Late summer grab bag

While I can’t say that nothing is happening this week, I’ll admit nothing has caught my eye on which I have 1,200 words to expend. Here are a few things that are worthy of at least brief notice.

Mel Gibson?I join those few who are amazed that only one small part of Mr. Gibson’s insane behavior a couple of weeks ago is worthy of note. He was reportedly out with women other than his wife, drunk (50 percent over the legal definition), driving very recklessly, resisting arrest, and being generally abusive. The guy seems to have big problems; the details of his drunken, abusive language don’t stand out as the most newsworthy events of the evening. And yet that was the headline, “Mel Gibson makes anti-Semitic comments,” and not, “Mel Gibson parties with other women, gets drunk, drives fast and curses at everyone he can think of.” Two reasons for this, I think.

First, adultery and drunk driving are so common in some communities that they can’t be noted without embarrassing many. Entertainment media that refer to actors by their first names only think unwed couples and parents are cute and that drunken excess is racy. So “Mel’s” big night is all about his hateful anti-Semitic tirade. Nothing else, apparently in the whole world, happened that week.

Second, Hollywood’s liberal elite hated “The Passion of the Christ.” They’ve never forgiven Mel Gibson for making the movie, and especially for making money on it. Now he’s caught in a hypocritical episode and it’s party time. He shouldn’t have gotten drunk and gone crazy, but most of the outrage is itself hypocritical.

Kinky for governor??Musician Kinky Friedman is running for governor of Texas. Funny guys have done this for years to jump start their name recognition. Comedian Pat Paulson (you are old if you remember him) ran for president more than once as I recall. It was a goof.

Kinky will not win but he is a stronger candidate than the Democrat (most couldn’t call his name) and fellow Independent Carol “Mad Grandma” Strayhorn. The why of this is interesting. It looks like cynicism or anarchy to me.

Kinky’s campaign slogans, “Why the ____ not?,” “How hard can it be?,” and the like appeal to those too lazy to see the importance of political leadership. Instead they follow the line that everyone is crooked, no one is competent, and it doesn’t really matter.

So, many will vote for Kinky as a way of backhanding the status quo. I think candidacies like this are mildly amusing. I think the possibility that some people take them seriously enough so that goof candidates can affect the outcome of an election is not amusing at all.

Tyranny by exception?The Senate passed the Child Custody Protection act the last week of July. This act would prohibit non-parental adults from transporting minor across state lines for an abortion. It was intended to support what Americans support by a four to one margin?parental consent for a medical procedure done on their own child. Fourteen Senate Democrats, immediately after voting for the act, joined their party caucus in a procedural scheme to block the act from becoming law.

Here’s the deal. Those who object paint a picture of young girls pregnant by abusive fathers. Parental consent is thus not reasonable. How many girls are pregnant by abusive fathers? Very few, actually. Pregnant teenagers usually are either victims of sexual predators or of their own hormones?not their own fathers, or even their mom’s boyfriends. This exceptional occurrence is supposed to drive the debate, though.

It’s similar to the need for a pregnant woman to have a partial-birth abortion to save her own life. It’s hard to imagine the scenario where birthing the last half of a baby’s head will be the difference between life and death (for the mother, that is) but that’s what looms large in the minds of those who would protect this grisly procedure.

To others, the exception of rape or incest or the life of the mother is used to justify open laws regarding earlier-term abortion. These things happen, though rarely. Yet they form a loophole through which our nation, encouraged by some religious people, has driven tens of millions of abortions in the past 30 years.

Are their objections sincere? Maybe it’s like Rush Limbaugh once said in referring to a political group that “never met an abortion they didn’t like.” If Rush is wrong, show me even the mildest control on abor

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan

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