Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cheering on that other Nation

Okay, this post serves two purposes. To see if I can upload photographs to the blog, and to have a place to plop some of the zillions of photos of the Boston Red Sox that I've downloaded over time.

I need some irrelevancy right about now, an escape from the horror of politics, and baseball used to be my solace. When my youth was rudely disrupted by the New York baseball Giants being wrenched away from the city, I eventually tried to transfer my loyalty, first to the Yankees, then to the Mets, and then again to the Yankee
s. But my heart was never in it.

Fast-forward to the 1970s, when a bunch of us, who had gone camping in Vermont, ended our trip by attending a three-game Boston-Yankees series at Fenway Park. The excitement was lik
e nothing we had ever experienced, especially when the Red Sox won the third game, which put them in first place. Leaving that final game was exhilarating, as the chant, "We're Number One!," was shouted far and wide, not only by people in the streets, but also by those hanging out of windows. Those games turned out to be the highlight of what had been a disappointing rainy week of camping, and we didn't even mind that the Yankees lost.

For many years thereafter, I intermittently paid attention to post-season activity, like Pennants and World Series, but not too deeply. Then about four or five years ago, I absentmindedly began to follow the Red Sox, becoming familiar with the roster, catching the rare game that was shown on broadcast television, when they played the Yankees. And I found myself being drawn into Red Sox Nation. I knew I was lost when it became clear that I could not go to bed at night without learning the outcome of that day's game -- and when I found myself worrying over injuries, and caught up in wondering, "Just what the heck does Manny want?!"

So, as they take on California's formidab
le Angels, here's wishing the Red Sox the same kind of luck they had last year. And now I will see if I can upload those photos.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin fills in those cracks in the ceiling

"If Palin were a man, we'd all be guffawing," writes syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker to her comrades in the conservative camp. And, she continues, "because she's a woman, we are reluctant to say what is painfully true."

Parker, obviously a person who cheers for people according to their gender (or race, too, perhaps?) claims that, "Like so many women, I've been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly." Are we to assume that Parker would not be "wishing for the best," if the VP candidate were Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney?

To cheer for some sports or entertainment figure on the basis of sentimental reasoning is one thing. If you're just dying to see a woman win a Nascar race, or a Chinese-American win a major league Most Valuable Player award, that's nice. It makes no sense to me, but it's harmless. How can anyone, however, at a time like this, when such important leadership positions are at stake, concern herself with an irrelevancy like proving that a woman can hold her own among men? (Do you hear Irving Berlin in the background, Anything you can do, I can do better?)

It took only 40 years of liberal brainwashing for this race/gender hype to sink in so deeply that it now seems to control the thinking of most Americans. Today, one camp is cheering on a colored foreigner, whose clever handlers managed to intrude him into American politics, calculatingly configuring his "street creds," while he mastered what Camille Paglia calls "inner-city African-American tones and locutions," hardly acquired while growing up in Hawaii.

And the other camp, composed mainly of pro-life devotees (see Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin), who are holding the Republican party hostage, are intent on countering liberal dominance with their very special version of a "feminist." Sarah Palin should lead us because she's a female who happens to be a Working Mom, and the colored guy should lead, because he's colored.

Meanwhile, the rational Ron Paul gets thrust aside for being too serious, too up-front, too knowledgeable, and way too intelligent. Could the Founders ever have foreseen such foolishness?

Parker calls Palin "a refreshing feminist of a different order," who personifies "the modern successful working mother." However, as it turns out, according to Parker herself, this wonderful personification of working Moms leaves more than a little something to be desired in other realms. In Palin Problem: She's out of her league, National Review (9/26/08), Parker admits that Palin "filibusters, repeats words, fills space with deadwood," and, referring to Palin's various public pronouncements, "there's not much content there." Finally, Parker requests that Palin do the unthinkable – bow out of the race. Put family first. Do it for the country.

The persevering Republican, Wendell Jackson, who hosts the blog, Black Men for McCain, reports that Sarah Palin has undone the work of all those women who made those proverbial cracks in that ever-present ceiling. In addition, she has managed to "fill in every single one of those cracks and reinforce them with steel." Strong words coming from a man who has blown the trumpet faithfully for the Republican cause (whatever that is these days). Like Parker, Jackson believes that Palin "should be sent packing immediately," and asserts, "I am no longer embarrassed to be a Republican, I am actually ashamed."

There's no shame coming from Frank Miele, the managing editor of Montana's Daily Interlake newspaper, who, in The Palin Test: A liberal litmus for the media, writes strongly in support of Palin, while condemning the mainstream media for being responsible for her poor image. Accusing ABC's Charles Gibson of playing "cut and paste" with his interview of Palin, Miele offers sections of the transcript that were deleted on screen.

