Apologies for my long absence. To make a long story short, too much to do, too much to think about, too much that makes me angry, and not a lot of energy for blogging.
Several of the things that have been making me angry and giving me food for thought are coming together in this post. I was flabbergasted this past weekend to see that more than forty so-called Democrats cast their votes for the Stupak amendment to the health insurance reform bill (to give it its proper name: it isn't reforming health care, it's reforming health insurance--and that just barely). Among the more common rationalizations and excuses offered for those votes is the notion that people shouldn't be asked to support, through their tax dollars, things which they personally do not approve of.
The thing that burns my onion is that the only time anyone ever seems to think that's a good or an important idea is when the matter in question is allowing men to control what a woman does with her body (i.e., abortion). It's not an altogether unreasonable idea, but before I could get behind it as a principle of government, it would have to apply to everything that our taxes fund.
For example, earlier this evening the Commonwealth of Virginia
executed judicially murdered John Allen Muhammad, who was one of the two snipers who terrorized the Washington, D.C. area seven years ago last month. That's certainly something I don't support, and that I don't like to think about funding with my taxes. Another thing that was boosting my blood pressure was the tenor of some of the comments on Muhammad's pending execution that I encountered on allegedly progressive web sites: comments to the effect that he deserved what he was going to get, that he was worthless, and similar drivel that I would have expected from a right-wing site, but not at places where I spend time online.
One of those comments argued that unless one had been part of the community that Muhammad and his accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized through random violence, one was somehow not entitled to have or to express an opinion about what would, or would not, bring closure to the families of the victims. As I pointed out in response to that comment, this is precisely why we have a justice system. We do not allow the victims of crimes (or their relatives) to determine the fates of those charged with committing crimes against them, because they lack the necessary objectivity.