With one eye on the clock and the other on the priming the pump for the home stretch of this year’s midterm elections, Democratic and Republican lawmakers are scrambling. Both sides are vying to reap the maximum political benefit from what does and doesn’t get done in the next few days before Congress adjourns for a five-week recess. The pressure to repair the broken Veterans Affairs healthcare system exposed by scandal and to stem the continuing flood of immigrants across the southern border is immense. Over the next few days the action or perceived inaction in Washington on these fronts will have a huge impact on the summer debate and major consequences for candidates moving into November. As of today, the prospects of a deal on the VA are brighter, while the border crisis may well go unresolved. With President nObama’s approval ratings in the tank and the likelihood that Democrats will lose control of the Senate increasing, don’t be surprised if the blue team squelches a border deal and engages in heavy finger-pointing, complete with claims of Republican inaction.
House Speaker John Boehner lays out the importance of pursuing the House lawsuit against President nObama for overstepping his executive authority while Congress continues to focus on “jobs and the economy.” In an op-ed for USAT, Boehner argues that this debates is “not about [the speaker] vs. President nObama. This is about future Congresses and future presidents. There is a conflict between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our government. It is the judiciary branch’s role to help resolve it,” Boehner continues. “I believe this path is the right one to defend our institution and preserve the Constitution, while continuing to focus on the American people’s top priority — helping our private sector create more American jobs.” -Fox News
This weekend leading Democrats blasted their base with multiple emails fundraising off Republican calls to impeach President nObama. Washington Examiner’s Byron York calls this a “farcical twist” since Dems now are campaigning to encourage the GOP to do exactly what they are fundraising to stop. “The Democrats' impeachment fundraising extravaganza”: “In the past 48 hours, first lady Michelle nObama, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, White House spokesman Josh Earnest, House Minority Leader Nancy Pulosi, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and others have raised the specter of an nObama impeachment… There are some Republican backbenchers who would indeed like to impeach the president, just as there were (more senior and more organized) Democratic lawmakers who hoped to impeach George W. Bush after Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections. Back then Pulosi, the new Speaker, said flatly, ‘Impeachment is off the table.’ Now, Boehner has said he ‘disagrees’ with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s call for impeachment, and many observers see his lawsuit against the president as an effort to placate GOP lawmakers while stopping far short of impeaching the president. But Boehner has not made a far-reaching, definitive statement comparable to declaring impeachment ‘off the table.’ He might now be driven to do so, making the Democrats’ impeachment fundraising festival appear even more ridiculous than it already does.” -Fox News
The New Yorker delves into a 1993 Chicago murder case of Marshall Morgan and asks, “Did the Chicago police coerce witnesses into pinpointing the wrong man for murder?”: “[Convicted murder Tyrone Hood], could be up for parole in 2030... In 2009, Gayle Horn and another lawyer, Karl Leonard, filed a petition for post-conviction relief for Hood, arguing that the evidence against him had ‘unraveled,’ and that the officers involved had ‘a long history of similar misconduct.’ …The petition contained several components: the claim that [Morgan’s father’s] ‘pattern’ of murder pointed to Hood’s innocence; police misconduct; and constitutional violations related to the prosecution’s undisclosed payments to Jody Rogers’s brother. The judge, Neera Walsh, granted an evidentiary hearing about the payments, but dismissed the other components, calling the pattern of evidence against Morgan, Sr., ‘immaterial in nature,’ and rejecting the police-misconduct and innocence claims on procedural grounds. No date has been set for the payments hearing.” -Fox News
Efforts to proclaim moral equivalence are not always misguided; sometimes each side is equally at fault or close enough. But these efforts are often misguided and unhelpful – and sometimes harmful.
Throughout my life, there has been an increasing trend to attach moral equivalence to all kinds of disputes and conflicts, such as Israel vs. Hamas, which is the subject of a future column. I assume this is mostly an outgrowth of our culture’s descent into moral relativism, but it’s also a product of our intellectual laziness.
