Archive: December, 2012
As someone who hears the word ‘deport’ or some variation of it on a daily basis, I don’t get too excited when someone says that someone else should be deported. In fact, it induces yawns. Just because you might want a fellow to be deported (the correct term of art is ‘removed’) does not mean that they should be, will be or even can be. For example, the Boston Globe recently did a profoundly troubling expose about criminal aliens who cannot be deported from the United States even though they have committed horrific crimes simply because their own countries of origin will not take them back (no big surprise there…)
But it’s not too often that I get to hear the word ‘deport’ in the same sentence as ‘Big CNN journalist.’ More specifically, it’s the rare moment when someone with the high profile of a Piers Morgan gets people ready and willing to ship him back to the mother country. In his case-and ours, that would be the Mother of All Countries, Great Britain.
Morgan is a subject of Good Queen Bess, as anyone who listens to him speak for thirty seconds already knows. To my knowledge, he has neither applied for nor obtained a US passport. This means that he could be kicked out on his arse if Uncle Sam wished to do the kicking. But there would have to be a pretty good reason to do so.
I went to see the Nutcracker last night. It was about the 40th time I’ve seen it, dating back to 1971 when my father treated his firstborn to a special Daddy-and-Daughter date. Back then, I couldn’t see a thing because I desperately needed glasses but refused to tell my parents. At ten years old, with extra avoir-du-pois and a horrible haircut, the prospect of adding glasses to the mix was too much to bear. So the Snowflakes and the Dew Drop and the Flowers and Sugar Plum Fairy were just colorful cotton candy blurs.
Not so last night. The Academy glowed, the atmosphere was magical, the little girls in their dresses sparkled with delight and the young couples sharing a holiday date were enchanted. Seeing the Nutcracker from a red velvet box seat next to the mother you dearly love is a magnificent thing, especially when you can actually make out the figures on the stage.
Who cares if the steps are so familiar you can do them yourself? Who cares if the Boys Choir is now filled with tots who could be your grandchildren? Who cares if you now know that the chandelier isn’t made of fairy diamonds and frost?
This was a week to remember heroism.
The teachers who used themselves as human shields in Newtown, Connecticut were heroes. Heroines, actually.
Victor Cruz, a Giant with a humble heart was a hero, making genuine efforts to ease the pain of a grieving family by visiting the parents of the little boy who was buried in a replica of his football jersey.
Senator Daniel Inouye was the most classic version of a hero, overcoming racism and unfounded suspicion to defend his country’s principles on the battlefield and later, in the Senate. He bore the physical scars of those first battles for the rest of his life.
Judge Robert Bork, a man who stood up for his conservative principles at a time when such things were unpopular and was martyred for it-at least in the judicial arena-was a hero.
And Barack Obama, who is possibly the most polarizing leader since, well, the guy he replaced is a hero to the extent that he put aside partisan differences and spoke to the nation with sincerity in a genuine attempt to help us mourn. To transcend politics, even for a brief moment, is heroic in this climate where everyone is supposed to have ulterior motives.
Only two of the above-referenced could earn a consensus on heroism. The women who faced down a crazed gunman with nothing more than love for the little children in their care, are the epitome of Christ. In giving of themselves for others, and doing so without calculating the risk, they will have their names forever etched on the eternal scroll.
Daniel Inouye watched as his country was attacked by the Japanese, even as he himself was considered an enemy alien by the government. Instead of bitterness, he found within himself desire and loyalty and petitioned that same government to let him fight. He did. In Italy, he stormed a set of German machine gun nests and neutralized them, losing his right arm in the process. The Medal of Honor he received nearly 50 years later was a belated thank you from a grateful nation.
The others mentioned above are more controversial. Some don’t believe that we should revere sports figures because they contribute little to the betterment of society. Some of those figures, like Charles Barkley, don’t even believe they themselves should be considered role models. But I think Victor Cruz deserves appreciation for putting himself in the shoes of devastated parents, something that he had recently become, and trying to show them their little boy Jack is still alive in his eyes.
Robert Bork had long since ceased being the ‘devil’ to the far Left, since they’d long moved on to other targets. But those who lived through his excruciating confirmation hearing know just how unfairly he was treated by the Democrats who made him pay for their anger at Reagan. They turned him into a caricature, ignored his brilliant mind, and guaranteed that the confirmation process would forever after become a political circus. The fact that President Obama is having trouble getting his own people on the bench is the sad legacy of that time. And yet, through it all, Bork never lost his dignity, even though he was personally embittered by the experience. And he continued to fight for his beliefs with integrity, instead of retreating into silence.