Yet, in spite of Miele's valiant effort to put Palin's best foot forward, even her restored deleted remarks do not invite confidence in her command of the issues. Leaving out the oft reported comments about her foreign policy expertise deriving from Alaska's physical proximity to Russia, what do we make of her calling Russia's response to Georgia's invasion of Ossetia "unprovoked?" Gibson asks her a second time, "You believe unprovoked?" Palin responds, "I do believe unprovoked."

She then babbles on about the need to "keep our eyes on Russia." The rest of this exchange is hardly enlightening, as she recites her party's typical talking points, repeating over and over that "Russia is our next door neighbor," and that both countries should maintain good relations. Okay.

In her interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Palin talked about Russia's Putin "rearing his head" over the borders of the U.S., presumably, sending airplanes. Miele surmises from this that Palin, as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard, has been given briefings (from the Department of State?) to watch out for a possible attack by Russia. Well, why not a war on four fronts? Surely, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are not enough. Let's find a reason to have a go at Russia, a country whose leaders are clearly indicating that they are concerned only with the security of their own diverse geographic territories. "Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?" asks Pat Buchanan in his scathing column, Blowback from Bear Baiting, that derides the Bush Administration's indignation over Russia's move into Georgia, while citing the United States' interventions in one foreign country after another.

This brief exchange between Palin and Couric about Putin does indicate some foreign policy awareness, even if it's no more than suppositions about what could be. In the interview, Palin chirps, "As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state."

This is the depth of Palin's "foreign policy" observations, which Miele is outraged that the media either excised or did not treat seriously.

Would Huckabee or Romney have been stymied by any of these reporters' questions, even if they were designed for entrapment? Not a chance. Huckabee's good humor would have disarmed his questioner, as he handled anything thrown at him in his own special manner. Romney's deft experience with the media would show in his decisive responses, and he would give as good as he got. Imagine Romney in a stare-down with Couric or Gibson. No one would have cause to whine about the "unfair" treatment by mainstream media. And, best of all, we would not be subjected to the disgraceful conservative version of the feminists' cry of "sexism."
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is this the ultimate whine?

I would like to believe that the Wall Street Journal made up this quote, but I guess I'll have to go along with the fact that Robert Gordon really does exist. In the Journal article, by Gary Fields, "Black Voters Fret Over Obama" (9/12/08), Gordon, a black man, described as a "48-year-old engineering surveyor from Dallas," offers one of the most incredible whines that a black has yet to publicly utter.

The article quotes sources (black talk show hosts, NAACP officials) who suggest that blacks will be disappointed, even despondent, if Barack Obama fails to win the presidential election – since "there is so much about this campaign that people are taking very personally." Here is Gordon's lament:

If he loses, it will shake the very ground that we stand on mentally as far as what we need to be to succeed. From day one, we've been told to be a certain way, to be neat, intellectual, speak clearly. He is the symbol of what we were told to be by our parents and by society as a whole. If this doesn't work, what does that do to our psyche? What do I tell my sons?

In other words, "Big Daddy White Man promised that if I were good, he would give me the appropriate rewards." Rewards that, apparently, include the Presidency of the United States. Good grief!

After I stopped laughing at this quote, I began to reflect: What about those of us who have to face the reality of a country that will not be led by Ron Paul? What about the horror we will experience when we wake up on November 5, to discover that Ron Paul is not President, Chuck Baldwin is not Vice President, and Pat Buchanan is not Secretary of State?

What condition do you think we will be in as we accept the rude truth that we will have to continue to watch our country's ongoing descent to Hell in a handbasket? What do you think that will do to our psyches? Especially after we've made it a point to be neat, intellectual, and to speak clearly!

And, Lord help us, what do we tell "the children?"
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Racial disconnects and double standards

Film Review: A Conversation About Race

"It's like a subtle undercurrent," the black woman claims, in response to a question put to her by Craig Bodeker about whether she experiences racism in Denver. It turns out that the "undercurrent" is so subtle that none of the blacks or whites interviewed could pin down specific instances of meaningful, substantive bias that affected their daily lives or those of other non-whites. If your life is not impacted in some negative way, that is, if you are not prevented from going about your business, whether work or social, just what are we talking about, when we use the word "racism?" This term surely doesn't seem to mean today what it probably meant to a 1930s black sharecropper.

Bodeker, who is white, decided he wanted to follow up on presidential candidate Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech, delivered this past March, in which Obama claimed that it was time for the country to engage in a conversation about race. Hence, the title of this thoughtful documentary film, A Conversation About Race, in which Bodeker interviews what looks like a diverse group of people – 20-somethings, individuals who look to be in their 30s, 40s and 50s, blacks, whites, and Hispanics.

Belief in "racism" today, in most cases, is exactly that – a belief. Bodeker opens the film citing his suspicions about the term itself and the people who use it frequently. He says, "I can't think of another issue that is more artificial, manufactured and manipulated than this whole construct called "racism."

