January 23, 2006
Democrat Death TripBy Bookworm
It's a rare day lately when a commentator doesn't point out that the Democrats have become a party without a vision, unless you call being opposed to war a comprehensive party platform. This is unfair. The Democrats, or at least the dominant left wing of the Party, do in fact have a vision and perspective that animates them, a complex part of life they have made their own inadvertent focus.
Most do not realize it, but their movement hovers around death, in some of its most problematic manifestations. The Democratic Party, or rather the Left, can readily be defined by its focus on hastening some deaths, protesting other deaths, and ignoring entirely some inconvenient deaths.
While the Republicans are charging ahead with ideas about fighting terrorism, changing popular culture, and reducing dependency on the government, the Democrats merely seem reactive, a party chasing the hazily remembered glory days of the 1960s and early 1970s. But death provides a common thread, albeit one that few of them wish to openly acknowledge
On the hastening death end of the spectrum, we see that, contrary to their warm and cuddly self—image, liberals have an extremely utilitarian streak. In the liberal world view, unfettered abortion is okay if pregnancy is an inconvenience.
Indeed, the right to be free of inconvenient lives, those of unwanted babies, is so paramount that it has entirely taken over the process for selecting Supreme Court justices. The public was therefore once again treated the week before last to the unnerving sight of a panel of doddering and distasteful old men, sitting in the august Senate chambers, and reducing the entire Supreme Court selection process down to the single idea that infants in utero can be killed at will.
(The American public, by the way, has an infinitely more nuanced view of abortion, one that recognizes exigent situations, fetal development, decision—making capacity, and joint responsibility.)
The same single—minded utilitarianism also reveals itself in the Left's consistent support for euthanasia. Given that modern medicine seems able to keep weary and broken bodies alive almost indefinitely in some cases, euthanasia sometimes sounds like a fine idea, and one that does indeed vest dignity in the dying person.
The problem is that practical realities can easily overwhelm this high flown theory. A Dutch physician, speaking shortly after euthanasia become legal in Holland, put the matter best. He had no problem with legal euthanasia in Holland, which has comprehensive cradle to grave care. He added, though, that he would never want to see it enacted in America, where the dying or infirm could be bullied into taking their own lives to save their families some time and money.
The Terri Schiavo circus perfectly illustrates the situation this Dutchman posited. There, the Left mostly arrayed itself behind Terri's husband who, in a very practical way, wanted to get on with his life, while the Right mostly stood behind Terri's parents, who were willing to sacrifice themselves to her care.
And only a few days ago, everyone was gung—ho on seeing Haleigh Poutre die, after her stepfather's brutal beatings left her in a coma. Haleigh, however, had other ideas, and seems to be waking from that coma (although it is unclear what her condition will be).
Liberal pop culture echoes this same 'disposable person' belief system, as reflected in the accolades showered upon Million Dollar Baby, the movie that saw Hillary Swank lovingly terminated once she'd outlived her usefulness.
The reductio ad absurdum of this utilitarian approach to life and death emerges in the writings of Peter Singer, the well—known Princeton 'ethicist.' Singer earnestly and loudly believes that parents should have the unfettered right to kill handicapped infants. Fortunately, even Singer has his limits once he gets away from death. As far as he's concerned, bestiality is okay, as long as there is mutual satisfaction.
While the Left, for purely practical reasons, is comfortable with hastening the final days of fetuses, the sick, the elderly, and the handicapped, liberals have a warm spot in their hearts for killers. One need only look at the hysteria surrounding Stanley 'Tookie' Williams' execution to see that, in liberal land, no killer deserves to die.
The latest killer to attract the pro—Death Row Life crowd was Clarence Ray Allen, who had ordered the brutal killing of three people. Ironically, the reason advanced to justify commuting his sentence was the fact that he was old and extremely sick. Normally, such circumstances would have make him a perfect candidate for utilitarian euthanasia. But once a sick old person is recognized to be brutal convicted murderer, then no state—sanctioned death is allowed.
If there is any logic in this position, it failed to persuade those outside the left wing of the Democrats. Allen was executed on January 17, 2006.
The Left's obsession with death also reveals itself in its approach to the Iraq war. Since this war began, liberals have demonstrated their highly focused view: war is about death.
There are no security issues, no struggles for freedom, no strikes against tyranny, no long—term strategic or short—term tactical goals, and certainly no significant victories. The body counts that characterized the nightly news during the Vietnam War have come back, and once again embody war itself. This is why the mainstream media is incapable of giving the American people a picture of the true gains and losses taking place in Iraq, and satisfies itself simply with counting the dead and focusing cameras on puddles of blood.
I'm only grateful that Americans in World War II had a better grasp of the epic battle between good and evil taking place, and didn't let themselves get bogged down in daily mortality statistics. I suspect that African Americans and many others looking back on the Civil War, the bloodiest war in U.S. history, feel the same way.
There are some deaths, however, that liberals feel comfortable ignoring entirely. The flip side of the intense focus on those pathetic Death Row killers is the complete lack of empathy for the killers' victims. For example, no one weeping at the Tookie vigil spared a thought for 26 year old Albert Owens. Tookie shot him twice in the back, and later entertained his friends by imitating the agonized sounds Owens made as he lay dying. There was a similar deafening silence regarding Yen—I Yang, Tsai—Shai Yang, and Yee—Chen Lin, an entire family that Tookie wiped out in a few horrifying moments.
Other deaths that seem easy to ignore are those young women who die at their families' hands in honor killings. Honor killings have become endemic in the Islamic world. In a recent stomach—churning article, Sharon Lapkin detailed the huge rash of honor killings that are occurring in ever increasing numbers amongst Palestinians:
One would think that the Democrats' feminist left, who are so vocal for women's rights regarding abortion, would be all over honor killings. But they're not. Apparently political correctness trumps women's rights. And it's simply politically incorrect to suggest that a non—Western culture that's been under America's and Israel's imperialist boot heels, could possibly be subject to criticism for anything it does, including the violent slaughter of its women. Death trumps women's rights in this case.
To the extent that America is still a religious nation, it is imbued with certain Judeo—Christian doctrines, foremost amongst which is God's directive to 'choose life.'
American vigor and enthusiasm, and the average American's strong sense of justice (a sense that has managed to survive thirty years of political correctness), are all antithetical to a party that has as its central issue death, in one form or another.
I therefore predict with a fair amount of confidence that, to the extent the Democrat's loudest, most fervent emotions swirl around killing innocents, sanctifying killers, and ignoring the inconvenient, it is a party that cannot, in either the long or the short term, win American hearts and minds.
The Democratic Party is on a death trip.
Bookworm publishes the website Bookworm Room, and lives as a crypto—conservative in one of the bluest communities on earth.