By Dave Andrusko
Running on Fumes
"It seemed to me that the Democrats in the last cycle really did think there is some high magic in the creation of political rhetoric, and that Republicans do some voodoo that they, being ingenuous and honest, haven't quite gotten a handle on yet."
Wall Street Journal
columnist Peggy Noonan,
December 16, 2004
"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards,
October 12, 2004
"I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately - - courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in 'a theocracy' and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of - - hold your breath - - a 'jihad.'"
"When Columnists Cry 'Jihad'," by John McCandlish Phillips, Washington Post, May 4, 2005
If you're puzzling over the common thread in these remarks, it's this. Not only do we live at a time when the anti-life forces seem to have flipped their wigs, they appear completely oblivious to the simple truth that they are unbridled practitioners of the very vices they shamelessly attribute to their opponents. And it's getting worse.
To what can we attribute their sheer irrationality? Desperation no doubt is part of the explanation for what we are hearing. And with numerous life-affirming trends converging, they do have lots to be desperate about. Pro-abortion orthodoxies ring hollow in an era of full color, 4-Dimensional ultrasounds, a growing pro-life feminist contingent, and a mounting resistance to cavalierly taking unborn life which is taking shape in such bastions of unbridled abortion as Great Britain and Australia. To anti-life forces, it must seem like a tsunami of bad news.
The question is why. Let's take a step back and look.
So long as the public never actively engaged the moral, ethical, and spiritual cost of killing 45 million unborn babies - - so long as the conversation never got past simplistic drivel about "choice" and "who decides?" - - pro-abortionists could confidently tell themselves their position was virtually impregnable.
In a sense, this plot against complexity operated like a kind of contemporary Maginot Line. But like the original World War II system of fortifications, the pro-abortion defenses are being outflanked, in this instance by technology, tenderness, and tenacity. Simply put there has been a sea change in public thinking about abortion.
What can pro-abortionists do? Utter statements so outrageous that their sheer audacity leaves you gasping in disbelief. The prime example of the all-speed and no-altitude attitude is the leave-no-lie-left-unsaid public campaign for embryonic stem cell research.
If you were to believe John Edwards last year, if John Kerry became President, he would open wide the federal funding spigot to fund embryonic stem cell research, and about a day and a half later people would be leaping out of their wheelchairs.
But that was just for openers. Ron Reagan, Jr., dangled the promise of a cure for Alzheimer's in front of a nationwide audience, at the Democratic National Convention. But as the Washington Post's Rick Weiss reported last June, "given the lack of any serious suggestion that stem cells themselves have practical potential to treat Alzheimer's, the Reagan-inspired tidal wave of enthusiasm [for stem cell research] stands as an example of how easily a modest line of scientific inquiry can grow in the public mind to mythological proportions. It is a distortion that some admit is not being aggressively corrected by scientists."
Why were scientists reluctant to dispel the myth? "People need a fairy tale," NIH researcher Ronald McKay told Weiss. "Maybe that's unfair, but they need a story line that's relatively simple to understand."
In the same time frame House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called stem-cell therapy "the biblical power to cure." The weaker the evidence, the loftier the claims.
Instead of confronting the absence of results from embryonic stem cell research, proponents went on the attack. As Kerry declared last summer in the second weekly radio address he devoted to stem cell research, "Here in America, we don't sacrifice science for ideology."
Slate columnist William Saletan nailed it perfectly when he wrote, "With the salesmanship of a faith healer, Kerry dangled promises no responsible scientist would countenance."
So entrenched is the mythology that a bill has been introduced in the House to permit funding of research using embryos created by in vitro fertilization in infertility clinics and then "donated" to researchers by the biological parents.
Over and over and over, adult stem cells have proven their worth. Over and over and over embryonic stem cell researchers offer empty promises of future "breakthroughs."
Ask yourself, who are the "extremists"? Who is adhering to a blind, unsubstantiated faith? Who is (in the words of the hyperbolic Frank Rich of the New York Times), "out to remake America according to its dogma"? Not us.
Examples of the utter disconnect between anti-life rhetoric and reality go on and on, but let me cite just two. The House recently passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) by a wide bipartisan margin.
The goal - - stopping the circumvention of state parental notification laws - - has overwhelming public support. Often under pressure from boyfriends or at the urging of agents of abortion providers, minor girls are transported from a state with a parental notice law to one without.
But in the wacky world of pro-abortion Democrats, this has nothing to do with much older men whisking their much younger girlfriends across state lines for a secret abortion. It's about abridging the rights of kindly grandmothers to "help"!
In their word, to systematically engage in an unprecedented filibuster of well-qualified judicial nominees is not to throw a monkey wrench into the advise and consent provision of the Constitution but to "save" our system of checks and balances. And so on and so on.
Answering the distortions and exaggerations and out and out lies is a full-time job - - today, tomorrow, and until protection is restored to unborn children. As this edition of NRL News explains, we are at a particularly sensitive juncture in our campaign of truth-telling.
Please read all the stories in this edition but particularly those beginning on page one, the back cover, and page 22. If we are to continue to maintain pro-life momentum, we need your help more than ever.
We've counted on your commitment for 33 years. We know we can count on you again today. Please start with the Action Alert on the back cover.
Dave Andrusko can be reached at email@example.com