Which brings me to the President. After his speech last Friday in the wake of the horrific Newtown shootings, Obama gave what many, including this writer, thought was a truly moving speech. It was simple, unrehearsed and to the point. And yet, there were those who mocked his delivery and emotion, even to the point of questioning whether the tears he shed were legitimate. Anyone who could have taken sides in that moment of communal grief is impervious to true heroism. Because, I think, that is what the President showed.
Both Daniel Inouye and Robert Bork died this week. So, tragically, did the educators in Newtown. They are now with God, and have nothing to explain or apologize for. They have all earned their places among the angels.
The others are still with us, President Obama and Victor Cruz, as well as the countless other heroes like the first responders in Connecticut, the funeral directors who wipe their own tears while preparing a child to go home, the soldiers on the front lines who don’t have the luxury of stopping to grieve, and journalists like Richard Engel who risk their own safety to keep us aware of this dangerous world.
It is important to acknowledge the heroism that occurs on a daily basis. We are all too often focused on the villains among us, the people who make it unbearable to share this earthly space with them. People who make is almost impossible to believe that heroes can exist.
But they do. And they always will, as long as we let them.
Here’s some news we should have had weeks ago, that the government apparently had weeks ago, that Homeland Security had weeks ago. No, it has nothing to do with another Petraeus lover, or the fact that Al Qaeda was responsible for the Benghazi massacre.
This has to do with Bob Menendez. That’s Senator Bob Menendez to you and I. And one of the reasons that he is still Senator Bob Menendez is that he just won re-election. Of course, he won re-election before the incident that I’m about to tell you about happened.
According to AP reports, one of Menendez’s interns, an 18 year old Peruvian national, was just arrested for being illegally in the United States. He entered legally, but allowed his visitor’s visa to expire. In addition to being what some call ‘undocumented’ and others call ‘illegal,’ this young man named Luis Abraham Sanchez Zavaleta is reported to be a registered sex offender.
I’m always fascinated by how people can convince themselves that if it’s their ox getting gored it’s a civil rights catastrophe, but when it’s the other guy’s tuchus getting kicked he’s overreacting.
Case in point: the birth control mandate. A few weeks ago I wrote about how forcing a religious organization to subsidize activities and products that undermined its core beliefs violated the Free Exercise Clause (even though some federal judges hadn’t yet figured that out....more on this next week)
Given that fact that the most vocal opponents of the mandate have been Catholic, many of my readers responded with attacks on the church. My favorite comments were the ones about how a church that ‘regularly abuses little boys’ is also determined to keep women in servitude. Relevance and hyperbole aside, there is a lot of disinformation out there about what the First Amendment provides, and just because you think the Pope has no business poking his mitre under the connubial tent, that doesn’t mean the government gets to eviscerate two hundred and twenty-five years of religious protection.
But the secularists among us don’t think very highly of religion and, in fact, have been trying to diminish its impact on society for a very long time. They usually do it by claiming that the Free Exercise clause’s twin sister-the Establishment clause-erects an impenetrable wall between church and state. By this reasoning, anything that can vaguely be seen (or manipulated into being) religious oppression by a majority against a minority is seized upon, vilified and ultimately used to force-feed secularism down our collective throats.
A few years ago, just after Kermit Gosnell was arrested for murdering babies and pregnant women in his abortuary in West Philadelphia, pro-life advocates like myself went public with our outrage. After I wrote several articles decrying the type of society which gives birth (no pun intended) to such monstrous men and equally diabolical acts, I received the type of feedback you'd expect from the pro-choice crowd: I was exploiting a tragedy to advance my own agenda.
I won't deny that the Gosnell incident gave me an opportunity to talk about the dirty side of a procedure that has been sanitized in the press as a 'medical necessity' or, worse, a 'reproductive choice.' But to my knowledge, no one on my side of the argument ever said that Gosnell was the face of the pro-choice movement.
Fast forward to Sunday night. On prime-time television, smack dab between the two halves of a football game that the Eagles were destined to lose, Bob Costas pontificated about the evils of guns. Commenting on the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chief Javon Belcher and his pregnant girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, Costas noted implied that if Belcher didn't have a gun, his girlfriend would still be alive today.