With so many fundamental American freedoms under attack, it's hard sometimes to know what matters most. That observation points to the strategy of the Party of Torture, which works every day on every front to control our lives and strengthen its power.
At the top of their reactionary agenda are two radical goals. First, taking cues from their alter-egos in radical Islam, they seek to redefine America as a born-again Christian nation where the line between government and church dissipates into oblivion. And second, they want to outlaw abortion.
In North Carolina, no organization is doing more to sustain a woman's right to choose than Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina. My wife was chair of their board last year, and yesterday we hosted an event for 150 people at our house to build interest in their work and mobilize supporters for the next round of assaults on freedom and choice.
The highlight of the party was a fabulous concert, courtesy of the Red Clay Ramblers. The band was predictably awesome, and their energy was uplifting and inspiring.
God knows we needed it. Because aside from the joy of hearing their beautiful music, the mood at the event was one of grim resolve. From national figures like Congressman David Price and Hodding Carter to state officials like Joe Hackney and Verla Insko to University leaders like Erskine Bowles, there was a deep urgency about the November 7th elections - and a deep concern about the lunatics running our country into the ground.
One woman said she felt like a citizen of Germany must have felt in the decade before Hitler's rise to power. Another said her best friend has already moved to Mexico, with others planning to do the same. People expressed genuine shock at the quiet coup now underway as the Party of Torture seeks to take control of the machinery of voting, just as it seeks control of courts, detention centers, and the bodies of women.
Some tidbits from my many off-the-record conversations:
Several people said the atmosphere in Washington has never been more divisive and destructive - and that's saying a lot.
Two insiders reported that the Party of Torture knew full well about Congressman Foley's preference for young boys.
Among a group of older women: "Elizabeth Dole has to be the most useless Senator in the history of our state."
If the Senate goes Democratic in 06, Dole might well retire in 08. And she might retire even if it doesn't. Maybe BlueNC should help her along.
Lots of excitement and buzz about Larry Kissell.
People are also supporting Heath Shuler, though enthusiasm was muted among this actively pro-choice group.
Because this was a Planned Parenthood event, I didn't stir things up with our two representatives in the NC House about their silence on the albatros that is Jim Black. But I will say this: There were plenty of others at this event who feel they should have spoken out.
Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina is a rare and special organization. Their work around contraception and abortion has helped women in countless ways, and the stories these women tell are enough to break your heart. Equally important PPCNC is actively involved in lobbying and public policy, and thank goodness they are.
The religious right and the Party of Torture are pursuing a modern-day inquisition in their self-styled roll as the National Sex Police. They would rather see people die from AIDs than have access to contraception. They would rather see victims of incest carry babies to term than allow a young girl to abort a fatally mal-formed fetus. And they would happily cover the sleaze of one of their own sexual predators instead of shining the bright light of integrity for all to see.