Our family lived in Southern California from the mid 80s thru mid 90s. Early one morning in 1994 I was awakened by our pet cockatiel, who was flapping around frantically in his cage. My first thought as I groped my way out of bed in the darkenss was fear that a snake or a rat had gotten into the house and was trying to kill our bird. This notion barely had time to form itself before the floor began to shake. I stumbled towards a doorway to wait out what was only a brief, mild echo of the devastating Northridge earthquake whose epicenter was 70 miles away. Animals have legendary–and perhaps exaggerated–powers of detecting tremors ahead of time. That our bird felt it perhaps a minute before the rest of us is no big deal.
It might be my imagination, but I heard birds flapping and dogs whining the other day when I read a column by ultra liberal Joe Klein of Time Magazine. Titled “Santorum’s Inconvenient Truths”, Klein expresses grudging admiration at the way Santorum sticks to his guns when questioned about his views by the media, saying that when most politicians would get defensive and qualify their positions:
Not Santorum. He didn’t seem at all flustered. He vigorously restated the positions he had taken–in some cases, eloquently…there is something admirable about Santorum’s near Tourettic insistence on bringing up issues no one else wants to talk about.
Klein then goes on to admit that Santorum is correct in his views on education, the importance of intact famlies, and–wonder of wonders–on there being something very wrong about the thinly veiled outcome of most prenatal testing.
In an aside about the gains of the prolife movement, Klein says that the prolife movement has had help from science, since “sonograms have made it impossible to deny that from a very early stage,that thing in the womb is a human life.”
And to Klein, Santorum’s greatest argument is a person. A little person named Bella who clearly has Klein shaken:
I am haunted by the smiling photos I’ve seen of Isabella with her father and mother, brothers and sisters. No doubt she struggles through many of her days…but she has been granted three years of unconditional love and the ability to smile and bring joy. Her tenuous survival has given her family a deeper sense of how precious even the frailest of lives are.
All right, I can hear you saying, the Santorum family’s course may be admirable, but shouldn’t we have the right to make our own choices? Yes, I suppose. But I also worry that we’ve become too averse to personal inconvenience as a society–that we’re less rigorous parents than we should be, that we’ve farmed out our responsibilities, especially for the disabled, to the state–and I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about the moral implications of his daughter’s smile.
If a liberal like Joe Klein is rethinking pro-choice dogma, then Rick Santorum’s campaign–and his little girl–are having an impact beyond the realm of politics.