Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.
"That's my little guy," Santorum says, pointing to the photo of Gabriel, in which his tiny physique is framed by his father's hand.
- Washington Post
In a feature about Senator Rick Santorum in the Washington Post, there is an extremely personal and sad story about the loss of Rick and Karen Santorum's prematurely-born baby. I believe that the Santorums felt the loss of their expected child very deeply and their story is one I would expect to see in Good Housekeeping magazine or some other publication targeting the women's non-political market. The appearance of the story about a private Mass -turned suddenly public - in the Washington Post sends only an exploitative political message. To my way of thinking, it cheapens the Santorums' deeply personal experience. How a family chooses to deal with death and loss is highly personal, and I would never take the tone of judgement on any way they needed to process their grief. I found that I could connect with Karen Santorum's letters written to her unborn child. To me, that seemed like a healthy and normal activity. I try to understand how bringing the tiny corpse home to the Santorums' other young children would be something they believe would be psychologically healthy for them. I already know, by simply being a member of American society, that it is not the norm.
So, what do we glean from knowing about this ultra-private and not-so-normal family grief session, using a prematurely-born baby as an idol for a political news story? I suppose it's that some people will go to any tacky length to outlaw a woman's right to choose.
Food for thought:
I wonder - what issue would I feel strongly enough about in order for me to "bare it all" for strangers? I like to maintain a modicum of personal dignity, integrity and class, as I'd imagine most of us do. What issue would lead YOU to "bare it all"?
Josh Marshall writes, in a blog post today, that it should be the careful and consistent consideration of the outcome of policy, and not political strategy, that should drive Democrats.
"We hear a lot today about framing or being tougher or being united or dumping the failed consultants. But while each of these prescriptions has some element of merit, each also recapitulates the existing problem -- only dressing it up in clothes -- because each mistakes the disease for the cure...When it comes to strategy and tactics, the current Democratic party is like a drunk in the early stages of recovery or a man or woman who keeps ending up in the same bad relationship again and again with different people..."
I believe it was the Democrats' addiction to strategy that led them to approve the Iraq Resolution in Autumn, 2002. It was a faulty strategy. Politically, it won them nothing. As a matter of fact, it hurt their standing and integrity with their core supporters. It led our nation to be seen, around the world, as the aggressor and occupier in an unjust war. Key international coalition partners are pulling away (or have already pulled away).
The words "How will this decision play in the press?" should never be more important than "How will this benefit (or cause injury) to the American people?"