Several of the interviewees claim, "I see racism every day," and then hem and haw when asked to be specific, or else talk in generalities. Or they offer some of the most tenuous examples and digress into platitudes. A 50-ish white woman, who appears to be overly careful and self-conscious in her response to the request for her definition of racism, declares, "Racism is when we chop ourselves into categories." She then wanders off into philosophical convolutions about how there is no separation. "I am you. I'm the chair. I'm the wall. I'm the rock, I'm the tree, I'm everything." Okay, but what is racism?

A black man (in his 40s, perhaps?) is sure he knows what racism is, and offers what he considers a couple of examples. One day, when he went to a local library to use a computer, "I noticed that one of the guys who worked in the library is staring at me. He's pretending that he's going to get coffee, but he's staring at me, while I'm using the computer. So, then when I leave, he and one of the other librarians said, 'Well, goodbye now [he does a waving gesture].' They gave me the impression that they were saying good riddance now."

Did anyone interfere with his use of the computer or the library facilities? Apparently not. But he got those "impressions," and that's good enough to earn for the library staff the reproach of "racist."

This same black man, after informing the interviewer more than once that he "prefers to date white women," tells of his experience on this front. "I get stares from white guys. I was at a night club not long ago and I'm out dancing, and a white guy walks by and says, 'You're a good dancer.' I don't need to hear that. Then he gets on the dance floor by himself and he starts dancing like he's some kind of great dancer, apparently trying to show me up."

One wonders, is this a case of imagining that white men are jealous of him for his prowess with white women, which is, perhaps, the very emotion that he wishes to incite? Is being told by a drunk on a dance floor that you're a good dancer a clear sign of racism? And how exactly does that affect one's life?

The whites interviewed are so typical in their vehemence about the existence of racism. Like a great many whites, they enjoy beating up on themselves, as they tell stories of how they "conquered" their former conditioning. A 20-ish blonde woman, apparently very sincere, tells about a black who was being loud on the train she takes every day, and how she instinctively felt critical about this behavior.

She condemned the thoughts that came into her head during the rowdiness. "Oh, black people, they're so loud. Or black people this, or black people that. And it's wrong. I realized it right away. The culture I grew up in was white culture, and the racist culture that we live in is just bound to get you in one way or another." One assumes that the "white culture" that upsets her so now was one where she was taught to behave with civility in public. However, to expect that of others is, I guess, intolerant. So now we have another white person who has seen the light and overcome her intolerance and, hence, her "racism."

A white man, who could be in his late 20s or 30s, claims to see racism constantly against non-whites: "I see how my friends have to struggle just getting through the day and struggling with the people in their lives." What? His remark reminds me of one made by New York City's former Mayor Ed Koch on a radio talk show. Now, if anyone knows better, Ed Koch does. But on this occasion, he got carried away in a discussion on racism, and described a terrible society that "all blacks" face every day. From the minute a black leaves his home in the morning to go to work, according to Koch, he encounters ugly, persistent racism, which goes on throughout the day. Just where is this going on, I wanted to ask him. In New York? In Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston? Where are blacks being tormented openly, and on a daily basis, in this country?

I wanted to challenge Koch, to pick any black man, go off to work with him, and spend the day on his job, and wherever he goes in the evening. And then come back and report on the terrible, racist encounters that the black man suffered. There are whites who, for reasons that might only be explained by psychiatrists, persist in living with the fixation of the "persecuted black" who is still in a relentless struggle with bad white folks. The whites who hold such beliefs are, of course, the "good white folks." What psychic need is fed by this over-the-top, melodramatic view of life in America?

Getting back to the interviews, there is, of course, the black with the complaint about shopping in stores, although he/she might not have encountered the situations they portray. A 20-ish black woman, in her interview, relates: "Say you have a white person walk in; they won't greet the white person. But when a black person comes in, they'll get on you and ask you if there's something I can help you with, can I interest you in something. They'll pay closer attention to the black person."

And here we have the damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. Blacks have been so conditioned to crave the acceptance of whites that mere indifference on the part of a white person to the presence of a black is a stamp of "racism." Whites must be conscious at all times of the neediness of blacks, and behave appropriately, if they are to escape the damning charge of "racist." Giving no attention in a store or restaurant gets whites in trouble, and offering "too much" attention also gets them in trouble. Don't ignore me, but don't pay too much attention to me either. If you do, you're a racist.

A light-skinned black man, 50-ish, whom I would have taken for a white, tells the interviewer about a "vivid recollection" he still has about a "racist" encounter. He was standing on a ski lift line, as a teenager, where members of the family in front of him were laughing and talking together. "I made what I thought was a curious comment, and the father turned around and looked at me, and as soon as he realized that I wasn't just like him, his face froze. The whole family, everybody stopped laughing, because it was immediately not funny."

