many people with such exotic medical conditions, whatever they may be, are otherwise fit for the fire service.
But... the question becomes... are all these people, on both sides, mere hypocrites, willing to use any language or tactic to advance their immediate objective? Or are they simply incapable of realizing the inconsistencies of their positions?
I could go on. There are so many othe examples I could cite. And... maybe I will... someday. But, then, you'd really hate me... wouldn't you?