Commentary on social and moral issues of the day

Kissing Up to Kate

William Murchison

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Democratic party captive to the pro-choice lobby.

The challenges of a presidential election year--this one, for instance--are many and varied, such as the likelihood of being prodded by that pesky old conscience to tune in a televised presidential debate. Maybe good old morbid curiosity does the job. Either way, stoic patience is the watchword, not just for the candidates who exhibit their stuff but also for the voters they seek to overhaul, wheedle, and persuade. And by the way, would the late Marcus Aurelius himself be up to one of these quadrennial exercises? He was an emperor, after all, with small disposition probably to suffer fools longer than it took the Praetorian Guard to hustle them away.

In a presidential year, there is much the voters must bear with, nor am I talking about advertisements alone. I am talking about junk and nonsense and equivocations repeated over and over again for maximum effect. Pitching your message at nearly 300 million not-exactly-like-minded citizens means, among other things, shunning the complex, hunting for the hot button, declining to see both sides of a question (unless, to be sure, you miraculously discover three or four sides, each worth discussing to three or four distinct audiences). Great grave questions reduce to sound bites and happy talk. You wouldn't like to imagine, probably, how the likes of Madison must be taking it in, their wool-stockinged legs crossed in some celestial retiring room for founding fathers.

Again, in 2004, presidential politics is reducing the human life question--the terrible, terrifying question, the question of all questions in some sense, to bumper sticker material. There will be no careful, reasoned debates this presidential season, over the imputed rights and the imputed wrongs. There will be as usual shrieks, most of which will proceed from the liberal and Democratic side of the political spectrum.

Kate Michelman of NARAL Pro-Choice America emitted one notable shriek on Jan. 22, 2004, the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She was in a mood for fund-raising and brow-beating. "[W]e are truly at a moment," said our Kate, "in which American women could again be stripped of their rights and forced into deadly back alleys." Really? Well, really, according to a pro-choice leader who wants to make sure her pro-choice political Indians stay close to the reservation. As of course they will, if they know what's good for them.

Political discourse on abortion is generally worse than unenlightening. It is off-putting and useless, save in terms of rousing the troops. It must be acknowledged that the pro-life side of the equation doesn't necessarily, by virtue of alignment with the moral tradition of Christian civilization, produce the most delicate rhetoric. Nonetheless, the most stubborn talk, the most adamant, tends to come from national Democrats, a not-quite wholly-owned subsidiary of the pro-choice movement. (Union chieftains and minority "spokesmen" like Al Sharpton enjoy co-ownership rights.)

Democratic presidential candidates can't blow their noses without making the noise sound like a honk of approval for the proposition that a woman has the right to "choose."

Read this article on the Human Life Review website.

Posted: 5/20/04

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