Rick and Bella Shake Liberal Foundations

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.




Daria Sockey


Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at thesockeys@gmail.com

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  • I too felt that tremor from Bella’s arrival in our world!
    As the mother of a nine year old with Down syndrome, I admit a resemblance to your cockatiel in terms of an extra sensitivity to seismic shifts of this type, but if liberal Joe Klein is moved by little Bella’s witness of unconditional love and recognizes that she is the cure to our aversion to sacrifice as a society, I say this is further proof that she, and her father are part of the cure. 
    As the mother of a special needs child, I know what mothering Christina has done to my ability to give of myself, and that of my family.We have learned to love people, regardless of their outward appearances, material goods, or social status. We give more, judge less, and take joy in the everyday blessings we previously overlooked like the arrival of spring. We are happier, better adjusted people, and better Christians. We are not alone; Dr Brian Skotko published a survey in the American Journal of Medical Genetics which states that families with members with Down syndrome expressed a 99% rate of happiness, matched by that of the child. Siblings were right behind, with 89% saying that their sibling with Down syndrome made them better people. I know that this applies to families who are blesed with any child with a disability, I saw this as I accepted stories on such children for my book “A Special Mother is Born”. Rick Santorum’s story of Bella, “Two Years Worth Every Tear” was one of them. 
    Now, imagine a society where there was less judgement, and less selfishness. Where we took time to smell the flowers, look into one another’s eyes and smile. Where we helped the disabled and  frail instead of consigning them to nursing homes. That is the America which we could have if we have the good taste to vote for Bella Santorum’s hero; her daddy!

  • Holy cow!  That last Klein quote gave me chills.  Shazam!

  • Jamie Kolasinski

    You can’t deny their love unless you are in denial and even then it’s difficult!  Now that is genuine love…very heartwarming!

  • Ray D.

    I think Klein needs to be admired as well for going against his liberal media circle and truly stating what’s on his mind…. rather than what the liberal media seems to carousel around such issues with the same thing about “choice no matter what” selfish approach. We also need to pray for Klein and others that they will indeed have a change of heart towards these important life issues. Well done Klein, well done!