October 13, 2005

Bill Bennett's Self-Defense

Bill Bennett calmly reminds his critics that his life's work effectively refutes what they are saying about him, even if they are unwilling (or simply too dim) to read and understand what he actually said on his radio program. And he challenges them not only to "engage in serious conversations about serious matters", but also to put forward their own plans to deal with the problems of the black community, or to demonstrate how they have been actively engaged in trying to solve those problems, as he clearly has been.

The supreme irony in all of this is that many of the race-baiting publicity hounds who rushed to condemn Bennett's admitted "abhorrent hypothetical" about "aborting all the black babies", would presumably have no problem whatsoever with that reality, as long as that happened to be the "choice" of every mother of a black baby. Bennett thinks "we can do better", and he has lived that creed. No amount of cheap demagoguery by self-righteous poseurs can change that. Here are some excerpts:

I have been slandered, defamed, misrepresented and libeled. I will not stand for it. I will not go away, or go meekly and quietly into that good night. Nor will I withdraw from the discussion. My entire career has been one of taking on serious issues, I have taken brickbats for that. I will continue to. Those who do not engage in serious conversations about serious matters can lob their shots at me. I can take them...

...although I cannot apologize for what I said and meant, which when understood in context ought not be objectionable, I regret that people have misrepresented my views so that they have been the cause of hurt, controversy, and confusion. What was presented in some of the media as my opinion would shock me as well; so I cannot blame many people for being mad as hell at what they heard. But such characterizations of my statements and views are not a fair, accurate, or true picture of either what I believe or what I said. In my conversation, I was raising an abhorrent hypothetical—and said so—an idea contrary to everything I believe, and contrary to the record of my life, my work and my writings, including 17 books.

Could I have said it better? Maybe. But my position, one of moral condemnation, could not have been clearer. “Morally reprehensible” are the words I used immediately, in the same breath and thought as this ugly hypothetical. What do my critics not understand about the meaning of the words “morally reprehensible”? Do they think it means approval?...

...In the end, let me point out that at the heart of the controversy this last week were abortion, black children, and crime. These are tough, explosive issues in American life, but we have to address them. We cannot flinch from them. But let me be as clear as I can on this controversial combination of all three issues. I am pro-life – I am unalterably and categorically opposed to any plan, idea, or scheme to promote widespread abortion of black children (or white children, or Latino American children), whatever its effect on the crime rate, the growth rate, or the GDP. I abhor such a notion. Today more than 1,000 black children will be legally aborted in this country. I grieve, as we all should, at those numbers, and I know people and programs that offer a better way. Do my critics? Do they abhor this calamity? If they really do, let me offer them some words they can use about the widespread abortion of black children, words of mine from the radio show a week ago: “ridiculous, impossible, and morally reprehensible.” Those were my words. Now they can try them on.

A final thought on this: If the very prospect of the widespread abortion of black babies is as obnoxious and horrible to my critics as they are saying it is, then perhaps they can join me, my wife, my colleagues, friends, supporters, churches – and address not simply the prospect of widespread abortion, but its reality. We can do better.

Posted by dan at October 13, 2005 12:19 PM