Category Politics & Government

CONSERVATISM: I WALK THE LINE

Not long ago, a good friend and I engaged in the taboo — a discussion about politics. When I said something critical of President G.W. Bush, my friend lashed out, “Well, that makes you a liberal and me a conservative.” Not so. But we ended the conversation and remained friends.

Labels are everything. It’s how simple minded people relate. It’s how we define one another, it’s how we define celebrities and politicians. We like the one-word pigeon holes, it makes it easy for we humans to identify who and what people are. Bush, the conservative. Clinton, the liberal. Bin Laden, the terrorist. Britney Spears, the mental case. Jack Kervorkian, Doctor Death. Pavarotti, the voice. Jeffrey Dahmer, the killer. Nixon, crook.

Much ado is being made these days of Senator McCain’s credentials as a “true” conservative.

Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. What does it matter? All that matters is his loyalty to the nation as an American, and his ability to lead the nation in fiscal responsibility and to make our citizens secure from foreign invaders.

These days, if a politician is opposed to abortion, that makes him a conservative. Pro-choice, means liberal. If a Republican dares to join with Democrats in forming bi-partisan legislation, the party dubs him disloyal and not a true conservative. Meanwhile, Senator McCain, like any politician, is sucking up to the power brokers and the special interest groups assuring everyone that he is everything they all want him to be. Just elect me, please!

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing the term bantered about as though conservative means “good” and liberal means “bad.” In my book, it all depends on the issue. When it comes to illegal immigration, I’m a hard core conservative. When it comes to legalizing marijuana, I’m a flaming liberal. Go ahead. Pigeon hole me.

Rush Limbaugh is considered the number one talk-show host in America. He’s bright, articulate and a hard-core, unapologetic conservative. I take issue with his brightness. One can listen to Rush on any given day and you cannot find one sentence from his lips that does not utter the words “conservative” or “liberal,” invariably in positive and negative context. That’s all that is on the man’s mind, pigeon-holing individuals according to their so-called “conservative” values.

We hear that stupid phrase all the time on news shows. I often wonder what it means — “conservative values” — as though it is synonymous with “Christian values.” Frankly, I would prefer hearing about American values, which could be liberal or conservative, Jewish or Christian, rich or poor, black or white. American values is all that matters.

Rush consistently lionizes George W. Bush as a great conservative. Is that so?

George W. Bush, and his Republican congress, presided over the greatest six years of spending in the history of this nation, never vetoing any bill that contained billions of dollars in unnecessary earmarks. That’s the kind of politics liberals are usually accused of.

George W. Bush presided over the greatest surge in illegal immigration in the nation’s history by failing to have the Justice Department prosecute employers, then proposing a plan that would give amnesty to over twelve million illegals. That’s a conservative?

George W. Bush argued to allow our nation’s ports to be secured by a Islamic mid-east country, not long after three thousands citizens were murdered in a terrorist attack by mid-east Islamics. Conservative?

Now, Rush, and other hard-core “conservatives” are on the warpath dubbing McCain as not being conservative enough, and pledging to scuttle his election. In doing so, he and others like, him, (Hannity, Beck, Savage) are dooming the Republican party in the upcoming election by handing it over to Hillary or Barack. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, depending on one’s orientation, but it’s plain stupid on the part of the so-called kings of talk shows.

Fact is, John McCain has often been accused of being the Republican party maverick because, historically, he does not march in lock-step with party policy, thus demonstrating he has a mind of his own. I consider that a good thing. What’s best for America is, and should be, always more important than what’s best for the party. Politics aside, I have always respected the man.

Meanwhile, as Hillary and Barack stand by laughing, Republican in-fighting will assure the Democratic nominee the forthcoming election. All over a stupid label. After January of 2009, the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of America will bitch and complain about all the liberal policies of the new president, the pro-life Supreme Court Justices, the clamp on run-away spending, and the stop to an unnecessary war, pointing fingers and issuing blame everywhere but in their own bailiwick — which is where it will belong.

As for me, I’m waiting for the first candidate to tell us what he or she will do about the impending incursion of radical Islam extremism within the borders of our country. That, alone, will likely be the most pressing problem facing the future of America, yet no one utters a word.

