Long-term relationships, be they with family or friends, carry a lot of history. Obviously, most of it is pleasant or the bond would be severed at some point. But there’s also a trail of disappointments and betrayals, which, as long as they are relatively minor in nature, inspire the “life is too short” and “keep peace in the family” adages. But human nature being what it is, platitudes aren’t enough. We are emotional carnivores, and we need our pound of flesh. Before modern-day politics reared its ugly head and injected vicious backbiting from the partisan realm into our daily lives, we had a time-honored way of getting past our grievances: You talked about people behind their backs!
I don’t mean malicious, bridge-burning stuff. I mean: “She thinks her angel food cake is as good as her mother’s—it’s not.” Or: “He’s so proud of his golf game—but he has no swing!” Yet when we meet for family dinner or neighborhood barbecue it’s bro hugs and kiss, kiss and all is well. It’s not hypocritical because there is true affection there, but this wee bit of grousing acts as a pressure valve that provides if not a whole pound of flesh a nibble that satisfies. And there’s opportunity for atonement: “Well, her angel food cake isn’t much, but her lasagna can’t be beat.” Or: “His golf game is nothing, but what I wouldn’t give for his lawn!” There’s also opportunity for humility: “What are they saying about me?” Alas, we’ve been robbed of this home remedy.
The harm inflicted by Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment about Trump voters during the 2016 campaign cannot be underestimated or backpedaled away from. There was an audible gasp from the political class, a group not exactly known for setting a decorum high bar during campaign season, for what she did overstepped a line that until that point was sacrosanct: Beat up on your opponent all you like but never attack the voters. This was grounded in a sensibility that now seems quaint. Whoever wins will need the entire country to accept him or her, not just their own party, indeed, the peaceful transition of power depends on it. Clinton did not want to be President of the United States, she only aspired to be a president for Democrats. There’s an icy cold logic to it; I don’t need Republican voters to put me into office, so I can disregard them. In so doing she forgot the wonderful opportunity our binary political system affords the winner, which is to respectfully acknowledge, in a country where landslides are rare, the sentiments of those—these days close to the half of the country—who didn’t vote for you. It’s the Unity, stupid.
Unfortunately, on both sides of the aisle the political class’s audible gasp quicky turned into the sound of wheels turning: Hmm, getting the voters at each other’s throats based on their political party “identity” makes it personal, and will not only increase turnout (for all the wrong reasons) but they’ll now be voting against one another rather than on policies and voting records. Can we ever get back the harmony in our interpersonal relationships that the political-division-for-profit industry has put asunder?
Back to the “home remedy” theme. So, maybe it was a little bit phony, but it served a purpose. It kept small grievances from growing out of control. Now they run amok while people hide behind lofty concepts. Many of us who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton have endured years of shrill harangues with jaw-jutting postures by those claiming to be Saving Democracy and Fighting Hitler (which the hyperventilated and moronic anti-Trump Resistance movement [the #Resistance] was based on), but all I can think of is: Umm, actually . . . you’re just nursing a grudge.
It will be no easy task to get people to exchange their Joan of Arc armor or Superman’s cape for low-voltage simple bellyaching, but the true threat to democracy is to be found in the ego-driven digressions. And tossing around Hitler comparisons takes its toll. A graphic example is the recent case of a baby with Trisomy 18 whose mother sought an exception to Texas’s strict abortion ban.
Dr. Steve Calvin, a pro-life OB-GYN ( There are no black-and-white answers in the Texas trisomy 18 abortion case | America Magazine), affirms that although some children with Trisomy 18—a chromosomal abnormality with a range of potential effects—can survive, though disabled, into their teenage years, the Cox baby had a particularly severe case and could not. He was also concerned about Ms. Cox’s elevated glucose levels and the risk of gestational hypertension and diabetes. Although Dr. Calvin felt that the court should have deferred to medical expertise in this case, he was skeptical of “pro-choice activity.” Just before the Texas Supreme Court overruled a lower-court- ruling that would have granted Ms. Cox an exception to the state’s ban, she travelled to New Mexico and had an abortion. Ms. Cox received the diagnosis in late November, (A woman who sued Texas for access to abortion seeks a procedure out of state instead (kunm.org) so by then precious time had gone by while the abortion-rights lawyers’ legal issues played out; time being of the essence in terms of her personal health apparently secondary to the lawyers’ desire to sue Texas. Now she has been invited to attend Biden’s State of the Union address. Will she be disgraced with a standing ovation to serve the interests of the abortion lobby’s agenda and Biden’s political needs?
The Cox baby case has presented a gray area for prolifers because of its dire medical particulars, but such details weren’t of interest to the abortion rights lawyers who seized upon this mother and her baby’s tragedy, or the spinmeisters behind the State of the Union publicity stunt. And a different shade of gray looms. Trisomy 18 has a spectrum, the Cox baby happened to be on the worst end of it, and thanks to abortion-friendly media and lawyers who make use of it, this case has become a cornerstone for the argument to bring back Roe v. Wade. But something else lurks in the shadows, the possibility of canonizing aborting because of disability. Which is Hitler and staring people right in the face while going over their heads at the same time.