Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Danforth is Right on This One

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: In the Name of Politics: "When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to oppose the cause of another."

Danforth says exactly the right things. Religion is a freedom, to both have it and be free of it. The religious in our communities have begun to show their hubris, and nothing will make the Conservative Movement fall faster than that. As it relates to the Schiavo case, supporters of both sides have gone far from reasonable. There is no way for the on-looker to have enough information to form a truly appropriate opinion about whether she should be taken off of the feeding tube. She and her former husband are the only people that really know what she said. Secondly, we should not assume that this man is a wife beater or hungry for money, because that has only been alleged as far as I can tell during this debate. They had been dealing with her condition, such as it has been, for the last fifteen years. I understand the Shindler's wanting to keep their daughter alive, but I also understand the husband wanting to do what she requested. I guess it just amazes me that people will write signs, go the hospice, and sit there with the signs day after day when they could not possible know enough about the issue between Terri and her husband to feel that strongly.
I also agree with Danforth as it relates to stem cell research, and moreover, the traditional conservative values. If we could get the Republican Party to go back to addressing the issues that made its constituency vote for it, taxes and security, we might have a chance at winning in the next election. If not, moderates like me might see something in a feminine Clinton run. She has spent the last few years plotting out a moderate run, while my party is obsessed with religious politics. People like me want morals and ethics in government, but not Christianity.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Let's At Least Try To Root For Our Own Success

Rich Lowry on Iraq on National Review Online: "On his show the other night, comedian Jon Stewart-half-jokingly-expressed a feeling of dread at the changes in the Middle East and the credit President Bush will get for them. "Oh my God!" he said. "He's gonna be a great, pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, 'Reagan was nothing compared to this guy.' Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it." Stewart is badly in need of the consolation of a yet-to-be-written pop theological tract, 'When Good Things Happen to Bad Presidents.'

The Democratic foreign-policy expert who was Stewart's guest that night, Nancy Soderberg, tried to comfort him, pointing out that the budding democratic revolution in the Middle East still might fail: "There's always hope that this might not work.' There is historical precedent for that, of course. Liberal revolutions failed in Europe in 1848 and Eastern Europe in 1968. What is an entirely new phenomenon is liberals calling such reverses for human freedom-half-jokingly or not-occasions for hope.

Soderberg added: "There's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope." The way Bogart and Bergman 'will always have Paris,' liberals now tell themselves they 'will always have Iran and North Korea.' No matter the good news anywhere else, these nuke-hungry rogue states will provide grounds for bad-mouthing Bush foreign policy. But these two intractable problems won't seriously detract from Bush's world-changing accomplishment should he succeed in transforming the Middle East."

The reality was that it wasn't really joking. Soderberg is a hard-core partisan, and she was giving instructions, not entertaining. It is one thing to be against this war, but shouldn't we all be in favor of democracies that develop as a result? Shouldn't we support the spread of democracy because we hope others have the freedoms that we were blessed to be born into? It is fine to dislike this President, but to show callousness to oppressed citizens of other countries just because you don't want this President to 'win' is bordering on a partisan disease.


Not "Outsourcing Torture", Just Sending Them Home

The New York Times > Editorials & Opinion: "The protections due to any prisoner of the U.S. cannot be changed by sending him to another country."

Aren't we often talking about sending them back to their home country? Isn't it possible that people from their own culture might have an advantage to getting information from them, understanding them? I don't know the answer to that, but I have a hard time thinking that we are sending all of these people to be held by their own country in order to ensure that they are "tortured". We may just be sending them saying, 'this guy is your problem. You watch him'.

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