Most times, we on the left can safely laugh off the manufactured controversies of our brothers and sisters on the right. We know they don’t really believe Barack and Hillary killed four Americans in Benghazi. We know they know allowing Medicare to cover end-of-live counseling isn’t “death panels.” We know and they know it’s just about scoring points.
But we don’t seem to get it when it comes to genuine moral outrage on the right. The push to test food stamp and welfare recipients for drug use, along with legislation limiting what can be purchased with EBT cards, comes from a deep moralistic well of resentment toward those who are perceived to be getting a free ride. We all share that resentment. It’s basic to human nature, and scoffing at it isn’t going to make it go away. We need to understand that a lot of voters are totally energized over the outrage they feel toward welfare and disability cheats. We need to take their outrage seriously.
I think the emerging conservative and religious outrage over the latest Planned Parenthood video is also something we should take seriously. I don’t think this video, already widely debunked, is going to go away. I don’t think the dismissive tone of this Wonkette article is going to lessen the video’s impact; in fact, I think the left’s smug dismissal of it makes us appear insensitive, elitist, and out of touch.
Sure, the video’s bullshit. It’s a direct descendent of James O’Keefe’s hit video on ACORN, and just as phony. It’s misleadingly edited and the people flogging it are liars. But behind the misleading edits and lies, there is this: Planned Parenthood harvests legally donated tissue and organs from aborted fetuses. Aborted late term fetuses.
Did you know that? I didn’t. Probably most of us didn’t. Well, now we do. Now we have to think about it. I guarantee you conservatives and religious people are thinking about it (and spreading the story far and wide).
Yes, everything Planned Parenthood does with regard to “donated tissue” is legal and aboveboard, done with the permission of donor parents, done without any attempt to make money off it, done in accordance with standard practices across the medical industry. But god damn it, we’re talking about harvesting tissue and organs from aborted fetuses, and if you don’t see why people might be outraged over that you need new glasses.
You can say sure, but there’s also outrage on the right over same-sex marriage, and we need to be dismissive of it because it’s clearly wrong. And you’re right. Not that many years ago there was widespread outrage over racial integration. We gave that outrage the scorn it deserved. Today (albeit with far too many exceptions) that outrage has become acceptance. Outrage over same-sex marriage will eventually fade as well.
I don’t know that people will ever stop resenting those they see as freeloaders. I don’t know that people will ever not be morally horrified at the thought of harvesting organs from aborted fetuses, legally or otherwise.
We need to understand genuine outrage and address it forthrightly, without belittling half the people in this country.
© 2015, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.