So, not responding to a stranger's remarks is racist. To whom has this not happened – black-on-black, as well as white-on-white? You miscalculate entering a private conversation and get the cold shoulder. Considering that this man has carried this memory around with him for decades, and this is the story about "racism" he chose to tell, one wonders if this is the worst incident of its kind. Over all these years, has he not suffered anything worse than silence from strangers?

I found these interviews fascinating, and I could go on with commentary about more of them. However, it is far more effective to see the interviewees and to watch the body language, along with their responses. The DVD of this film is well worth buying, since it is unique for its frankness on a subject that most people try to avoid. Although I hope I'm wrong, I think it would be unlikely to see this documentary presented on PBS, which is where it belongs. It might be too politically incorrect for the likes of Public Television's multicultural zealots.

Craig Bodeker's low-key narrative is superlative, as he ties the various themes together, and explores what he calls "multiple disconnects, inconsistencies, and double standards." He gets his respondents to discuss whether they believe particular groups excel in certain fields; why Asians tend to outdo everyone else academically; whether whites have a right to be advocates for their own racial group; and attitudes towards immigration.

A black man, in one of the interviews, condemns Bodeker's supposed forefathers, who "came over here and did their dirty deed," i.e., deceived the Indians and took their land. In his concluding summary, Bodeker calmly speculates on why it is acceptable to assign collective racial guilt to all whites, for the actions of a minute fraction, who operated hundreds of years ago, and yet it is not acceptable to assign collective racial guilt to blacks, for example, for the crimes they themselves have committed in this decade alone.

He informs the viewer that, like millions of white Americans, his ancestors came to this country after the Civil War. "No forefather of mine ever killed an Indian or owned another human being." Yet he, along with millions of other whites, still gets blamed for crimes his forefathers never committed.

For further information on A Conversation About Race, and to learn how you may purchase the DVD, visit Craig Bodeker's website.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin

I have said for years that pro-lifers (who deem themselves "conservative") are just as responsible for the explosion in illegitimate childbirth among girls and young women as are the liberals, whose social policies opened the door to decades of permissive advocacy. I reached this conclusion after years of listening to ardent, emotional propaganda from the pro-life camp, directed to impressionable females, who could easily interpret their messages as condoning the acts of getting banged, impregnated and abandoned. Outright heroization of illegitimate childbirth is as reckless as the incessant hyping of sex to the young.

And, once I learned that many of these pro-lifers engage in the deluded practice of throwing baby showers (yes, baby showers) for these misguided and unfortunate young women, I was convinced more than ever that pro-lifers are part of the problem, and their cause is not the place to look for solutions. Does it take much acumen to figure out that you get more of what you encourage and reward?

The views recently expressed by Wendell Jackson on his blog, Black Men for McCain, over the selection of Sarah Palin for Republican Vice President, reflect perfectly the consternation of so many parents who thought they could, at least, trust the political party, which for years set itself opposite the "permissive" Democrats to be sensible in its choice of its major candidates. Jackson writes, "This is a strange time to be a Republican. Is teen pregnancy now just a sign of An American Family? What the hell is going on here?"

Indeed, what is going on here? Black and Hispanic parents, raising children in the midst of social chaos, striving to inculcate values better than those of their hopelessly disordered neighborhoods, will now contend with yet one more notoriously public pregnant child celebrity. One more occasion to explain why their daughters should fight off the temptation to replicate yet another celebrity's imprudence.

Here are parents of every race, class and background valiantly trying to offset an intrusive media's corrosive impact in the lives of their children, as they cope with a public school system that reinforces the media's socially destructive messages. As though in partnership with these negative forces, along come the pro-lifers, who validate youthful sexually promiscuous behavior, by celebrating its inevitable outcome and consequences. They have not only helped to normalize illegitimate childbirth, but have raised it to the status of saintliness. Instead of a Scarlet Letter, Hester gets a heads up and encouragement to repeat her folly.

And now we're confronted with a major politician expressing no regrets for the mistake made by her underage daughter, but actually celebrating it as a "beautiful" event. Why should not Palin's two younger daughters crave the attention and spotlight now being lavished on the older one, and look forward to repeating her example – along with the many girls around the country who are awed by the spectacle of an unwed pregnant teenager being feted at a prominent political convention?

Jason Whitlock, the outspoken sports columnist, who ruffles many feathers with his critiques of aspects of black culture, tirelessly writes about the plague of illegitimacy and the glorification of men who abandon their children to the mercies of single mothers. Because of what have become ingrained cultural norms, Whitlock says that blacks "behave as if 'No' is not part of our vocabulary." Well, "No" gets even harder to articulate in a society where there are rewards to girls for saying "Yes," and still greater rewards if that "Yes" results in a baby.

Just as the prominence of Barack Obama is encouraging more and more media portrayals of interracial intimacy, the Palin phenomenon is sure to guarantee an ongoing proliferation of stories about happy, heroic unwed mothers. The multiplier effect will be running at high gear.

