Sunday, March 04, 2012

Passing Sunday Thoughts

Normally for a Sunday post, you'd expect me to put up something of a spiritual/biblical nature. My subject matter and linked story below for today are not so much in that vein, although if you ponder it a bit, no doubt you will think of many Scriptures that are appropriate to the subject at hand.

Andrew Breitbart (pictured right) passed away last week. Right away, the media, Facebook, Twitter and blogs went nuts. Lots of vile things were posted from "both sides of the aisle."

Then, Real Clear Politics posted this thoughtful piece about harsh invective and the harm it does. It really is food for thought.

I don't know that Andrew Breitbart ever claimed a Christian faith, although he was conservative. After this contretemps, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh got into some controversy when he used some inappropriate language in reference to Sandra Fluke, who testified before Congress advocating the view that insurance companies (including coverage provided through religious institutions) be forced to provide coverage for birth control medicine. Overlooked in the brouhaha was Rush's main point - our tax dollars should not be used to provide free birth control pills. But because of the name calling involved, that point got lost in the wind. Not that it would have mattered much to those pushing for the idea. They're hell bent on it no matter what, and Rush's unfortunate choice of words helped them in obfuscating the issue. To his credit, Rush has apologized to Sandra Fluke. I'm waiting for a bunch of liberals to apologize now for the nasty things they've said about Rush, Andrew, Sarah Palin (who has had some REALLY vile stuff said and written about her) and a host of other conservatives. I probably shouldn't hold my breath. The far left is so elitist that they don't think they're accountable for what they say and do. The ends justify the means, you see.

(Oops. Hold it. Stop. Get a grip. Joel, you're about to get steamed up enough to do what you're about to encourage everyone NOT to do. Bite your tongue and restrain your keyboard)

The Guttmacher Institute's research shows only 14-17 percent of women use birth control meds to treat non-contraceptive medical issues. Do the math. That means the vast majority of women DO use it to prevent pregnancy. The larger debate here is —in my view—sex without consequences, and who should pay for it. Yet, I am not sure we will be able to get back to that central point. Because invective is standing in the way blocking the road.

Invective, when it is unleashed, brings all meaningful discussion and debate to a dead stop. Let's leave aside who is the most guilty of it. As soon as you rebuke one side for it, the other side in true 3rd grade playground fashion, says, "Nyah, nyah. Your side does it too. Your side does it more. Your side does it worse." And then its an endless back and forth with the main, important issue sitting on the sidelines looking aghast and amazed. As you no doubt noted in my "in bold" parenthetical above, I had to catch myself before I began joining in the playground games again. I did - barely.

I think that's how some want it. Too much money, and too many vested interests in the status quo, or in turning what's left of our free republic into the socialized, cradle-to-grave nanny state mess of Western and Southern Europe. Never mind Greece and the rest of the European economies are teetering on the brink of disaster, and never mind the United States is trillions of dollars in debt. After a while, it really does all look intentional. And it's heartbreaking. If you think you're seeing broken lives now, just wait.

But we really do need to keep talking about it and debating it. Clearly and at times forcefully. But can we begin by toning down the invective? All of us? The Bible warns us what a deadly fire can get started with an untamed tongue. I'm still trying to learn the lesson, with varying degrees of success and failure.

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