America is not a nation of radicals. It never has been. Oh, sure, every once in a blue moon, the nation will do something kooky, but when it comes to huge changes, it simply isn’t in our nature.
Let’s take the American Revolution as an example. As the histories have been written, far from a vast majority of the nation was in favor of overthrowing the British monarchy. While a significant number were in favor, an almost equal amount of folks were against the idea. The remaining folks, ones that a US President two centuries later would call “the silent majority,” wanted something in between, but could end up supporting either side, given the right circumstances.
The same is true for the nation’s position on the divisive issue of abortion. The latest poll, which was released last week, underlines this point in each variation of the questions.
The percent of Americans who oppose abortion at every level, and those that believe it should be legal in every situation are the fringe. They do not represent the views of the vast majority of Americans. They are very vocal, and quite energized, but they are not the majority: or even a large plurality. They represent extremist elements of society.
A significant majority of the nation, however, agrees that the United States Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade should be the law of the land in regard to abortion.
Additionally, a significant plurality of citizens believe that abortion should be used sparingly and should have certain restrictions.
So does that mean, America is Pro Choice? No. Does it mean that America is Pro Life? No.
Yet, rest assured, that in the coming days, both sides in this very emotional debate will claim victory with these numbers.
The one thing that is abundantly clear, however, is that the American citizenry is nuanced in their opinions on the issue.
Quite frankly, that makes perfect sense. Almost every family in America has been or will be part of the abortion debate: An unwanted pregnancy by an unwed mother. An unwanted pregnancy by divorcing spouses. A victim of rape or incest. A women with a medical condition that may require termination of a pregnancy. A woman with a miscarriage.
One of these issues has touched every family in America, and required a person or people to closely examine the issue of abortion and how it applies to her, him, or them.
Yet, the extremists on both sides don’t want to discuss these very difficult decisions. They simply want the easy answer that applies to their side in the debate.
The American people are far too nuanced in this debate for sound bites and extremist views. The polling is very clear on this. Whether the politicians listen is another story entirely.