A hit with pro-lifers, the "Single Mom" is also the media's glorified heroine, and there are already countless depictions of her on television and in films. According to these stories, the single woman or teenage girl who winds up pregnant, no matter what her social straits, opts to give birth, and never considers availing herself of the alternative choice. After all, an abortion would end the story line, and lose the opportunity to hype the special wonders of single motherhood. These are the fantasies off which adolescents feed.

This fabricated Single Mom usually gets that great job, finds an affordable place to live, has enough money to pay for the keepers of her child, and even wins the attention of a handsome, responsible man. This wonderful guy, of course, considers it hunky-dory that she chose to create offspring from a previous liaison, an illicit one at that. These are among the pretty, sentimental stories and messages offered to young girls, like the real life high school girls in Denver, where that city's school system is struggling with demands for longer maternity leave and for more on-site child care centers.

According to the Denver Post, one of the districts already has a high school for pregnant teens and "new moms" with a maternity leave policy, so that girls can be allowed to "bond with their newborns," before returning to school. School administrators are trying to cope with the extended absences from course work, while insuring that these girls' education can continue. Some students are lobbying for longer maternity leave. The Post quotes a 5-month pregnant 18-year-old, "After you have the baby, your body needs time to heal." Does she know this from experience, because this is not her first illegitimate birth?

The Post reports that Denver has one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates in the state. Of every 1,000 girls age 15 to 17, about 54 of them are expected to become pregnant. There is a special high school for pregnant teenagers, and it has a waiting list.

If the Republicans had known about these conditions in the Denver public schools earlier, perhaps they are the ones who should have held their convention in that city, and the implacable pro-lifers among them could have enjoyed touring some of the day care facilities established for the children of children, while listening to the maudlin stories of these stoic, young Moms.

Here in New York City, in 2006, over 8,000 girls gave birth to illegitimate children. The figure is increasing among Hispanic girls, especially, as the birthrate grew to 59 per 1,000 girls. Among blacks, it is 40 per 1,000. These are stats only for public school students, not the population at large.

"Role models are very important," says radio guru Dr. Laura Schlessinger, referencing the public emergence of Sarah Palin. "Children and young adults look to those who are visible and successful as a road map of what is acceptable behavior and emulate those actions over the morals and values their parents and churches have taught and tried to reinforce." I had wondered how the pro-life Schlessinger, a stalwart champion of responsible parenting and a scold to those who would be enablers of illegitimacy, would come down on the Palin nomination. Would she engage in the current verbal contortions now in progress among so many of the formerly dedicated "family values" folk? Of course, by the time this is published, Schlessinger might well have joined her Republican comrades in the grand rationalizations that now fill the airwaves.

Phyllis Schlafly, the erstwhile, long-time teacher of family standards has just about deserted her former positions, and is now reciting some of the most insipid banalities, in order to justify her abandonment of principle. She has been quoted calling Palin a "breath of fresh air," and gushes over the fact that Palin "has revitalized the grass roots of the Republican party across the board." That, apparently, is what counts.
• • •

One of the best Internet discussions on the probable future impact on the conservative cause due to the selection of Sarah Palin was held at Lawrence Auster's View From the Right. I am not in agreement with Auster on foreign policy, especially as regards the Middle East. But what's there not to like about a man who stands foursquare for the preservation of what's left of Western culture? Where do you find a white man these days who professes the desire to see his own race prevail in their own lands, instead of taking delight as Western countries are overrun with immigrant invasions? On this subject, we're in agreement. And we're on the same page in regard to those who purposely, or inadvertently, promote or condone illegitimate pregnancy.

The pro-life Auster asks the question of the day: "Was it right to have this unmarried, pregnant 17-year-old girl at the Republican convention holding hands with her boyfriend on national and global television, thus normalizing an out-of-wedlock sexual relationship and pregnancy at the highest level of our national life?"

Republicans, says Auster, have put conservatives in a position where no negative judgment can be expressed about out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Not only have they done this, they offer up congratulations to the expectant Mom. "Since when," he asks, "is it good news that a 17-year-old high school student will be caring for her new born," while still in school?

And why are the circumstances presented to the public by Palin considered acceptable? Auster contends, "Because Bristol's baby is not being aborted. The non-abortion turns the unmarried pregnancy and the upcoming teen-age marriage into a blessed event! ... This is the way these Christian conservatives are responding – because of the moral reductionism that effectively eliminates all moral evils except for the evil of abortion. ... McCain has put the conservative base in a position where it has to bend itself out of shape to maintain its support for the Republican ticket."

