Monday, June 13, 2005

Kersten: Tolerate Intolerance . . .

In her Monday column, Kersten pays homage to the clown princess of Minnesota politics, Michele Bachmann. The premise of the piece is that we should all just be tolerant of one of the most intolerant pols in the state. Spottie was too stunned to respond for several hours.

Spottie's doctor friends say that being aware of one's surroundings, and being oriented as to time and place are important tools in diagnosing brain trauma. Kersten has clearly taken at least one upside the head, and probably several, including some recently. She obviously spoke only to Bachmann, an unimpeachable source herself, in writing the column. Spottie's readers are invited to check here and here for some different perspectives on Kersten and Bachmann's complaints. Really, go read them; they're good - and funny.

Just a couple of comments on the column itself.

First, conservatives trot out the "activist judges" stuff whenever the Constitution is brought to bear to protect civil rights or equal protection and the bug-eyed control freaks feel threatened by a departure from their idea of conventional behavior. You heard about activist judges in free speech and pornography cases, civil rights cases, and you're hearing about them again.

Both Bachmann and Kersten are lawyers - an involuntary shudder from Spottie - and they probably learned in their first constitutional law class about a case called Marbury v. Madison. It's really a gripping tale of political intrigue, but Spottie will spare you. The case did, however, declare that it is the duty, yes duty, of the judiciary to be the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution. Now in spite what you might think, the courts do not cruise the streets looking for trouble. However, when a court is presented with a genuine justiciable dispute, it must resolve it. And sometimes, that means a resolt to Constitutional principles. The Constitution has been understood by most jurists to be a living document, not a tablet of stone.

Sometimes the majority, who Kersten and Bachmann seem to care about so much, is just a mob.

It is also curious to Spottie that Kersten, a Catholic, and Bachmann, an evangelical, seem so unconcered about the protection of minority rights. These are two groups who were specifically worried about their own preservation and protection in the early days of the United States, and who were particularly interested in the First Amendment protections in the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses.

Second, the Sour Sisters professed concern about academic freedom. But it is really the opposite they are after: the intimidation of teachers who challenge their fundamentalist Christian orthodoxy. It's late; Spottie is tired, but Google "academic freedom" and "PZ Myers" just to get started on this discussion.

Finally, Kersten makes the remarkable statement that Bachmann "raised five kids and 23 foster children." Boy, Mothers' Day must be remarkable in Michele's house! Spottie has seen pictures of Bachmann's kids, and "raised" they ain't. They're little kids. Having "raised" 28 children is such an obvious fabrication that it's pathological. It calls into question every "fact" that has ever issued forth from Kersten's mouth or pen.

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