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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


With a defense like this...

When I was young, one of our favorite insults went like this:
"Hey, I stood up for you today."
"Really, what did you do?"
"Someone said you weren't fit to eat with the pigs, and I said 'oh, yes, you were'."
For some reason, that's what comes to mind when I watch Democratic politicians and liberal pundits like Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow "defend" against Republican attacks on health insurance reform proposals. "Obama-care will pay for abortions," cry the right-wing. "Oh, noooooo, no it won't," cry the "defenders" of the bill, rather than noting that abortions are legal and supported by a majority of Americans. "Obama-care will pay for health care for illegal immigrants," cry the right-wing. "Oh, nooooo, no, the bill calls for no such thing" cry the "defenders" of the bill, rather than noting that health care is a human right and should be available to every human being, regardless of citizenship, even aside from the public health advantages of providing care to everyone.

By the way, I don't recall the Democrats, so eager not to offend a minority of the population by having the government pay for something the minority doesn't approve of, ever opposing spending for the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan that a majority doesn't approve of. When I get a check box on my income tax form letting me not pay taxes for the military portion of the budget, I'll happily agree to another check box allowing people to say that their taxes shouldn't pay for abortions or health care for illegal immigrants.

Then today I read an article in The Nation by Naomi Klein, a progressive journalist by anyone's definition. She writes about the Toronto International Film Festival, which this year is featuring a "spotlight" on Tel Aviv as a centerpiece of the festival. Klein and other activists have started a petition opposing the spotlight, but when it comes to defending against (unfortunately false) charges that she and the other signers are calling for a boycott of the Israeli films at the festival, in line with the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, again it's "Oh nooooo, not at all." And, her actual words: "We don't feel like partying with Israel this year." Really, Naomi? That's the best you've got? Last year would have been ok? The year before? Or maybe it would be ok to hang out with Israeli artists, as long as you're not "partying"?

I think it's time for a chorus of Love Me, I'm a Liberal.

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