For every action, a reaction: When that mockingbird don’t sing

Years ago, radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, had a virtual song-and-dance routine she turned into a book for children called But I Waaannt it! Every dedicated parent recognizes the whine, “I want it, therefore you, Mom and Dad, must get it for me,” and the child then swears through gritted baby teeth that he is going to trash pit to eat worms, unless…he gets whatever it is, correcto? After all, we know how life works: “Hush, hush, little future King or Princess, Daddy’s gonna buy you a mockin’ bird. And if that mockin’ bird dare not sing, well then, Daddy’s gonna go buy you a big old ring…”

That’s the deal. For children, but not for long. Most children tearfully soon discover a world of hard knocks, of bitter disappointment; they learn the word No. Never mind that before long they find that N-O works both ways, and the struggle of childhood begins: A young ego, a wild spirit, after testing its parents for most of two decades, accepts no as no, and the moral, legal and social reasons why that is so. Sometimes.

An easing influence has been in effect, however, against all this negativity, and that has to do with Dr. Laura’s examination and presentation of the giant exception to N-O: But I Waaannt it! And if I want it, then I should and shall have it. Utter self-permission at the peril of all else. If I want that job, my coworker’s position, and my wanting does not bring it falling into my lap, I must do something. After all, I want it. If I want a bigger house, a better car, I can borrow almost any amount to satisfy my desire. If I like to flirt with other people’s spouses, I can do that, and more, because I want to; I need the attention, a little pick-me-up in life’s weary middle-age.

It is early 2019, and our culture, our nation is in serious danger. Recent generations—at no fault of their own, of course—having been nursed on the pablum of self-indulgence, having been fed unto advanced maturity on the idea that “what I want” likely supersedes all else, understand “getting what I want” as the universal struggle.

Thanks to the worst advice known to mankind: “I did it myyy waaay”—Frankie, old blue eyes, do you know how many lives you ruined?—there remain two areas where we cannot yet have it my way: Fittingly, the beginning and the end, birth and death. Or should we say death and birth? Recently, Koku Istambulova, a woman native to Chechnya, died at age 128. In an interview last year, she said she had never had a good day, not once, her whole life. Asked how then she had lived so long (because what is life without pleasure), she claimed no secrets. Amid accidents, war, forced migration, public cruelty, “a lazy husband,” she just lived on. And on, none of it much fun. Days before her death, she seemed even to raise eyebrows at those who pose and preen, exercise and eat right, for what? We might ask the same as at least every few weeks Drudgereport and others tell us give up, there are secret and exclusive plans available only to the mighty and the rich to live enduringly on and on. We are not included.

It is birth and the greedy grasp of some on it, their dirty-fingered insanity, the heartless quest for infants’ body parts to make the rich and mighty look younger that best highlights Dr Schlessinger’s lesson, But I Waaannt It, more than anything else. Birth, giving birth, has become the most conflicted event of our present observance. A free-for-all, few moral or social rules required, today’s births turn on little more than I waaannt. I don’t wanna. A couple need not marry. A baby’s gender and strange-sounding, even gang-related names are announced; few moms-to-be feel the need to cover up, to protect their elegance, their modesty, but rather wear the tightest, stretchiest, most attention-earning outfits on the market where they then can not refrain from the public patting and rubbing of their own girth. We see even the most recent member of Britain’s royal family so hooked on self-obsessed stomach-caresses that watchers long to advise, sheesh, lady, stop pattin’ on yourself.

The publicly proud pregnancy has become likened unto the crowning of a new Miss America, all celebration, with few hints of the sacrifice and strength soon required in the care of a new baby. No, infants are soon shelved, temporarily adored, quickly turned over to the village, to the watchers at day care centers to raise, often before the babes are able to satisfactorily turn from front to back. What was all the fuss about? I waaannt a baby, I waaannt to be pregnant, I don’t waaannt to just stay home. In fact, to pay for the upkeep, new moms rush back to work, while we might ask why? Has the wish for a bigger, finer lifestyle brought expenses that needlessly separate new mothers from their very small children while their men sit, it seems, on the sidelines. We see them. Going on with their own lives. Show over.

Not to sound harsh, but for every action, there is a reaction, for every movement, a counter-movement. When we turn birth and birthing into a show, a short-term performance, we should not be horrified, my friends, when a counter-performance is observed, and that, sadly, abhorrently, is the extreme disrespect and indifference to life itself. In order to show true respect for life, we might listen to those voices we hear now crying in the desert. Unpleasant, unappreciated, these pleas beg for a return to the low-key pregnancy, however privately celebrated, to a reestablishment of womanly modesty, and an absolute focus on the next two decades of the life of the child. Not a decoration, not an object d’art. A real person, the child must be treasured without being deified because the birthing system we celebrate now is not a serious counter-action to the wretched sinfulness of the abortion industry where a child is a throwaway, unneeded, unwanted, except for those innocent body parts.

Betty is a born, raised, and educated, San Antonio original. She received a BA in English and French from Our Lady of the Lake University. A prolific writer and columnist, she wrote for the European Stars and Stripes and the former San Antonio Light Newspaper where she won many awards. In 2013 she published “HERE I AM: the Abraham Legacy” a novel based mostly on Desert Storm. Betty also earned a MA in theology from St. Mary’s University and is currently studying the Korean language, history and culture. Her literary activities also include the instruction of English as a high school teacher.