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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Brazil 2005

Law professor Lawrence Lessig is one of the most important thinkers of our age, and I follow his blog and read his books. This recent post by Lessig describes an amazing evening in Brazil last week at the World Social Forum (the un-Davos).

Along with Internet activist/Grateful Dead lyricist/retired cattle rancher John Perry Barlow, Lessig attended the forum's Youth Camp just in time to see Brazil Minister of Culture/pop superstar Gilberto Gil debating free culture and free software issues in-between sets of his concert. The photo accompanying the blog tells as much of the story as Lessig's words, in an enigmatic way. Is this moment part of the concert, or part of the debate? The T-shirt in the photo sums it up: "This is what democracy looks like."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Safe, Legal, and Never: Hillary Clinton's Bold Move

No matter where you line up in the debate over abortion rights, you really should read "Safe, Legal, and Never: Hillary Clinton's Anti-Abortion Strategy" by William Saletan in Slate.

Saletan is reporting on -- and analyzing-- Clinton's speech earlier this week as part of Roe v. Wade observations. Buried inside the typical praise for Roe v. Wade is a carefully crafted statement that will force Democrats to re-think their rabid pro-choice stance -- if they will allow themselves to go there.

As Saletan writes:

Abortion is "a sad, even tragic choice to many,
many women," said Clinton. Then she went further:
"There is no reason why government cannot do
more to educate and inform and provide assistance
so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution
either does not ever have to be exercised
or only in very rare circumstances."

Does not ever have to be exercised. I searched
Google and Nexis for parts of that sentence
tonight and got no hits. Is the press corps
asleep? Hillary Clinton just endorsed a goal
I've never heard a pro-choice leader endorse.
Not safe, legal, and rare. Safe, legal, and never.

Once you embrace that truth—that the ideal
number of abortions is zero—voters open
their ears.

(End quote from Saletan article)

I am against abortion as a matter of principle. But I also believe that change comes from within. We will never be able to successfully legislate abortion away as long as there are millions of people in America whose consciences are being bombarded into submission by the messages of the pro-abortion lobby. If Democrats start to embrace a pro-choice policy mantra of "Safe, Legal, and Never" it will change the nature of the debate in this country, and cause reflection that can lead to a change in conscience.

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