Katha Pollitt — who, yes, I am in love with today (and hell, every day) — has a few suggestions to allow righties to practice what they preach. My favorites:
1. Stem-cell research. According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 22 percent of the population thinks extracting stem cells from pre-embryos frozen in fertility clinics is unethical. These tender souls have prevailed upon the Bush Administration to restrict federal funds for stem-cell research. This has resulted in a bidding war among states eager to lure researchers, which nobody sees as the best way to do the science. Why not split the difference? Bring back federal funding, but those who oppose it can take the appropriate tax cut. The catch is, they agree to forgo any cures stem-cell research might yield: They’ll have to live with their Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or cancer, which, since they believe stem-cell research is wrong, is surely what they would want to do anyway.
4. Teen sex. Every school will offer both abstinence-only and comprehensive sex ed–parents can sign their kids up for the course they prefer. In states with notification/consent laws, parents will remain free to discourage or prevent their daughters from having abortions. The catch is, if they choose this route, they are legally responsible for the total financial support through college of the babies their underage daughters produce. After all, if a girl is too young to learn about birth control, too young to have sex and too young to decide on her own to have an abortion, she’s obviously too young to be a mother. Having made the choice for her, the parents should bear the consequences. If they don’t like this system, they can try to extract child support from the baby’s father (or his parents), and good luck to them.
6. English only. Do you blow a gasket when your ATM asks you if you’d like to bank en español? Check the English-only box, and get priority on tract housing in Utah or Idaho. But first, just to make sure your own linguistic skills do justice to the language of Shakespeare, Woolf and Baldwin, you’ll be enrolled in a free, intensive, yearlong literature class taught by brilliant, dedicated, culturally conservative professors who firmly believe they failed to get tenure at Ivy League universities because of their resistance to grade inflation and what passes for education these days. Less than a B sends you back to the land from which your ancestors most recently escaped.
Of course, liberals like me would never support the kind of legislation that Pollitt suggests (and she’s obviously being a little tongue-in-cheek with this piece). Why? Because, unlike those running the current administration, I kinda like the idea of people other than just me having a wide range of rights, and the ability to decide for themselves how they live their lives. How novel.