Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Closer Look at Bush "Morality"

I am still trying to figure out the "morality" of the vote for Bush. I Googled "moral values" and came up with an article by Walter Williams in today's Southern Mississippi Sun-Herald. Certainly a writer in one of the "redder" states would understand the moral view!

Williams writes of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction", Nicollette Sheriday's towel malfunction, and the Piston/Pacers game melee of examples of a "new culture" that somehow is subverting America. He doesn't mention the larger moral questions of waging a war on Iraq, or the failure of the war on AIDS, both more significant moral struggles in my opinion, because they involve the injuries, diseases, and deaths of MILLIONS of people, a moral situation that trumps Janet Jackson's left breast.

Williams writes: "During the 1960s, the education establishment launched its agenda to undermine lessons children learned from their parents and the church with fads like "values clarification." So-called sex-education classes were simply indoctrination that sought to undermine family/church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe, and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extra-legal measures to assist teenage abortions with neither parental knowledge nor consent." Clearly, Mr. Williams has some kind of hang-up about sex. His list his about sex, sex, and more sex. What about DEATH AND DISEASE Mr. Williams? Doesn't that count in the question of morality?

Mr. Williams concludes: "Customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now, we're paying the price. What's worse is that instead of a return to what worked, many of us fail to make the connection and insist "there ought to be a law." As such, it points to another failure of the so-called "great generation" - the failure to transmit to their children what their parents transmitted to them."

Mr. Williams, ironically, finally touched on something important. The "failure to transmit". THAT is what AIDS is all about; the TRANSMISSION of disease. And that moral issue is where this Administration has failed miserably.

As reported today in The Guardian, "The HIV/Aids pandemic is the worst catastrophe in history and is blighting childhood across the developing world, especially sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations said yesterday."

The report goes on: "Unless action is taken, swiftly and decisively, to stem the tidal wave of infection and loss, it is estimated that by 2010 over 18m African children will have lost one or both parents to HIV/Aids." Hey Mr. Williams, What do you think about THAT? Is that a MORAL problem, I mean EIGHTEEN MILLION AFRICAN CHILDREN LOSING A PARENT TO DISEASE? Or is Janet Jackson's left breast on T.V. more of a moral failing of our country? ARE YOU IN TOUCH WITH WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD??? Sometimes, I just HAVE to shout.

But what does this have to do with the Republicans? Well, an interesting point was made in an column from the October 12, 2003, St. Petersburg Times. This column reviews the history of how this Administration BLUNDERED in a very big way in its handling of AIDS.

One of the first things this Administration did was to reinstate the "Mexico City Policy"..."also known as the global gag rule, as one of his first official acts. It was also one of his meanest. The policy bars organizations that receive U.S. international family planning funds from having anything to do with abortion; even uttering the word in counseling is verboten.

Ronald Reagan gets the credit for this political stroke, announced at the 1984 Mexico City Conference on Population. It was a way to spread an antiabortion agenda around the world - delighting the religious right - without doing much political damage at home. Americans notoriously have little interest in what our government does relative to the developing world.

Bill Clinton retracted the policy and Bush resurrected it. Think of it as our culture wars exported

The column goes on to report on the "moral" effects of this reinstated Bush policy:

"In Kenya, five established clinics have closed; some were the only affordable reproductive health services in the area. One was located in Kisumu, a town with the highest HIV prevalance rates in the country. In Lesotho, where one in every four women suffers from HIV/AIDS, the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association no longer receives any donated condoms from USAID, the U.S. government agency that doles out family planning money and supplies. During the years 1998 to 2000, the Lesotho group had received 426,000 donated condoms.

In short, thanks to the closure of medical clinics and reductions in supplies wrought by the policy, more Africans will contract HIV, more mothers will transmit it to their babies and more of the population will die. Those tend to be the calculations in places like Lesotho when a lifeline gets snatched back

But George W. Bush was effective in STOPPING the usage of CONDOMS, one of the basic methods of slowing the transmission of AIDS. (There we go again talking about transmission!).

The column continues: "USAID is the single largest donor of condoms in the developing world, providing $75-million worth annually, or about a third of all donations. Yet, according to the PAI report, 16 poor countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been cut off from USAID condom shipments because their family planning groups are associated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which refuses to sign the antiabortion pledge.

In another 13 countries, including Ethiopia and Zambia, the nations' leading providers of reproductive health services also no longer receive USAID condom supplies.
" Perhaps Bush would rather the African natives "just say no" or some other Polyanna approach to the AIDS Epidemic.

But the effect of this policy has been highly IMMORAL. As the article concludes: "But stopping the supply of condoms to organizations that counsel clients on all legal reproductive health options is leading inexorably to HIV's spread and a rise in unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Hillary Fyfe, chair of the Family Life Movement of Zambia, which counsels young people on abstinence, reproductive issues and HIV prevention in nine provinces, says the funding cuts have been devastating. There is not a donated condom to be had in the region,"completely nothing," she says, and "when the (young women) fall pregnant they have no place to go. They take a knitting needle and push it down or they go in the bush and dig up a poisonous root and push it down. Half the time they die

So please don't bother to tell me about the moral voter. These are prudes who think that the worst thing that has happened this century was Bill Clinton having consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky. Or maybe as John Ashcroft would point out, it is the problem with the exposure of Lady Liberty's breast.

We Democrats know morality from amoral behavior. To deny condoms to Africans in the midst of an AIDS epidemic is obscene on a global scale. To show Janet Jackson's breast on T.V. is simply tacky.

It was the world's loss and Africa's tragedy that John Kerry lost in 2004. As was reported by the Kaiser Foundation: "a Kerry administration likely would promote a "more realistic" approach to sex education by encouraging condom use as well as abstinence and monogamy, according to the Star (Toronto Star, 10/30). Bush believes that condoms are not always the best method to prevent the spread of HIV, and he and his congressional allies have supported funding for groups that promote abstinence, USA Today reported on Thursday. Kerry has alleged that Bush puts ideology ahead of science by requiring government-funded HIV prevention groups to point out condom failure rates in their education programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/28)."

Only a child thinks that morality is about sex while ignoring sexually transmissable diseases that kill the world's poor.

John Kerry, America and the world is calling you!



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