Democrats must become more tolerant

Steve Hammer

Those of us who were in attendance at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday were fortunate to hear the wise words of President Bill Clinton, perhaps the greatest leader of our lifetimes.

Time has proven Clinton to be right on so many issues and, especially in comparison with the current president, a moral man despite his marital indiscretion.

One topic that he addressed is the need for our leadership to help the nation come together on common issues. The divisive policies of the current president have led us to the brink of civil war, so destructive have they been.

A topic I wish he would have addressed, but which his wife has spoken eloquently about, is the topic of abortion, perhaps the most divisive issue of the last 50 years.

More specifically, the abortion issue cost Democrats the White House in 2004 and could well do so again. People who voted for Bush in 2004 overwhelmingly cited "moral issues" as their reason. These aren't stupid people but people who were driven by fear.

In an address last week, former President Jimmy Carter, a great American and Nobel Peace Prize winner, gave a speech on this very topic. His words deserve scrutiny from those of us who call ourselves Democrats.

John Kerry lost that very close 2004 election, in part, Carter said, because he failed "to demonstrate a compatibility with the deeply religious people in this country. I think that absence hurt a lot."

Democrats must "let the deeply religious people and the moderates on social issues like abortion feel that the Democratic Party cares about them and understands them," he said. Many Democrats, he said, "have some concern about, say, late-term abortions, where you kill a baby as it's emerging from its mother's womb."

Carter said, "I never have felt that any abortion should be committed - I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors ... I've never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve of abortion."

President Carter speaks the truth. Making abortion rights the cornerstone of the Democratic Party platform has not only cost the party the White House, it's caused untold millions around the world to suffer and die because of the pro-war, anti-freedom platform of Bush.

Democrats who are Christians are especially pained by this. Our unwillingness to budge on the abortion issue has caused suffering around the world.

"I have a commitment to worship the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of Preemptive War," Carter said, and he is right. Not all Christians are the same, and certainly not all Democrats are comfortable with our party's stance on abortion.

There may well be good reasons to be suspicious of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. as a Supreme Court Justice, but abortion is not one. It's not right to judge a man based on one issue alone, especially one as divisive and complex as abortion.

While people of good conscience may disagree on some aspects of the abortion issue, there's plenty of common ground. A vast majority of Americans can resolve to agree on several things.

Abortion should be discouraged. It is almost never a good thing. The government should never do anything to encourage them and instead should provide viable alternatives.

When Clinton was president, teen-age pregnancies declined at a rapid pace. Why? His administration rescinded the gag policy, which kept teen-age girls and others from getting vital information on contraception.

Since the Son of a Bush became president, abortion rates have actually risen, in part because of the re-institution of the gag policy. Well-informed girls are less likely to become pregnant.

And girls who abstain, research shows, do so because of moral reasons. This should be encouraged while still providing information about family planning.

The formula is simple: Continue on the path of absolutism on abortion and continue to lose elections and keep the destructive, immoral Bush policies in place.

Indy Protest Poem

We're not in the habit of printing poetry. In fact, all poetry submitted to us is turned over to the Department of Homeland Security. But this poem, sent to us by "The Revolutionary," was so on-point that I couldn't pass it up.

Black Bart Peterson and My Man Mitch, they steal from the poor and give to the rich.

Irsay is as rich as he can be, so they're building him a stadium for free.

Poor, abandoned kids live in a foster home, Bart won't pay for them, but he'll pay for a dome.

Have a family home you'd like to keep? Mitch made the taxes too steep.

Kids jump in the pool with a grin, Bart closed the pools again.

IPL linemen keep our power on, Mitch made sure their savings were gone.

Black Bart Peterson and My Man Mitch, they steal from the poor and give to the rich.

Black Bart Peterson and My Man Mitch, ain't that pair a bitch!

Beautiful. I couldn't have said it better myself. By the way, "Black Bart" is not a racial comment, but rather a reference to the infamous 1880s stagecoach robber Charles E. Boles, who, unlike our mayor, only took money belonging to large companies, not the stagecoach passengers.


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