Adela G. writes to Auster:

This woman, mother of an infant with special needs and an unwed pregnant teen, chose to step into the national spotlight. Surely in between all that huntin' and fishin' and givin' birth, she paused to reflect that the national attention focused on her family might result in criticism directed toward the choices she and they have made. Or maybe not. Maybe she thought being relentlessly perky would carry the day. She could be right. I wouldn't trust her judgment about anything else, though. And I certainly don't trust the judgment of any of her admirers.

Carol Iannone wrote:

Starting with the Giuliani candidacy, Republicans have made a spectacle of themselves defending one inappropriate thing after another, and it's really demoralizing. It makes it seem as if all they care about is naked power. Maybe they should just say that and stop disappointing people who were foolish enough to think they really stood for principles.

Well, some of us, long ago, ceased associating principle with the Republican party.

Iannone speculates further: "How would conservatives be talking if Palin were a Democrat? I don't believe they would
be winking away the teen pregnancy issue and even presenting it as a good. ... I don't think they would be defending her relatively slim record with bared teeth. I think they would be saying the opposite of all this. I believe they would be spinning as negatives what they are now calling positives."

You can be sure that's exactly what they would be doing.

Laura W. offers an amusing take on the presence of Levi Johnston, the teenage father-to-be, at the Republican convention: "Can you imagine what was going on in his mind last night? I can't read into the thoughts of an 18-year-old hockey player. But, let me try to guess, indulging if I may his special gift for words. Might he have been thinking this: 'Adults! They're such f-----g fools!'"
• • •

At one time, conservatives appeared to understand the basis for the escalation of social pathologies – from sex being hyped even to the youngest children, to open-ended welfare policies that increase payments to single women and girls who produce multiple illegitimate babies, to the eradication of important taboos that guarded against the proliferation of dysfunctional behavior. What were once aberrances have become norms, thanks primarily to social policies contrived by liberal ideologues.

And it is the poor who have been hit the hardest. Myron Magnet's brilliant book that describes the impact of the counterculture on the poor is still one of the best analyses of what happened to those who could ill afford to have society's old, bourgeois moral standards pulled out from under them. In The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass, he writes:

Poverty turned pathological because the new culture that the Haves invented – their remade system of beliefs, norms, and institutions – permitted, even celebrated, behavior that when poor people practice it, will imprison them inextricably in poverty. It's hard to persuade ghetto 15-year-olds not to get pregnant, for instance, when the entire culture, from rock music to upscale perfume commercials to highbrow books, is intoxicated with the joy of what before AIDS was called "recreational" sex.

And it will be harder to persuade those 15-year-olds not to get pregnant when they observe the celebratory treatment given to the wayward daughter of the holder of the second highest office in the land. Oh, wait. She would be considered "wayward," only if she made the choice to abort.

On his Fount of Truth website, Doug Newman speculates that if Bristol Palin were a black girl in the ghetto, "Republican media jabberers" would write her off, as they have countless times in the past, as "a product of 75 years of liberalism." In this case, however, we are commanded to "just sit down and shut up," and voice no queries about anyone's "personal life."
• • •

Another stunning feature of the Palin affair is the mounting evidence that so-called conservative women are nothing more than closet feminists – of the worst kind. Except for clinging to their tenacious "pro-life" advocacy, these women appear to have internalized the most leftwing feminist precepts that make their beliefs indistinguishable from those of the president of NOW or the editors of Ms. magazine. If there is any question that feminist dogma rules their constellation, consider these remarks from the mouths of the so-called defenders of the conservative way of life.

In the City Journal, Heather MacDonald describes how Republicans are now heavy into playing the identity-politics game. Of course, the game isn't really a new one for them, says MacDonald, "But now they've gone all the way and introduced irrelevant chromosome considerations into the presidential race." Gone forever is the right to criticize Democrats for playing the race and gender cards. MacDonald derides Sarah Palin's "hackneyed feminist bromides," such as her effusive praise of Hillary Clinton for leaving "18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America."

Since when do conservatives promote the idea that a mother of five children, three of them under 14, should concern herself with breaking ceilings? How can there be any analogy between Palin and Hillary, the mother of an adult child, with nothing but time on her hands? Hasn't the Religious Right always stressed the importance of full-time motherhood, especially for a woman in Palin's circumstances? It is clear, says MacDonald, that the "diversity epidemic" has spread in the Republican political machinery.

These Palin defenders are now invoking standards invented by the left, which true conservatives reject. By hurling the politically correct charge of "sexist" at opponents, they imply that they are in full agreement with the feminist notion of what Carol Iannone calls "the absolute sameness of the sexes." Is this a conservative concept? How could the word "sexist" be part of a conservative's vocabulary?

Without blinking, these transformed conservative, Oprah-fied women are vehemently protesting any questions raised about Palin's judgment – just like good feminists. "You wouldn't ask that question, if she were a man!" they shriek. Well, of course not. Real conservatives would have no such questions about Todd Palin accepting the VP nomination, because of their belief in the distinctive roles played by both sexes when children are involved, especially five of them. Remember? This belief held as recently as, oh, say, three weeks ago – until Sarah Palin came on the scene.

