Thursday, July 28, 2005

Outing gay Republicans and pro-life Democrats

I felt, for the last few days, like writing about something subtle. I wanted to pick a topic which would allow me to make a clear distinction on a subject which is often thought about in messy, non-rigorous ways. How about inconsistency between ‘personal views’ and public policy stands? There is first of all the classic inconsistency which is held by pretty much every Catholic who is a Democratic office-holder. It normally goes something like; ‘I personally oppose abortion, but will not legislate morality’. Now, I suppose this kind of statement is good enough since people who say things like this have won elections. I find it lacking in my new favorite word of the day, rigor. I think the following would be better and possibly result in more votes even!
The Catholic Church is very clear on the notion of abortion: It is in every case a sinful and evil act. As a practicing Catholic, I have faith in the leaders of my church and accept their interpretations of Holy Scripture. My role as a legislator is to make decisions based only upon reason. My personal feelings on any matter cannot be allowed to govern.
Okay, it is kind of a mouthful and the usual way is a lot shorter, but a politician really only needs to make this speech once, so why not be really clear about it? In most cases it seems really odd that politicians even bother to go through the motions of the ‘I personally believe X, but etc.’ I mean, who really thinks Ted Kennedy personally believes anything the Catholic Church preaches? That is to say, believes it because it is policy rather than just coincidentally? Now that I have done the grunt-work of deconstructing a common circumlocution used by the left to weasel-out of being accused of inconsistency or even the dread hypocrisy, now let us look at what the left considers inconsistency on the right. Shall we? Okay, it has happened lots of times so why not use gay outings as a theme? What exactly is proved when a conservative is found to be gay or has a close relative who is gay? I don’t mean to seem dense, but: How does having a gay relative make your political position inconsistent—whatever your position is? There are 4 possible permutations here: 1. Pro-gay agenda, no gay relative 2. Pro-gay agenda, have gay relative 3. Anti-gay agenda, no gay relative 4. Anti-gay agenda, have gay relative I use the term pro or anti-gay agenda, to reflect if one is for or against the demands made by gay activist groups. Numbers 1 and 3 will not be discussed here as they would be outside the scope of this subject. In the case of 2 (Pro-gay agenda, have gay relative) it is at least possible that personal feelings for the relative have affected one’s views on the subject. It is hard to see how the views in case 4 (Anti-gay agenda, have gay relative) can be impeached unless it is somehow wrong to know a gay person and not automatically believe that whatever changes in the law they want, they should get. There are two problems with this: 1. Who says that all gays want what the activists push for? 2. A representative must do what is best for all of the people, not just the few personally known to the politician. Isn’t it possible for a politician to understand the concerns of a minority and still find that the greater good requires voting against what that minority desires? I think it is rather obvious that the answer to this question is YES!