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US Election 2008: Barack Obama vs. Trig Palin?


People who have been following the upcoming American election will know that last week featured a sustained media hit on Republican Veep nominee Sarah Palin’s family.

Some of the visceral hatred of Sarah Palin is, of course, completely understandable. As commentator Bill Whittle perceptively noted,

Sarah Palin has done more than unify and electrify the base. She’s done something I would not have thought possible, were it not happening in front of my nose: Sarah Palin has stolen Barack Obama’s glamour. She’s stolen his excitement, robbed his electricity, burgled his charisma, purloined his star power, and taken his Hope and Change mantra, woven it into a cold-weather fashion accessory, and wrapped it around her neck.

That no one thought Palin could achieve this may be inferred from Ben Stein’s early pointed dismissal (which annoyed many fans of Expelled because Palin is not a Darwin hack). In fairness to Ben, he may have mistaken Palin for one of the cackling horde of entitlement/extortion babes who want to play with the boys – by girls’ rules.

No doubt the Dem campaign will regroup tomorrow, but meanwhile, I want to draw attention to the culture war over Trig Palin (the Palins’ youngest son, and what it tells us about the culture in which evidence for design in the universe is so very unwelcome.

Trig, as most know, has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder. It usually features retardation as well as physical problems, though the degree varies greatly from one individual to the next. Years ago I interviewed a young Canadian actor who had Down syndrome, read a book by a young British author who also had it – and have just learned today of the passing of a Canadian artist of some note who lived with the disorder for half a century. Most people with DS today can be educated, live as young adults in group homes, and undertake light responsibilities. Recent medical advances enable most to reach middle age.

However, 90% of American children who have the disorder are aborted, often late in pregnancy. Thus, I wasn’t surprised when intrepid Canadian blogger Wendy Sullivan (the Girl on the Right) alerted me to this Palin hate site, featuring ridicule of the infant Trig. Now, the site is a troll hole, to be sure, but it inadvertently draws attention to widespread American attitudes to children like Trig.

Recently, LA broadcaster Frank Pastore invited Jill Stanek, the Oak Lawn, Illinois nurse whose testimony about babies who survive abortions and are left to die triggered the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in Obama’s state. She recalls how she got involved:

… if they were aborted alive, they were allowed to die in the hospital’s soiled utility room without any medical intervention whatsoever.

This came home to me one night when a nursing coworker was taking a little baby boy (who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome) to our soiled utility room to die because his parents didn’t want to hold him and she didn’t have time to hold him that night. When she told me what she was doing I couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone and so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. Needless to say, this was a life-changing event, …

A curious coupling of pictures that: Trig Palin, help up by his family before an adoring crowd … . The nameless, abandoned Oak Lawn child held by a lone, caring nurse in the soiled utility room …

It was Barack Obama who later prevented the Illinois “born alive” legislation from being passed. Although many clouds of smoke have billowed from his handlers’ offices, Obama quite clearly opposed protection for children such as the Oak Park boy, where the overwhelming majority of legislators supported it.

How strongly does Obama feel about his stand? When political reporter David Freddoso was asked by Bill Steigerwald “What the most damning thing you say about Obama’s ideology or belief system?”, he replied:

Sen. Obama promised to a gathering of Planned Parenthood last July that his first act as president – and that’s what he said, “my first act” — won’t be to bring home the troops from Iraq, or to set up a government health care system or any of the other things that Barack Obama has promised. The Number One thing, the top priority, his first act, is to sign a bill called the Freedom of Choice Act, which re-legalizes partial-birth abortion, among other things. Fine. People have all kinds of opinions about abortion. People are pretty much in agreement about partial-birth abortion – that they don’t want it. But that will be his first priority, and that he would go so far as to pander to Planned Parenthood and say that at their gathering last July, is really, really amazing to me.

No, David, it is not amazing. Not in a country where far more boys with Down syndrome will die alone in a soiled utility closet than live in a family.

Obama, I think, knows his country well.

Or does he? From the dawn of history, most human beings have known that there is – in any event – Another country, whose governor hates nothing and no one that he has made. And influences from that country sometimes make their way here.

As a traditional Christian, I believe that even now in that country, my childhood friend Johnny (1948-1957), who had Down syndrome, has placed his bet – and is smiling.

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If you need a book that tries to explain religion and doesn’t succeed …