Today’s Courier Herald Column:
We’re in the post mortem stage of the recent battle over the Susan G Komen Foundation and their contributions to Planned Parenthood. As is predictable in how these skirmishes occur, the pro-choice forces supporting Planned Parenthood were quite ready for their successful counteroffensive, and had from the beginning decided to send a message to other charities who may consider de-coupling from working with the organization.
They had also made it clear from their initial offensive launched Thursday morning that their trophy would be the scalp of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. Handel resigned Tuesday – accepting no severance from the non-profit – so that the Komen organization may resume its mission in the way it sees fit.
The curious note from this episode involves a charge that is of a pot and kettle variety. When Planned Parenthood released their talking points, chief among them was that they were shocked and disappointed that Komen would politicize their mission by having the gall to stop giving to one of the most polarizing organizations in this country.
The reality is that Komen chose to politicize the issue the day it made the unfortunate decision to partner with Planned Parenthood, and they were aware of it. One of the reasons they reached out to Handel was to get a better understanding of problems they were having not only with fundraising, but also due to delivery issues because of their entanglement with Planned Parenthood.
The amount of money was small, but raw dollars and percentages are irrelevant when battling over “single issues”. “It’s the principle” is not only a rallying cry, but a reason to stop debate and discussion. And in the process, if a well meaning third party charitable organization must be held hostage or even destroyed while others use them as their battleground then so be it.
The faux righteous indignation from the left over the “politicization” of Komen rings hollow in the shock and surprise that a charity would be used for the purposes of the right, when the left was clearly making a much bigger and more widely orchestrated issue in their pushback than pro-life forces had been doing previously.
Further, causes near and dear to the left have not stopped them from preying upon private service organizations for politicization to advance their cause. Anyone who thinks otherwise should have a long conversation with the Boy Scouts and the funding issues they faced over their exclusions regarding homosexuality.
Now, the Girl Scouts are likely to be pulled into this discussion if a cursory review of Facebook is a leading indicator. Those upset with Komen’s reversal are posting a lot of informational links to the Girl Scout’s ties to Planned Parenthood. One more organization with a stellar record of civic added value is poised to become yet another battleground for those who always need stalking horses to advance the culture crusades.
Unfortunately, the battle is not just within private organizations where individuals can decide where to donate their time and money and where they will not. We now have a President who will tell the audience at a prayer breakfast that Jesus is for tax hikes, but that the Catholic Church needs to get over itself and its opposition to birth control. Meanwhile, the party of limited government seems to be ready and willing to wage its national primary as much on government involvement in social issues as it is on “taxed enough already” fiscal issues.
The point here is not to illustrate which side is right nor which is wrong. Ideological extremes without actual debate and discussion rarely serve the best interests of the citizenry. The point is that those who advance them unchecked and undisciplined are doing little more than engage in a modern version of the crusades that lasted for centuries in the middle ages yet ultimately accomplished little.
Those on the far right will read this, know that they are right, and dismiss any criticism mention here as irrelevant to the battles which they must win because they are right. Those on the far left will read this, know that they are right, and dismiss any criticism mentioned here as irrelevant to battles they must win because they are right. Those in the middle will remain uninfluenced, wonder why we spend so much time battling over these things, and go back to trying to figure out how we reduce unemployment, afford the next tank of gas, and keep their or their neighbor’s house from being foreclosed on.
Hearts and minds are not won by exertion of brute force. Those advancing an agenda of social issues will not win by takeover of new territory with submission of conquered subjects. Using a scorched earth policy to use charities as proxies for social crusades may embolden those who are on the extremes, but turns off those in the middle who would like to see reasonable solutions.
All sides, as well as those in the middle, are losing in the current culture crusades.