MacDonald writes, "There are, alas, many women who are pathetic enough to put gender above politics, for whom a candidate’s stand on substantive issues matters less than her reproductive plumbing. But just because such voters are out there doesn’t mean that the GOP can cater to them without permanently compromising its principles. ... It's a sad day when Republicans decide to match the Democratic predilection for chromosomal consciousness, since there will be no turning back."

The blogger at DC Hero believes that the leftwing women supporters of Hillary Clinton will come around to Palin. And here's why: "We’re talking about women here. Women are illogical and vindictive. They’re not going to look at her voting record, her NRA membership, or anything like that. Women will vote for her because she’s a woman and they’re mad at Barack for edging out a victory. End of story."

And here's another reason why large numbers of women, who once appeared to be wed to an alternative set of politics, will come around. When defending against the intimations of Palin's possibly irresponsible parenting in regard to her pregnant daughter, a woman delegate at the Republican convention explained that "life happens."

Think of all those single, as well as married mothers out there whose families have undergone a similar plight. Such women are pleased to see the adulation heaped upon this "imperfect mother," with whom they identify. They won't have her judged, as they don't wish to be judged, because, well, life happens. The Palin reality show offers a validation for their imperfect lives that a candidate like Mitt Romney could never deliver.

And don't underestimate the impact on these women of the sight of Palin's manly looking partner. How many of them dream of such a faithful, handsome, hands-on husband and father? Lucky Sarah has it all!

Super Republican Rush Limbaugh likes to claim that conservatism is based on rational thinking, it appeals to the logical mind, whereas liberalism is nothing but emotionalism, it's all about "feelings." How can anyone ever again make such a claim, after listening to the emotionally charged, and even hysterical defenses of Sarah Palin? This is emotionalism writ large.
• • •

Pro-lifers apparently use the "conservative" label only as a convenience, which also explains their affiliation with the Republican party. It's a marriage of convenience. Hardly any more conservative in their outlook on most issues than their liberal counterparts, pro-lifers have overtaken the party, in order to have a base from which they can effectively promulgate their intransigent stance against abortion. And this is the only item on their cultural agenda. In this symbiotic dance, the Republican party, in turn, goes along with the game, in the expectation that this vast bloc of voters will insure their continued hold on power.

See Red-State Feminism: Beware of underestimating Palinsanity, by Kay Hymowitz, also on the City-Journal site.

To read the views of two pro-life traditionalist ministers, see also - The Religious Right: "Heralds of truth" as political lackeys -- here

Related I&V Posts:

Palin fills in those cracks in the ceiling

Pro-lifers bring underclass mores into the mainstream

We didn't know this?

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Birthright citizenship is not constitutional

If the American Indians, who were certainly born in this country, were not considered automatic citizens by the Constitution's framers, how can it be that the offspring of foreigners who arrive here become automatic citizens?

[Excerpt from speech delivered by Edward Erler, Hillsdale College, February 12, 2008]

Birthright citizenship – the policy whereby the children of illegal aliens born within the geographical limits of the United States are entitled to American citizenship – is a great magnet for illegal immigration. Many believe that this policy is an explicit command of the Constitution, consistent with the British common law system. But this is simply not true.

The framers of the Constitution were, of course, well-versed in the British common law, having learned its essential principles from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. As such, they knew that the very concept of citizenship was unknown in British common law. Blackstone speaks only of "birthright subjectship" or "birthright allegiance," never using the terms citizen or citizenship.

The idea of birthright subjectship is derived from feudal law. It is the relation of master and servant; all who are born within the protection of the king owe perpetual allegiance as a "debt of gratitude." According to Blackstone, this debt is "intrinsic" and "cannot be forefeited, cancelled, or altered." Birthright subjectship under the common law is thus the doctrine of perpetual allegiance.

America’s Founders rejected this doctrine. The Declaration of Independence, after all, solemnly proclaims that "the good People of these Colonies. . . are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved." According to Blackstone, the common law regards such an act as "high treason." So the common law – the feudal doctrine of perpetual allegiance – could not possibly serve as the ground of American (i.e., republican) citizenship. Indeed, the idea is too preposterous to entertain.

James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a member of the Constitutional Convention as well as a Supreme Court Justice, captured the essence of the matter when he remarked: "Under the Constitution of the United States there are citizens, but no subjects." The transformation of subjects into citizens was the work of the Declaration and the Constitution. Both are premised on the idea that citizenship is based on the consent of the governed – not the accident of birth.

Who is a Citizen?

Citizenship, of course, does not exist by nature; it is created by law, and the identification of citizens has always been considered an essential aspect of sovereignty. After all, the founders of a new nation are not born citizens of the new nation they create. Indeed, this is true of all citizens of a new nation – they are not born into it, but rather become citizens by law.

