Impromptus

A sign of these times, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

You may not have seen this — and you’re lucky if you didn’t — but a pro-abortion, or pro-choice, protester in Texas held up a sign that said, “JESUS isn’t a DICK; so keep him OUT of MY VAGINA!” (Nice semi-colon, by the way.)

The protester is 14 years old. She explains herself, and her sign, in this article.

There are a million things to say about this dear girl, and her sign, but one of them is this: What does that “vagina” business mean, exactly? I’m no anatomist, but don’t babies form in the womb? The thing is, a lot of these pro-choice folk regard abortion as a form of birth control, right?

And it is, really: No baby, no birth.

Ted Kennedy used to say that anti-abortion people were invading “our bedrooms.” I thought that was an interesting way of putting it. I have no doubt that Kennedy thought of abortion as birth control.

Anyway — hope I haven’t ruined your day with this stuff.

In a column last week, I spoke of Bob Filner, the “feisty liberal,” in the words of the Associated Press, who is mayor of San Diego. He is in hot water for sexual harassment.

And the AP tells us in this article that “House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi won’t say if she thinks [Filner] should resign over allegations he has repeatedly groped women.” Nope. She “told reporters Friday she won’t make judgments about the accusations.”

Of course not. But if the mayor were a conservative Republican, instead of a liberal Democrat: Would she “make judgments”?

That’s the easiest question you’ll hear all day.

A much better politician, than either Pelosi or Filner, is Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan. He’s the one who is tackling the problem — the gargantuan problem — of Detroit. Snyder is a new politician, a former venture capitalist and CEO.

This article tells us a number of interesting things about him. He has “no known presidential aspirations,” it says. And it quotes him as saying, “I don’t spend time dwelling on my legacy. I just try to do my job well. That’s relentless positive action. No blame, no credit. Just simply solve the problem.”

Snyder continues, “Here was a problem [meaning Detroit] 60 years in the making. The can was being kicked down the road for far too long. It was time to say enough was enough. Let’s stop, let’s stabilize, let’s grow.”

Sounds good to me. Snyder is a Republican, and his opponent in the 2010 election was Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing. In this same article, he is quoted on Snyder.

“It’s bold and decisive,” he says — referring to Snyder’s decision to take Detroit into bankruptcy. “You’ve got to give him credit, however late.” Bernero thinks that Snyder should have done this shortly after assuming office in 2011.

“There was a sense of inevitability about this bankruptcy,” he says. “I would have moved quicker with an emergency manager. The ship couldn’t right itself. Why prolong the agony? Lance the boil and move on.”

Well said. But would a Democrat have really — really and truly — acted this way, once in office? Would he have stood up to the forces that have to be stood up to? The race bullies and so on? I’m a little skeptical. Still, nice words.

This article is of interest. I give you the first paragraph:

The reigning valedictorian of the medical school at Israel’s Technion — the country’s oldest university, dating back to 1912 — is a Muslim-Arab woman from a Nazareth-area village who only became fluent in Hebrew after leaving home. 27 year old Mais Ali-Saleh, from the village of Yafa an-Naseriyye, considers herself both a feminist and a devout Muslim.

But never forget that Israel is a racist state, an apartheid state. Never, ever forget it. Our leaders — particularly in academia, the media, and entertainment — tell us this constantly. So it must be true.

I was reading about a Vietnamese dissident, and the persecution he is suffering. I thought of an encounter I had with Vietnam’s prime minister, some years ago. He is still prime minister — Nguyen Tan Dung. I met him at Davos, in 2007. He spoke to a small group of us journalists.

He was smiling all the time. In fact, I wrote in my journal, “I don’t know how he can smile that long, and that broad. My face would hurt, simply as a physical matter.”

Nguyen went on and on about how market-friendly and open Vietnam was. He got a little less smiley when I opened my mouth. Here are the relevant paragraphs from that journal:

After hearing so much classical liberalism — I could be at the American Enterprise Institute — I am moved to ask the following: What elements of Communism still appeal to the ruling elites of Vietnam? And what about religious and press freedoms?

