Friday, March 9, 2012
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
Gonna be a little different post today. Buckle up and hang on.
By now, anyone that has access to the news has heard about the "controversy" between Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh. Fluke presented herself as someone who was concerned for those less fortunate than her and their access to birth control, and she wanted Georgetown University to cover the cost of the birth control products through their private health insurance. The response of Limbaugh on his radio show was to refer to Fluke as a "slut", a comment for which he later apologized. The ensuing response toward Limbaugh from the mainstream media has been ferocious and unrelenting, resulting in several national sponsors withdrawing their sponsorship of his show.
This is the side of the story that one hears from the mainstream media, but to frame this entire mess properly, one should understand that Sandy Fluke is not some naif, an innocent co-ed that is fighting to make sure the needy have access to birth control. No, Ms. Fluke is a decidedly liberal activist, a 30 year old that has pushed not only for birth control coverage but for coverage of "gender reassignment" surgery- a more fancified way of saying "sex change operations". She co-authored an article in the Georgetown Journal of Gender and Law declaring that private insurers that limit the coverage of gender reassignment surgery were "heterosexist" and therefore discriminating against their clients that desired this procedure and open to lawsuits. Never mind that Fluke was advocating taking a legitimate business decision out of the hands of the insurance companies and the employers that provided health care coverage. She and her ilk were attempting to coerce coverage of a costly and elective procedure by claiming that that birth control and these types of elective procedures were "rights" that everyone should have.
Understand too, that Fluke was brought before the hearing chaired by Congressional Democrats only after being properly vetted for her leftist views. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY pushed for Fluke's testimony and called for Fluke to sue Limbaugh after his remarks. Maloney was the one that introduced Fluke to Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who brought her into the hearing. Pelosi, Maloney, and their shill, Fluke, are responding to progressive Democratic pollster, Celinda Lake's polling results, that say this is an issue that resonates with women and could be critical to the re-election of President Obama.
Oh yeah, let's not fail to mention that Maloney and Pelosi are clients of Celinda Lake.
Okay- now that I have that out there, I want to say this, and I want to be very clear and explicit on this:
I do not want the federal government messing around with any woman's body. I certainly do not want them messing around with my body. The health care rules and regulations that are in place under Obamacare and are being discussed at times border on the absurd, and not just in the area of birth control. By inserting the federal bureaucracy into the process, we have screwed up health care delivery in this country and we have made the decisions about an individual's health not between them and their doctor, but also the insurance industry and the federal government. And government meddling is not confined to the arena of health care.
But here is the political aspect of of claiming birth control- or any other health care product or procedure- as a "right". "Rights" require government protection to insure that they are not abridged. The expansion of rights coincides with an expansion of government power and reach over our daily lives. By making birth control a "right" the government can interject their enforcement powers into an entity that may have a moral or religious reason for not providing birth control. Which is exactly what the Catholic Church objected to when the federal government mandated birth control had to be provided by private insurers because it was a "right". Apparently, religious rights are trumped by a specious claim of certain health care rights.
More and more "rights" will be discovered by those on the Left, which opens the door for the federal government to step into more aspects of our private and business lives, areas that were never intended to have government control or interference. We have already seen the limitation of private property rights through environmental constraints; our educational systems at all levels deal with the heavy hand of the federal Department of Education; our health care system has been trampled by federal mandates; and the list goes on. All in the name of preserving "rights".
Step outside the political flash point of birth control and the government telling women what to do with their bodies and look at this dispassionately and what you see is the continuation of a massive power grab by the federal government. Birth control and a woman's control of her body are the straw dog arguments that distract from the growing reach of the federal government into all aspects of our lives. And the reach of government is greatest when it comes to control of our own bodies. Once established, there is no turning back from government control of all our personal decisions.
There is another component to this brouhaha that should be looked at honestly. Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut" and was castigated for it. Rightfully so. It was an uncalled for slur.
What I have a hard time understanding though, is the outrage from so many on the left about this. You see, when Bill Maher can call Sarah Palin a "c**t" in his comedy act or a "tw*t" on his television show, not a word was said. When those on the right are called "Nazis"; when the conservative strain of the Republican Party are called "Teabaggers", nothing is said.
Now, lest you think that I am a thin skinned, weak kneed individual that cannot take name calling of the worst kind or criticism, I am not. I can dish it out as well as I take it.
But here is the point...
The public dialogue in our country has coarsened to the point that it is little more than a Jerry Springer show writ large.While there are some voices of reason in the public arena, they are drowned out by the shrill cacophony of a prattling political class that looks to score points for their party or to facilitate their personal power grab.
Respect is non-existent, and an honest and thoughtful dialogue about real issues is impossible in this environment.
Lost in this din is a vision for where this country is going and a recognition of the greatness of this country. Instead, our leaders engage in the politics of "gotcha" and one upmanship to the detriment of the citizenry.
Until our leaders stop yelling at each other, until they stop denigrating each other with the name calling, nothing constructive is going to happen in Washington. Maybe this is the grand plan. It prevents our leaders from constructively addressing the tough issues that we face as a nation.
As citizens, we have to go beyond the white hot sound bite, the name calling, and the vitriol that is spewed by anyone that can grab a microphone and engage in thoughtful analysis of what is happening in Washington and how this is being played out in the media. We must not shallowly accept what the media dishes out or how they frame political issues or events.
Most importantly, we have to examine what we want our government to do and the limits that we believe should be imposed on the reach of government.
And we as citizens have to demand better of our government and our leaders.
The Fluke/Limbaugh blow-up was no fluke (see what I did there). Those that want to push government deeper into our lives had their willing accomplice in Sandra Fluke. Rush Limbaugh took the bait and created a firestorm with his ill chosen words. The ensuing backlash about what Limbaugh said has distracted us from the real issue at hand- the overreach of government into all areas of our daily life.
And that was the intent.
Calling someone a racist, a Nazi, a slut distracts and obscures the real issues that each of us a citizens must address. This is a favorite tactic of politicians of all stripe. Hiding behind the name calling and invective is an effective tactic for those who have a weak argument or political position.
And we as a nation pay the price.
And that, my friends, is my view.