The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
August 4, 2003
Another Pimental Patrol
Arizona Republic columnist O. Ricardo
Pimental revealed in a recent
mini-editorial that he does not understand basic conservative
philosophy. As a liberal columnist, he has a duty to faithfully state his ideological
opponent's beliefs, to promote honest and open debate.
Here's the complete editorial
I guess I should appreciate Sen. Jon Kyl's
efforts to protect us from gay marriage. You know, it's right up there
with terrorism and the economy as a pressing national problem. Funny
thing, though. I'm not feeling threatened at all by gays or gay marriage.
Tell me again: How can a renowned conservative justify government
intrusion into marriage?
He's referring to a policy statement
from the Senate Republican Policy Committee, headed by Arizona Senator Jon
Kyl. It was a strategy outlining the best way to deal
with gay marriage, should the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalize gay
marriage in a ruling expected any time now.
Let's first review some conservative
principles. Most conservatives believe in preserving and defending institutions
that have benefited America in particular and society in general. These institutions
are usually time-honored traditions that promote liberty, security, and
Marriage between a man and a woman is one
such institution. It is the basic building block of society, the ideal
method of raising children, and derives huge benefits for men and women.
For over two thousand years, governments and societies have recognized
this by promoting marriage through the law.
As such, conservatives seek to defend
marriage from those who would weaken it. Conservatives have battled
government welfare, no-fault divorce, gay marriage, and a host of other
issues, mainly, but not solely, because these laws weaken the family and
marriage as institutions.
Keeping this in mind, let's break down
Pimental's little editorial.
First, he belittles the importance of the
gay marriage issue. Many, if not most, conservatives believe that allowing
gays to marry would mean the end of marriage as a functional, viable,
beneficial, and legal institution. Pimental obviously disagrees, but he
needs to make his own case why gay marriage would have no effect (or at
least no harmful effects) on marriage. He can't just wish the issue away
with glib remarks and pretend there's no argument. Maybe he's not
pretending there's no argument. Maybe he's not aware the arguments are
even out there.
He then says he doesn't "feel
threatened" by gay marriage. I can't think of a polite way to say
this, so here goes. Mr. Pimental, how gay marriage makes you
"feel" does not matter. Gay marriage will have an impact on the
institution of marriage, regardless of your feelings. Gay marriage may not
threaten individual marriages, the same as high divorce rates do not
threaten individual marriages, but conservatives believe it does threaten
marriage itself, as do high divorce rates. I doubt that Mr. Pimental is
incapable of seeing this distinction, but it's not clear in his writing
that he does see it.
Finally, the crux of the matter. "How can a renowned conservative justify government
intrusion into marriage?"
This statement is not only ignorant of the
conservative case against gay marriage, it's ignorant of the actual facts
of the issue. Again, conservatives believe in defending institutions
beneficial to liberty and society. Defending these institutions
presupposes they are under assault. Often, government itself is the
instigator, but not always. In this case, one court in Massachusetts could
very well impose gay marriage on the rest of the country. It is one tiny
part of a state government that is intruding on marriage, Mr. Pimental.
Conservatives seek to stop that intrusion and ask another part of the
federal government to codify what it has clearly supported in law since
the beginning of this country: marriage is between a man and a woman.
Apparently, Mr. Pimental is too interested
in playing gotcha and making conservatives look like hypocrites to see the
truth. It's hard to understand that a paid columnist could be so ignorant
of his opponent's ideas. He's either well aware and choosing to mislead
his readers, or he has no desire or inclination to educate himself.
And Another Thing
column was a snarky, underhanded attempt to accuse President Dubya of
manipulating intelligence information for political benefit. Naturally,
Mr. Pimental never comes out and says so, but his implication is clear.
His theory is that President Dubya somehow
knew the press would concentrate on the redacted 28 pages from the
recently released congressional
report that examined the intelligence shortcomings before the
September 11 attacks. By focusing on the Saudi Arabia issue, the press is
giving the administration a free pass on the intelligence failures that
allowed 9/11 to happen. Somehow, President Dubya, who liberals still
believe is dumb as a post, engineered all this.
I suppose Pimental's little theory is
possible, but highly unlikely. Pimental cites Democratic Senator Bob
Graham, who just happens to be running for president, as saying that the
report contains no classified information. Pimental admits Graham may be a
bit biased, then says that "it's difficult to believe that a
presidential candidate with intelligence experience would be willing to
sacrifice national security."
Mr. Pimental is too blinded by partisanship
to realize that this applies also to President Dubya. After all, the
president is also a presidential candidate, and it's equally hard to
believe that a sitting president running for reelection would sacrifice
national security. That's not much of a vote-getter.
Mr. Pimental also makes a classic media
mistake. He assumes that because the media is concentrating on those 28
pages, the government is also, and thus important work to correct
intelligence problems is not getting done. It's safe to say that even now,
as you read this, civil servants, government bureaucrats, intelligence
officials, administration officials, congressional aides and their bosses
are working to solve those problems. Just because the media isn't
reporting it doesn't mean it's not happening. Besides, another terrorist
attack would hurt President Dubya's reelection chances, so he is highly
motivated to prevent one.
If Mr. Pimental believes that President
Dubya is conspiring to keep important information from the American people
for his own benefit, then he needs to say so and provide evidence to make
his case. In the meantime, he's just blowing hot air in a groundless
attempt to weaken President Dubya's credibility.