Stupak and His Sheep

Bart Stupak has found a higher value than preserving human life: lockstep partisan loyalty. No serious adult can believe for an instant that the microscopic fig leaf of a meaningless executive order really persuaded this "Pro-Life" Democrat. Discussions about some sort of executive order had been floating around Washington for weeks. The easiest course, if an executive order were really the answer, would have been for Stupak to craft the best language he could long before the vote, share that language with pro-life groups and solicit their input, and then announce it before the Sunday vote. 

Instead, the congressman obviously caved to the pressure of his fellow Democrats, something more important to him than an innocent baby's life. Those people who understand the vile nature of unrestricted murder of the unborn do not miraculously (or rather, diabolically) find in a massive, chaotic, and almost incomprehensible bill interests greater than that baby's life. Stupak clearly never accepted the fundamental morality of the pro-life argument. Instead, he found a way to get his moment of immortality. An otherwise unremarkable congressman from Michigan suddenly finds himself at the very center of national politics. Everyone hinges on what he says and does...and -- amazingly! -- Stupak sells moral principles for a scrap of paper so trite, so disingenuous, and so mockingly funny that one must wonder what price he would place on his children or his parents. Or what would have been his price in Weimar Germany for supporting the Nuremberg Laws? When something is evil, it is not made good because it is popular with the powerful. Stupak has no real answer for what he did.

At least Pelosi and Obama can be seen as honestly, horrifically wrong. Some people simply do not grasp the evil of unrestricted abortion. History has a dreary parade of people whose consciences are so dull and minds so hobbled that they gather around and watch heretics burned to death or consider African slaves less than human. Anyone who has heard Pelosi speak or who has seen Obama away from a teleprompter can give both the benefit of slow and shallow thinking as well as the ethical profundity of a pornographer: Our leaders, sadly, seem to lack any wisdom or any moral compass. 

But Stupak was different: He claimed to grasp that unrestricted abortion is wrong, that it is a sin, that it is beyond the political realm of partisan wrangling -- what Stupak claimed, though, must have been an illusion or a lie. Pure farce bubbled beneath the whole Stupak Sellout. Consider, for example, those twelve pseudo-pro-life Democrat disciples who voted with Stupak and who, he promised the world, would stick with him. Stupak was their leader, but he was not their mind, their conscience, or their heart, was he? If the high school term paper which is Obama's executive order was enough to convince Stupak, then why was it also enough to persuade the other dozen or so Democrats? What made these Democrats vote for legislation which funds abortions with tax dollars after these Stupak disciples said that they were standing with him against these provisions? 

It is not just that they followed Stupak, but that they followed him without reflection or thought. What if some of these Democrats had said, "Bart Stupak thinks that the execution order is enough. Maybe we will too. But we need a few days to look it over"? None of these disciples needed to give an absolute "no," but simply to ask for time to think as individuals and not be stampeded into a vote that everyone considered historic. This deal, the executive order, was something new, something to think about (if one is prone to thinking about moral issues like murder). But all these Democrats found the Stupak Seal of Approval as potent as meditation, prayer, or discussion. 

Once Bart bargained his vote away, the rest of the pack felt that they had political cover to follow meekly behind him. These Democrats abdicated their individual moral decisions on an issue which they felt was vital, and then, like sheep, they slipped back into the anonymity of the herd. They thought that laws requiring publicly funded abortions were wrong, it would seem, only because Congressman Bart Stupak told them that they were. Once he said that publicly funded abortion was okay, or that an executive order somehow trumped a federal law, that was enough for them. No one really cared about right or wrong -- just about the crassest, meanest sort of politics. Stupak and his Sheep sold out. No one seemed terribly surprised.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.
Bart Stupak has found a higher value than preserving human life: lockstep partisan loyalty. No serious adult can believe for an instant that the microscopic fig leaf of a meaningless executive order really persuaded this "Pro-Life" Democrat. Discussions about some sort of executive order had been floating around Washington for weeks. The easiest course, if an executive order were really the answer, would have been for Stupak to craft the best language he could long before the vote, share that language with pro-life groups and solicit their input, and then announce it before the Sunday vote. 

Instead, the congressman obviously caved to the pressure of his fellow Democrats, something more important to him than an innocent baby's life. Those people who understand the vile nature of unrestricted murder of the unborn do not miraculously (or rather, diabolically) find in a massive, chaotic, and almost incomprehensible bill interests greater than that baby's life. Stupak clearly never accepted the fundamental morality of the pro-life argument. Instead, he found a way to get his moment of immortality. An otherwise unremarkable congressman from Michigan suddenly finds himself at the very center of national politics. Everyone hinges on what he says and does...and -- amazingly! -- Stupak sells moral principles for a scrap of paper so trite, so disingenuous, and so mockingly funny that one must wonder what price he would place on his children or his parents. Or what would have been his price in Weimar Germany for supporting the Nuremberg Laws? When something is evil, it is not made good because it is popular with the powerful. Stupak has no real answer for what he did.

At least Pelosi and Obama can be seen as honestly, horrifically wrong. Some people simply do not grasp the evil of unrestricted abortion. History has a dreary parade of people whose consciences are so dull and minds so hobbled that they gather around and watch heretics burned to death or consider African slaves less than human. Anyone who has heard Pelosi speak or who has seen Obama away from a teleprompter can give both the benefit of slow and shallow thinking as well as the ethical profundity of a pornographer: Our leaders, sadly, seem to lack any wisdom or any moral compass. 

But Stupak was different: He claimed to grasp that unrestricted abortion is wrong, that it is a sin, that it is beyond the political realm of partisan wrangling -- what Stupak claimed, though, must have been an illusion or a lie. Pure farce bubbled beneath the whole Stupak Sellout. Consider, for example, those twelve pseudo-pro-life Democrat disciples who voted with Stupak and who, he promised the world, would stick with him. Stupak was their leader, but he was not their mind, their conscience, or their heart, was he? If the high school term paper which is Obama's executive order was enough to convince Stupak, then why was it also enough to persuade the other dozen or so Democrats? What made these Democrats vote for legislation which funds abortions with tax dollars after these Stupak disciples said that they were standing with him against these provisions? 

It is not just that they followed Stupak, but that they followed him without reflection or thought. What if some of these Democrats had said, "Bart Stupak thinks that the execution order is enough. Maybe we will too. But we need a few days to look it over"? None of these disciples needed to give an absolute "no," but simply to ask for time to think as individuals and not be stampeded into a vote that everyone considered historic. This deal, the executive order, was something new, something to think about (if one is prone to thinking about moral issues like murder). But all these Democrats found the Stupak Seal of Approval as potent as meditation, prayer, or discussion. 

Once Bart bargained his vote away, the rest of the pack felt that they had political cover to follow meekly behind him. These Democrats abdicated their individual moral decisions on an issue which they felt was vital, and then, like sheep, they slipped back into the anonymity of the herd. They thought that laws requiring publicly funded abortions were wrong, it would seem, only because Congressman Bart Stupak told them that they were. Once he said that publicly funded abortion was okay, or that an executive order somehow trumped a federal law, that was enough for them. No one really cared about right or wrong -- just about the crassest, meanest sort of politics. Stupak and his Sheep sold out. No one seemed terribly surprised.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.