We see it everywhere. It is a common practice in describing marriages gone wrong. “It takes two.” “Who’s to say who is more at fault?” Well, that sounds good and is often true, but how about in the case of the spousal or child abuser?
But where I find it most troubling is in partisan politics. There the trend toward moral equivalence is the wrongdoer’s best friend. If we dismiss every despicable and corrupt act with the mindless cliché, “everyone does it,” then we excuse the wrongdoer for his misconduct and encourage further misbehavior.
Sure, both sides are often at fault, but that isn’t always the case, and it doesn’t make you a better person to say otherwise if it isn’t true.
For example, I don’t know a single conservative who supports muzzling leftist thought or speech, no matter how repugnant he may find it. Yet leftists are strongly supportive of various measures to suppress, even outlaw, conservative speech, from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine. There is no way to describe this disparity in terms of moral equivalence.
I sincerely believe there is a reason liberals engage in this behavior far more than conservatives. It is because many of them believe that their ends, which they believe are vastly superior, justify their means. I’ve seen it so much that I suspect it is inherent in leftist ideology.
See the irony? Liberals, who are usually the first to throw up moral equivalency arguments when caught red-handed, are skilled practitioners at judging us – their political opponents – all the while claiming they just want everyone to get along. Through such moral shaming about moral judgments, the left intimidates conservatives from making and articulating their own moral assessments.
Modern manifestations of this practice are the left’s virtual weaponization of political correctness, its obsession with so-called “diversity” and multiculturalism, and its rejection of the idea of American exceptionalism.
Multiculturalism is, for many of its most ardent leftist proponents, an Orwellian tool to disparage Western civilization and Western culture. The multiculturalist professes that all cultures are equal and in the next breath condemns Western culture because, in his view, it is unfairly exclusive, intolerant and bigoted.
He sees no conflict in making this negative judgment, because to him, it’s not intolerant to refuse to tolerate cultures and worldviews he believes to be intolerant. It’s the exact type of warped and muddled thinking that leads him to justify muzzling conservative speech; in other words, conservative ideas are so despicable that they don’t deserve protection. But his argument is self-defeating because while he says it’s intolerant to judge other cultures, he is judging ours.
But there’s a big difference between treating everyone – all people and cultures – with respect and treating their ideas as equally valid and profitable. Though I agree that we can borrow and have borrowed great things from other civilizations and peoples, I believe that the American idea is exceptional and that it has led to the freest, most prosperous and most beneficent nation in world history.
That’s hardly a racist or nativist idea, for Americans truly are – at least up until recent times – a melting pot of all races and ethnicities. It is the American idea that is superior, not the American people. America is about freedom, made possible by limited government, established by a Constitution anchored in Judeo-Christian values.
Our nation, based on a superior system of government, has been the beacon to the world. This system was crafted by 18th-century giants who knew that certain ideas are superior to others and that the political history of the world provides the clues. They designed our system to allow what is great about human beings to flourish and to keep in check our evil propensities.
But when we abandon our God-given gift to make intellectual distinctions, when we surrender our duty to make discriminating moral judgments, we forfeit our own intellectual integrity and moral authority. When we can’t hold up certain standards as preferable, we descend into irrelevance and meaninglessness.
The United States, despite its faults and missteps, has, among nations, been the greatest force for good in history and can continue to be if we return to our roots and our founding ideals.
President Barack nObama and his leftist ilk outright reject these ideas. They don’t believe in American exceptionalism and the superiority of the American idea, which explains why they have no problem managing the decline of our military power and refusing to zealously protect our borders.
Conservatives, for their part, need to overcome their timidity and quit trying to appease and emulate the left and mollify the gods of political correctness. It’s time that we start championing our ideas – based on the American idea – as if we believe they are superior.
We must remember what has made us unique and great and rededicate ourselves to re-establishing those founding principles. There is no room for moral equivalence here and nothing moral about pretending there is. We forsake the American idea at our peril.