Mazzuca: On these hot-button political issues, I’m just saying (column)
As someone who was raised Catholic, I think the manner in which the Roman Catholic Church protected its abusive priests and swept the matter under the rug for years was despicable.
At the same time, about 3.5 million youth across the U.S. between grades 8-11 reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult (most often a teacher or coach), according to statistics compiled by Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME). According to the statistics, the type of physical contact ranged from unwanted touching to sexual intercourse.
According to SESAME, this number increases to about 4.5 million children if we consider other types of sexual misconduct, such as children being shown pornography, being subjected to sexually-explicit language or exhibitionism. This ugly matter extends far beyond the Catholic Church and well into the mainstream of our society.
Women in Combat
General James Mattis, our former defense secretary, once described his efforts to increase the lethality of the U.S. Military, saying, “My real job is to try to keep the peace for one more year, one more month, one more week, one more day while the diplomats try to work out a solution to very difficult problems … I want any adversary to know that they are better off to deal with our secretary of state and our diplomats … because they do not want to deal with me and my soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.”
It’s hard to disagree with General Mattis, and if giving women roles in combat increases the lethality of our military, then we should be all for it. If it doesn’t, then all we’re really doing is using the military for social experimentation — and that’s not its mission.
Save the moral outrage
It’s nonsensical to justify one type of bad behavior by comparing it to another type of bad behavior. And it’s patently ridiculous to defend the president’s behavior on any given issue by pointing to equally bad behavior on the part of some Democratic politician.
However, it is appropriate to point out the hypocrisy of those doing the criticizing when they feign moral outrage while cherry-picking which politician’s behavior should be reproved and which politician’s behavior should be overlooked.
The same people who call the president a racist never wanted to discuss the fact that prior to taking office, former President Obama was a member of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, for nearly 20 years, a church that can be characterized as one of the most racist in America.
Valuing one life more than another?
Let’s assume that twin sisters Jackie and Judy live in Ohio, a state where the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act is law. Let’s also assume both women are unmarried, 10 weeks into unwanted pregnancies and living at the margins of the poverty level.
However, Jackie’s unborn child has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, which means Ohio law prohibits her from having an abortion, even if her reason is lack of adequate resources to raise a child. Meanwhile, her twin sister Judy, who also wants an abortion for the same reason, is free to abort her fetus.
To be clear, I’m an agnostic on this matter and I do not make moral judgments in the anti-abortion vs. abortion rights debate. Nonetheless, I find it more than a bit interesting that in its practical application, while the law protects one specific category of unborn child (those prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome), it doesn’t offer the same protection to the life of an unborn child who wasn’t diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Fact-checking politicians is a good thing, but it’s only effective when the people doing the checking of facts aren’t as biased as the politicians they’re checking. However, the real problems with fact-checking occur when fact checkers assign non-specific labels to statements; for example, when a statement is labeled “half true,” “mostly false” or given some other ambiguous designation.
One of the more glaring examples of this type of factual amorphism occurred when PolitiFact assessed Barack Obama’s “You can keep your doctor” statement as having “Varying degrees of truth” before public sentiment forced them to change it to “Lie of the year.”
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.