Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Where are the liberals? "Don't ask, don't tell."

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The morning news tells us those reactionary old Republicans managed to sustain a filibuster to defeat the repeal of the ban of homosexuals serving openly in the armed forces. Funny, I thought “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was the Republican stand on abortion.

Really, have you noticed that a lot of the candidates who are “pro-life” never talk about it unless cornered on the subject? “Uh, yes, I’m pro-life, but I can’t help it. I was born that way. Next question.”

Or “I’m pro-life, but let’s stay focused on the important issues. Jobs is number one. Now my plan to create jobs is.…”

Let’s face it, an awful lot of voters are “pro-choice,” meaning they personally wouldn’t carve up a baby and throw it in the trash. They leave that to the professionals. A woman’s physician does that as a “health service.” And a woman is always free to consult her clergyperson or even her own conscience on the matter. The problem with consulting one’s conscience is that years of watching political debates has taught us all that conscience can easily be shouted down. Measured against polling and focus group data, old conscience hardly has a chance. Still, it manages to sneak in a few words now and then. I heard a candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire twice say during a pre-primary debate: “No decent person is comfortable with the number of abortions being performed.” After the debate I asked him with what number of abortions we decent persons should be comfortable.

“As close to zero as possible,” he said. “But we must not let government interfere with our individual freedoms and control what we do with our own bodies.”

I asked him if a two-year-old is being abused by one or more of his or her own parents in the privacy of their own home, government should intervene.

“Government should intervene,” he answered without hesitation.

“Then why shouldn’t government intervene to protect the child in the womb?” I asked.

“Look, you and I are not going to agree on this,” he said, ending the dialogue on that note. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Works swell.

The gentleman is known as a “moderate” in the Republican Party, to distinguish him from the Grand Old conservatives. There are no more liberals, apparently, so a moderate is someone poised halfway between conservatism and … what, exactly? Okay, what vaguely? You can’t have a middle ground unless you have at least a loosely defined left and right or up and down.

It reminds me of the time I stopped at Burger King and ordered a small beverage. The young girl (She appeared to be no more than 12) taking my order was dumbstruck when she looked at the screen in front of her and discovered there was no “small” anything. She conferred with a superior (who looked about 14) and between them they were able to tell me that Burger King doesn’t do small beverages. Only “medium” and “large.” It is a logical impossibility, of course, but Burger King is no more there to serve logic than your average candidate for Congress. It is there to serve burgers and large or medium coffees and Cokes.

Political junkies or news junkies may have noticed that “moderate” is an adjective rarely applied to someone who is opposed to keeping abortion “safe, legal and rare.” One might ask in vain what “pro-choice” people are doing to make abortion “rare.” Oh, yes, I almost forgot. They are handing out condoms to the kiddies in public schools, starting in the lower grades, perhaps. Meanwhile, they promise, as I heard a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate promise early this year, that any efforts to restrict a woman’s “right to choose” would be passed only “over my dead body.”

How brave and noble of him. He is a Democrat and a member of the House of Representatives, and he supports ObamaCare and the whole Obama agenda. But I suspect you might search in vain for any reference to Paul Hodes of New Hampshire as a “liberal” in any newspaper of general circulation.

Where are the liberals? Don’t ask, don’t tell. Like Nixon’s plan to end the Vietnam War or those “mysterious weapons of mass destruction” that George W. Bush sent thousands of Americans to fight and die over. And how about a plan to balance the federal budget? What might that be?

“Don’t ask, don’t tell.”