Although the Constitution of 1787 mentioned citizens, it did not define citizenship. It was in 1868 that a definition of citizenship entered the Constitution, with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. Here is the familiar language: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Thus there are two components to American citizenship: birth or naturalization in the U.S. and being subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. We have somehow come today to believe that anyone born within the geographical limits of the U.S. is automatically subject to its jurisdiction. But this renders the jurisdiction clause utterly superfluous and without force. If this had been the intention of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, presumably they would simply have said that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are thereby citizens.

Indeed, during debate over the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard of Ohio, the author of the citizenship clause, attempted to assure skeptical colleagues that the new language was not intended to make Indians citizens of the U.S. Indians, Howard conceded, were born within the nation’s geographical limits; but he steadfastly maintained that they were not subject to its jurisdiction because they owed allegiance to their tribes. Senator Lyman Trumbull, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, rose to support his colleague, arguing that "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" meant "not owing allegiance to anybody else and being subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States." Jurisdiction understood as allegiance, Senator Howard interjected, excludes not only Indians but "persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers."

Thus "subject to the jurisdiction" does not simply mean, as is commonly thought today, subject to American laws or American courts. It means owing exclusive political allegiance to the U.S.

Consider as well that in 1868, the year the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, Congress passed the Expatriation Act. This act permitted American citizens to renounce their allegiance and alienate their citizenship. This piece of legislation was supported by Senator Howard and other leading architects of the Fourteenth Amendment, and characterized the right of expatriation as "a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Like the idea of citizenship, this right of expatriation is wholly incompatible with the common law understanding of perpetual allegiance and subjectship. One member of the House expressed the general sense of the Congress when he proclaimed: "The old feudal doctrine stated by Blackstone and adopted as part of the common law of England . . . is not only at war with the theory of our institutions, but is equally at war with every principle of justice and of sound public policy." The common law established what was characterized as an "indefensible doctrine of indefeasible allegiance," a feudal doctrine wholly at odds with republican government.

In sum, this legacy of feudalism – which we today call birthright citizenship – was decisively rejected as the ground of American citizenship by the Fourteenth Amendment and the Expatriation Act of 1868. It is absurd, then, to believe that the Fourteenth Amendment confers the boon of American citizenship on the children of illegal aliens. Nor does the denial of birthright citizenship visit the sins of the parents on the children, as is often claimed, since the children of illegal aliens born in the U.S. are not being denied anything to which they have a right. Their allegiance should follow that of their parents during their minority. Furthermore, it is difficult to fathom how those who defy American law can derive benefits for their children by their defiance – or that any sovereign nation would allow such a thing.

[Edward Erler is Professor of Political Science at California State University, San Bernardino, and is co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.]
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Betrayal and deceit

Here is an item, originally published on Issues & Views-The Website, back on August 27, 2001, which shows the degree to which white children are purposely manipulated by the champions of multiculturalism. (See also "Brainwashing whites")

This school episode, no doubt, sent the "correct" signals to these youngsters, as they learned the importance of substituting their truthful observations about life at their school for carefully monitored ones – as they learned to self-censor and lie.
• • •

What happens when youngsters trust their elders and truthfully share their thoughts? In some cases, they are betrayed. Consider what happened when the students of Montachusett Regional Vocational high school in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, believed their teachers. After being assured by these teachers that, if they volunteered to engage in a survey about race relations in their school, their responses would be held "confidential," the students participated. The survey was supposed to be anonymous.

Well, the kids were in for a surprise. Upon completion of the questionnaire, not only did five of them wind up suspended for three days, but they were also interrogated by school staff about their views and beliefs.

Although the Associated Press article about the incident does not give full details of the students' responses on the survey, among the "offending" comments was their belief that minority students were receiving preferential treatment by teachers and that minorities were responsible for fights that had occurred at the school.

Now, a popular device that is used by the multicultural crusaders, in order to shut down dissent, is to affiliate such dissent with possible future violence. One is supposed to believe that every person who has ever held a negative thought about another group eventually does physical violence to members of that group. This is the fear tactic now being used in courts to terminate free speech rights, especially of white nationalists.

In the case of these Fitchburg students, the administration justified the suspensions on the grounds that their written survey responses indicated "behavior causing a dangerous condition." And, further, that the students' observations about the school's favored treatment of minorities were "racist." In other words, to express opinions that are officially forbidden automatically makes a person "dangerous" and a possible threat to others.

It is clear that the school administration had no desire whatsoever for an honest survey, in order to learn what the students were actually thinking. They wanted only another opportunity to intrude their politically correct, multicultural preachments, and to punish any dissenters.

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the students to have the suspensions expunged from their records. An officer of the ACLU, that has taken on the case, declared that the school district's actions against the students were designed to punish them for their beliefs.
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