On hearing my questions, Nguyen smiles just a little less. Before, he has been crisply confident, and now he is slightly hesitant. “May I reassure you,” he says, “that we are a socialist government, and that we continue to pursue the goal of socialism.” I love that “may I reassure you”! He says that “socialism in Vietnam can be characterized as follows: rich people in a strong country with a just, civilized, and advanced society.” He says that, “in Vietnam, the Communist party is the party to lead the country, and socialism is our purpose. This is the historic choice of the Vietnamese people. We have chosen this path on a voluntary basis.”

I can’t help writing in my notes: “BIG LIE.”

Oh, yes. One of the biggest.

My apologies to all Ukrainians, but I enjoyed reading an article by David Blair, in the Telegraph. In 2000, he was in Sierra Leone, where there was a U.N. peacekeeping force. Different soldiers, from different countries, will have different characteristics. I’ll let Blair take over from here:

I met their commander, who happened to be a British officer, and he told me about his little force. There was a bunch of Ukrainians, who typically rolled out of bed at noon, cracked open the vodka, and drank until dawn the next day, before going back to bed. The commander no longer bothered asking them to do anything.

The list goes on. Fun stuff (even if your own country is knocked or analyzed, I think). Also deadly serious stuff.

My fourth-grade teacher was a man from the Ukraine. (In those days, we always put the “the” before “Ukraine,” unless you were a conscientious supporter of Ukrainian nationalism and independence.) The things that those people endured from the Soviets . . .

Longtime readers will recognize a complaint from me: Congressional bills should have neutral titles — numbers and whatnot. Not partisan titles, such as the “Make America Better” bill. (Support MAB now!)

I thought of this complaint when reading this article. House Republicans have a bill they’re calling the “Student Success Act.” Democrats are retaliating by knocking the bill as the “Letting Students Down Act.” I say, slap a number on it — or some boring language — and proceed.

Speaking of longstanding complaints: I have always objected to hissing. And, all of my life, the Left has hissed. They’ve hissed movies, plays, music, me — anything they don’t like. I’m sure that conservatives have hissed, along the way. Frankly, I have never been present for this.

I wrote an essay on this subject in 2008: “‘A Perpetual Hissing’: Notes on an unfavorite practice.” (The quote — “a perpetual hissing” — is from the Book of Jeremiah.) I have nothing more to say on this subject, really.

But I want to speak of a fresh instance. A friend of mine was attending a program of opera excerpts in San Francisco. On the program was a stretch from L’italiana in Algeri, the Rossini opera. At one point, Isabella says to Taddeo, “Meglio un Turco che un briccone” — which the surtitle in the house rendered “Better a Turk than a scoundrel.”

And a woman behind my friend hissed.

Now, we are talking about an opera written in 1813. And that particular line, of course, is “progressive”! Forward-thinking! “Multicultural”! “Better a Turk than a scoundrel.” But the woman in the audience could not help hissing. Because that’s what the Left does, or some of them do: hiss.

Oh, what a disgusting, sinister practice. I could go on — but I did, in that essay.

I want to end with a letter. It’s not too cheery, but it’s in keeping with my column today. (Sorry about that.) A reader writes,

Jay,

My girlfriend works at a retail clothing store in Chicago. She has recently had some issues with her manager (long stories, details don’t matter).

Today, she was told by the manager, “Because you do such a good job selling, the other employees are intimidated. They are intimidated by your success. We want to move you to a fitting room [outta sight, outta mind], so other employees have a chance on the floor. I just want to have an environment where all people are equal and everybody does the same.”

She has already found another job, and is leaving. By the way, the store called her into a meeting a few months ago and told her, “Employees said that, in the breakroom, you mentioned having a Bush-Cheney shirt. Some of them thought that was offensive, so we would like you not to speak of it at work.”

We can accept this kind of country — just accept defeat, or a kind of dhimmitude. Or we can push back. Push back in myriad ways, at myriad turns.

Jesse Jackson had — or has, I don’t know — his “Operation PUSH.” Here’s to an Operation Pushback. 

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