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Biden Wiggling On Hyde Amendment Is Troubling

June 8, 2019

I feel a need to wade into the waters on the political story which seems to have taken hold of the week.  I do so because I feel my readers are owed a comment, and also due to the fact Joe Biden is the candidate I am supporting for the Democratic Party nomination.

Biden moved nearer to the rest of his party’s presidential contenders on Thursday when he dropped his support of a measure restricting use of federal funds for abortions.  Make no mistake about it, this is a very important campaign 2020 story.

I do think there is a legitimate policy argument to be made as to why the Hyde Amendment needs to be removed.  I also applaud how people can learn new information, allow life experiences to create new points of view, and then change their mind about policy.  But there also has to be a question raised–as much as I respect and support Biden–about what makes up the core values of a person–and how much wiggle room can be accepted for partisan maneuvering.

I know this is more than a ways-off segue but I wish to go back to 1861 and Senator Jefferson Davis who rose in the chamber to give a speech which was so moving that he received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.  President Lincoln was to serve in the White House, the South was ‘leaving the Union’.  Mississippi had made its secessionist move, and Davis had no choice but to bid his farewell to his fellow senators.

Davis was wrong with his legal arguments about a state’s right to succeed,  wrong about his moral views of slavery, and wrong about assessing the military might of the South.  But he knew himself.  And that is no small thing to consider.

He spoke of sadness and regret to his colleagues, and history records his honor on that day in the Senate chamber.  We all know what follows with the years of war and bloodshed.   But that day when he stood for his convictions remains one of the most powerful speeches from our past.  There is a lesson in that speech, if we are smart enough to ponder it.

I know we lose a lot when we make moves in life that are simply for a more conventional or convenient path. (Having taken rocky roads myself allows for a bit of leeway to write such a line.)   The issue of abortion, or in this case the Hyde Amendment, is not something that can be easily talked about from both sides of the divide.   While a solid argument can be made for removing the amendment, it is troubling to see Biden being the person to do so.

I do have to ask the question.  What other foundations of Biden’s are also movable?  That is a fair thing to ponder given the news this week.

This is not something I relish asking.  I do think long time readers, who expect candor on my blog, would be less than pleased if I pulled my punches over someone I respect.

And so it goes.

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