Is that a liberal or a conservative issue? It’s neither. It’s an American issue. It’s about our grandchildren. Let’s hope the next president has the guts to stand up to the threat.

As for me, ask me the issue before assigning a label. I’m a fan of another great American named, Johnny Cash. Just like him, I Walk The Line.

Abortion: The Black Market Awaits

Three cheers for crime. If moralists have their way, it will only get worse.

How coincidental that within three short weeks of Justice Sam Alito’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the anti-abortion lobby of South Dakota convinced state lawmakers to pass a sweeping bill outlawing abortion in all instances, except to save the life of a mother. Louisiana followed suit, and at least twelve other states are introducing similar legislation.

Progress v Regress?

With only 800 procedures performed a year in it’s lone clinic, South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country. But backers of the bill say they intend for it to reach far beyond the state’s borders and into many other states. The movement for overturning Roe v. Wade is now well on its way. The pro-life lobby has the jump start its been waiting for over the last thirty years.

Who said there was no litmus test for Supreme Court appointees?

According to the most recent Gallup polls, 53 percent of the population consider themselves pro-choice and 42 percent pro-life. Never mind that a whopping 66 percent say they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Those figures have remained relatively constant for the last twenty years, despite all the baby billboards, unsolicited guilt trips, screaming protesters and violent acts against providers.

So much for the will of the people.

It amazes me that so much emphasis is directed by media and political circles on the issue of abortion, as though it had anything to do with the future welfare of America in the domestic and/or international arena. A president can do absolutely nothing about criminalizing abortion other than appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. We all know that president’s don’t use litmus tests for such appointments, right? Meanwhile, in nearly every political debate on both sides of the aisle, candidates pander to lobbyists and single-issue voters by professing their stances; pro-life or pro-choice.

I truly believe there are fanatical voters out there who would vote for a candidate willing to sell America down the river, so long as he/she was pro-life.

While the debate drones on, I rarely hear politicians and lobbyists allude to the consequences of relegating abortions back to trailer parks, ghettos, butcheries and third world countries. For that’s where 1.2 million illegal abortions a year (according to the Guttmacher Institute) were performed before Roe v. Wade ruled that a woman has the right to choose. That doesn’t include the thousands who attempted self-induced abortions. Unsanitary procedures and incompetence often resulted in serious medical complications and even death.

I well recall the days, pre-1973, as a Miami-Dade homicide detective when investigators were specifically assigned to handle illegal abortions, jamming court dockets and jail cells with participants in the abortion business, including desperate mothers. In truth, it was a thriving enterprise for the black market. Criminals loved it.

Today, abortions in the first trimester — accounting for 90 percent of all terminations — cost an average of $400. If made illegal, they will cost $2,000 to $5,000 causing even further trauma for women who are without means. That often leads to more crime.

For those who believe that making abortion illegal is going to prevent women from having abortions, I’ve got some cheap beachfront property to sell them, in the Klondike. Just like using drugs and alcohol, there is no amount of legislation that is going to prevent it, not in a free society. Desperate women will continue terminating pregnancies, forced into the clandestine netherworld of crime where physical dangers prevail instead of open and safe procedures performed by qualified professionals.

Criminals are in wait, licking their chops, hoping and praying for a complete ban by the Supreme Court so they can declare themselves open for business. By driving abortion procedures into the underworld, the black market will yield upwards of $2 to $3 billion a year, a lowball estimate. And the taxpayer will foot the enormous costs of medical care for victims, plus police investigations, courts, lawyers and housing inmates who are unlucky enough to get caught. That’s not to mention the ancillary costs of welfare, disability and maladies stemming from emotional disorder.

There’s certainly more to this issue than meets the eye, far beyond questions of morality. The true answer lies, not in caging people as criminals, but in compassion and education for women who feel desperate enough to end a pregnancy. Numbers of legal abortions have declined steadily, though slightly, over the last ten years as more alternative information through counseling has been made available to women.

Now that the president has met his political commitment to loyal supporters by appointing two — ostensibly — anti-abortionists to the high court, it’s likely that a revised challenge to Roe v. Wade will soon follow. And should the moralists have their way, regardless of public opinion, crime will once again raise its ugly head in due appreciation.

We never learn.