Grindl's mother was worse. That was the joke, from Beowulf roughly, that explained our cat's name. Grindl didn't like me one bit, but he loved to curl up in my wife's lap on cold winter evenings and sleep by the fire. He was there when we settled in to listen to President Reagan's State of the Union Address.
When the president spoke about abortion and how we had to heal this "wound in our nation's soul," I jumped up and let out a whoop. Grindl awoke, startled and scratched Kate's arm. Soon, blood was issuing from a nasty 8-inch scratch. Kate was not happy.
She almost never yells. But she yelled at me then. "You're a crazy man. Why can't you just watch the president's speech without whooping?" All apologies, I raced for the First Aid. As I was bandaging, I tried soothingly to excuse my wild conduct. "You know your brother whoops for the U.W. Huskies -- and the Seahawks, too." She was not appeased.
Next year, the snow fell outside as the State of the Union was broadcast. Our fireplace gave off a warm, welcoming glow as President Reagan once again delivered his own version of the fireside chat. He asked the assembled dignitaries to work with him to overcome "the tragedy of abortion." I jumped up and yelled. Grindl, sleeping once again in Kate's lap, awoke and again scratched her!
I was mortified. A thousand apologies followed. This time, she didn't raise her voice. She just looked at me. If looks could kill. Once again, I raced to staunch the flow of blood.
I was really concerned. But I did manage to say: "You know, Hon, if we have to go to marriage counseling, the counselor is going to make one request of us: "Can you put that darned cat somewhere else during the State of the Union Address, Captain Morrison?"
My good wife didn't laugh but this very dedicated health care professional, this Navy captain, didn't kill me, either. And never since have I had occasion to let out a pro-life whoop during a State of the Union Address.
President Reagan spoke of the unborn in his Inaugural Addresses. He appealed for their lives in his State of the Union Addresses. These are the most august ceremonies in this Great Republic. By bringing the fate of unborn children into those state occasions, he said he knew and he cared. He said we must all know and must all care. He would not be silent about what he called "the slaughter of innocents."
I was proud to serve in his administration. No president since my great chief has spoken so eloquently, so powerfully of the need to protect the right to life. Ronald Reagan wrote a book -- the first president to do so while in office -- titled Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation. He issued Proclamations every year to mark Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. He backed pro-life legislation on the Hill.
Reagan banned Planned Parenthood from receiving any U.S. funds for its lethal operations abroad -- and he recommended cutting off all taxpayer dollars to them at home. He "zeroed out" such funding in every one of his eight presidential budgets. Liberals in Congress always shoved it back in.
Respecting what Lincoln called "that eminent tribunal," President Reagan sought to nominate judges who would not engage in the kind of "raw judicial power" that Justice Byron White said characterized the Supreme Court's illegitimate abortion rulings.
President Reagan sent his Solicitor General to the Supreme Court with a respectful plea to correct the deadly error of Roe v. Wade.
There should be a simple qualification for sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court: No one should be called Justice who does not know what justice is.
If abortion is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. "Pro-choice" is a philosophy based on a calculated indifference to right and wrong. Lincoln responded when the pro-choice politicians of his day said they "don't care" whether slavery was voted up or down; they said the important thing was that the people get to choose.
You can only say that, said Lincoln, if there is nothing wrong in slavery. But if it is wrong, you cannot say you don't care whether right or wrong is chosen. To do so, Lincoln said, is to "blow out the moral lights around us."
The moral lights around us yet burn. For that, we owe a great deal to Ronald Reagan. He thought it was wrong to shoot down a young lad trying to escape over the Berlin Wall. He thought it was wrong to slay the child in the womb. I am grateful to God that Ronald Reagan had his birth day. The same question is put to us: Doesn't everyone deserve a birth day?