Labels pigeonhole people, but we love ’em. Let’s look at the idea of “choice” on both sides of the aisle.
Conservatives who oppose abortion on demand call themselves “pro-life”. Unless they’re also pacifists, however, “pro-life” is too broad a term and they’re really just “anti-abortion”. Liberals who support a woman’s right to abortion on demand call themselves “pro-choice”. That’s too broad a use of the word choice. They’re really “pro-choice on abortion”, hence simply pro-abortion, right? They certainly wouldn’t call themselves “anti-life”.
Choice is a freedom word and it’s political opposite is control. Most “pro-issue” people are actually “pro-choice” on their issue; it’s the “anti” folks who want to restrict everything they don’t like. While liberals demand choice on abortion they’d rather control and limit choice on everything else.
We’ll start with school choice. Why do parents line up for hours to register their children for charter and magnet schools, both of which are public schools that operate outside of the mainstream? Why do they spend money on private schools while paying taxes for public schools? They want a quality education, discipline, and in some cases values that reflect their own, that’s why. They realize that “one size fits all” doesn’t work for all, that education and indoctrination are not the same thing, and that dumbing down won’t help the US compete globally. Fundamentalist religious schools that “don’t teach science” are often used as the example against school choice, but they’re a small part of the private school sector. Secular private schools and most church-affiliated schools have full science departments and often enviable AP programs. Clearly many parents are “pro-school-choice”,.
People who are labeled “pro-gun” don’t want to arm anyone who doesn’t want to be armed; they just don’t want their freedom of choice restricted. The “anti-gun” faction, however has an agenda to restrict that freedom. Anyone who simply doesn’t like guns simply doesn’t own one. While both sides argue over interpretation of the 2nd amendment they forget that self defense is a fundamental human right that existed long before the Constitution.
What about health care choice? Many people can’t keep their choice of plans, doctors, or hospitals, but they can pay more because the ACA is “one-size-fits-all”. Everyone has access to birth control whether they need it or not, but some have lost access to cancer centers that they need to stay alive. What’s the point of having world-class treatment centers if they’re only for multimillionaires?
Labels get weirder on the immigration issue. Except for xenophobes, the majority of people who are labeled “anti-immigration” are actually “pro-legal-immigration”. They want the immigration process to be fair, equal, and secure for the immigrants and the nation. Anyone who is “pro-immigration” in the sense of opening our borders to the world doesn’t understand that bringing all the starving people in the world into one country would just create one more starving country.
So, what’s your label?