Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Bitter-Clinger's Post

Last night, I was at Dirty Harry's Place, and on the thread, we were discussing the Left's irrational attacks on Sarah Palin and why they might be occurring. A topic I have been considering for a while now, and I tossed the following out:

Well, my take was that they started to compare Jughead to the Barracuda from the gate because her entry made it about culture and when you’re all about feelings, you have to address culture. They looked at her and saw sacrifice, devotion to family, the idea that duty can be larger than the individual, and the concept of submission to an authority other than yourself. In otherwords, she represents a life knowing the difference between right and wrong as defined by someone other than man. They had to attack her, because that philosophy leaves no room for the prevarication and the hedonistic pursuits that occupy the “Grey Areas” where the ‘nuanced’ among us live their lives. The only things Obama ever fought for…the redistribution of wealth to those who didn’t earn it and the right to kill babies who had the temerity to survive their mother’s attempts to kill them simply cannot survive in such a world. He had to try to marginalize her or neutralize her. Had. To.

Of course, I had to keep churning this concept over and over in my mind, and while sitting in church this morning, more of it came to me. You can thank my pastor for some of the incorporated scripture.

Soon after the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, the attacks started. Not the attacks on her record. That would be fair game, and ignore the fact that she is who she is, and that the life she has lead is going to make some people very uncomfortable and insecure about the lives they have chosen to lead. The nature and vigor of the attacks have made this clear. First, the attack on her 17 year old daughter, Bristol, and the claim that Governor Palin's son Trig was actually Bristol's son, and the Governor was covering this fact up. These fevered attacks were "supported" by all many of coincidence and innuendo. By the time the Palins announced that Bristol was actually pregnant now, and was going to marry the father of her child, the left and the press (but I repeat myself) fell all over themselves with concern for the welfare of her children, insinuating that by being a working politician, she was neglecting her son Trig, because "his Downs' Syndrome required extra care and effort" on her part, and that since her 17 year old daughter got pregnant, she had obviously failed as a parent. As a parent myself, I take issue with this. You raise your children, you try to teach your values and ideals, but eventually, your children make their own choices. Some choices will be worse than others. Sometimes picking what's behind door number three means getting some further options limited, but as any student of character tells you, its what you do when things go wrong that end up saying more about you than any smearing expose'. The left isn't upset that Bristol Palin got pregnant. They are upset that she decided to not to kill her baby.

They also implied that Bristol's pregnancy some how makes the Governor a hypocrite because she is a Christian, and doesn't support sex education that borders on pornography for school kids. In so doing, they exposed their own bias, in make such sexist, and paternalistic statements and implications. If it had been Hillary with a 17 year old daughter, and her daughter got an abortion with Mom's consent and approval, both would have been lauded for their finely nuanced enlightenment and her incredible parenting skills. But now the nation can see what many of us have suspected for a long time, that is that tolerance, gender equality, and high-mindedness are ideals the Left will fight for, but only for one of their own.

Later in the week, we saw the religion attacks, the attempts by way of edited remarks to paint the Governor as a religious fanatic who views the war in Iraq as a holy crusade. This was indeed the weakest part of the attack. Some had also taken note of some remarks made by her pastor, which he may believe, but do leave some room for some criticism of making partisanship a religious issue when it is more properly one of conscience. And in the light of examination of Reverend Wright, and all of the bile that flowed from his mouth and down the altar while Barack Obama and his family sat for years, listening, and returning week in and week out. The content of some of Governor Palin's pastor's statements, if correctly cited, does cross my personal line of things that should not be said, because preaching who to vote for exceeds the legitimate charge of exhorting what to consider when voting. Ironically, it is another 'nuance' lost on the those so in favor of invoking them.

But the biggest question is "why?" Why did the left and the press immediately attack a Vice Presidential candidate by going after her children, her parenting, and her religion, instead of comparing her record, qualification, and abilities to those of her counterpart, the Smartest Man in the Senate-Just Ask Him, Joe Biden? The answer is simple. By having the beliefs she does, and by living the life she has, she revived the "culture wars" that were so prevalent in the 80's and 90's in this country, but then eased into a semi-tense detente without a principal standard bearer on the right. Put simply, Christianity is a belief that there is a right and a wrong. The left knows this, the knowledge infuses their every act. Their snide condescension demonstrates this knowledge, but also that they misunderstand the message of Christianity. They look at it and see the concepts of right and wrong. They see the judgement of God when he is disobeyed, and extrapolate these to mean that when Christians fall short, they are to be mocked for failing. And because it is easy to fail, God must be wrong for expecting the conduct he does. This misses the point that Christians are not perfect, nor do they believe that they are. They understand that sin is part of life, but they also understand that the price for the sin has already been paid, so to paraphrase the bumper sticker, Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. But Christians also understand that forgiveness isn't a license to sin. Knowledge and acceptance of the sacrifice means that you are expected to aspire and live for a higher ideal. You will never get it all right, and there may be a period of discipline, but if there is discipline, it is to help you get it right and, like reproof from any parent, it is done in love. My proof? Hebrews 12:5 and 6: And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart because he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

These attacks against the Governor and Christianity are being leveled because those attacking see Christianity as a judgmental religion, and they fear that judgement. Christians know how to deal with the world around them: Love the sinner, hate the sin. While Christianity itself has sectarian differences demonstrating very different ideas of what that means, much of Christendom knows that means that we do not have to quietly accept sin, and grant our sanction to its lifestyle. Contrarily, it is this fear of judgement on the left which has lead to the denial that there is such a God. Their misunderstanding underlies a belief that the only consequence of being human and committing sin is judgement, but if they reject that God, and his rules, then they are free of the inevitability of a terrible consequence. And in a stunning display of confidence in the lack of such a God and his rules, they continue to try to make their lifestyles and beliefs mainstream. They confuse a legal and mainstream legitimacy with a moral one, and that is why they fight so hard for the approval of the rest of us, even if they have to force it from us. These are the people who looked at Sarah Palin and said to themselves "We cannot let her succeed. A person with her beliefs and her life in a position of power will lay bare our reason for being. She embodies sacrifice. Children require so many things of a parent. Our time, our attention, our concern. She loves her children and her family, and would clearly fight for them. She has been married for over two decades. Anyone who has been married for very long understands that staying married requires work and dedication. All of these things demonstrate service to others, and ideals beyond the narrow frame of "ME" that is force fed to us in the media today. It is the antithesis of so much of what the left has come to embody and defend. They could not ignore her. Unfortunately, the attacks available to them end up bloodying themselves in the process. I look at it with a curious fascination. It is like watching a ferral animal try to eat itself, and it may be exactly what was necessary to shift the cultural wars back toward preserving a culture that has something to offer.

[As a matter of full disclosure, my pastor did not preach on any topic even remotely political this morning, lest anyone get the wrong idea.]