fresh voices from the front lines of change







I’ve got a daughter who’s about the same age as Sandra Fluke, went to law school with her and worked wit her Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Rights group. So I want to ask a simple question of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, both of whom are also the fathers of daughers. It’s a simple question, really:

How could you?

Sen. Santorum, our very own Savanarola in a Sweater Vest, suddenly found unforeseen wellsprings of elasticity in his ethical code of conduct. Mr. Moral Rectitude became Mr. Moral Relativity when it came to the prolonged verbal abuse of a young woman, conducted by a profane and lecherous fat old man before an audience of millions of men just like him.

And Mitt Romney was even worse.

The Assailant

As most people now know, Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and compared her to a prostitute. When a backlash arose, he doubled down and said that ‘we’ are paying for to have sex then her sex life should be put on the Internet. Never mind the illogic of his argument: Including contraception in an insurance plan doesn’t ‘pay people to have sex,’ any more than treated Rush’s heart problems with a paramedic and an ambulance was paying him to be fat.

Georgetown is a Catholic institution, so my daughter and her colleagues weren’t surprised that the Reproductive Rights group was the only student organization to be denied student resources. But they were invariably treated with respect and dignity, despite their differences of opinion with the school’s leadership.

Not so Rush Limbaugh, as the entire nation now knows. Prostitute, ‘slut,’ sex on the Internet – are the attacks ove which these two fathers did nothing. Well, eventually they did something – after days of public pressure. They stepped up to their metaphorical bully pulpits and — sorta condoned Rush’s attack.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying that women are helpless and need to rely on the strength and power of male father figures. I’m talking about what happens inside the heart of a father – and about the kind of man who can see a daughter who’s the same age as their own be abused in this way …

… and do nothing.

The Entertainer

Actually, what they did was worse than nothing. “He’s being absurd,” Santorum said when questioned directly by Wolf Blitzer. “But then, an entertainer can be absurd. He’s in a very different business than I am.”

Before we get to the heart of Santorum’s heartlessness, can we put to rest this notion that Rush is an ‘entertainer’? He only ‘entertains’ in the sense that lions in the Roman Coliseum entertained: by attacking the innocent to feed the dark souls of the vicariously vicious.

The craven cowards who supplicate in order to win Rush’s blessing love to say he’s an ‘entertainer,’ rather than a bully and a demagogue. They said it when he told outrageous lies about first one President, then the other. They said it when he viciously insulted a President’s wife – and his daughter. They said it when he told an African American caller to ‘take the bone out of your nose.’

And they’re saying it now.

When a young woman is called a slut and a whore by an oleaginous creep before millions of men, who the creep the invites to fantasize about her sex life, all that Rick “Family Guy” Santorum could only say was that it was ‘absurd.’

The real entertainer here is Rick Santorum. With morals like his, and talents to match,he keeps; trying to convince us he has the gifts of wisdom and character needed fo the highest office in the land.

Now that’s entertainment.

The Letter

But my real disgust and disappointment is reserved for Mitt Romney. So he’s the one I’ll address personally:

Dear Gov. Romney:

As the old saying, the deepest circle of hell is reserved for the person who knows better and does wrong anyway. Remember last week when you accidentally said something reasonable about contraception? That no doubt reflected his real views, but he immediately walked it back immediately under pressure.

You clearly do know better. You knew better last week, and you know better now. But after three days of cowardly silence, here’s what you finally said:

“”It’s not the language I would have used. I’m focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today, and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs in Ohio.”

It’s not the language you would have used? Meaning what? You would have used more polite euphemisms for “slut” and “prostitute”?

As one father to another, here’s my message to :you: Step down, Mitt. Just stop running now. You don’t have a leadership bone in your body. I can tell you one thing for sure: I, and all of my friends, may disagree with any one of your daughters’ views on any given subject. But I, and all of my friends, would never turn our backs on her during an attack like this – not for any reason.

You want us to believe you’re a leader, when you don’t even have the moral courage of any father selected at random.

Forget Rush Limbaugh. His moral state was never in question. But I have to say, I was actually surprised – and deeply disappointed – at the level of moral cowardice shown you’ve shown. I shouldn’t have been, I guess. But I was. I felt we must be alike in this deep matter, which is above all else a matter of the heart, a matter of the soul, a matter of decency.

And, not incidentally, a matter of leadership.

Sincerely yours,

A Fellow Father of a Young Woman

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