SEPTEMBER 8, 2012 12:00 A.M.
The tragedy for America is that she’s all too typical.
By Mark Steyn
Sandra Fluke at the 2012 DNC
According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November. “During this campaign, we’ve heard about two profoundly different futures that could await women in this country — and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past,” she cautioned. “That future could become real.”
In one of those futures, women will be “shut out and silenced,” rape victims will be “victimized all over again,” pregnant women will “die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms,” and “access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.” If you’re wondering where all that is on your ballot form, just check the box marked “R.”
“We know what this America would look like,” warned Miss Fluke sternly. “In a few short months, that’s the America that we could be. But that’s not the America that weshould be. And it’s not who we are.”
Fortunately, the America that we could be that isn’t the America that we should be doesn’t have to be the America that we would be. The good news is that “we’ve also seen another America that we could choose. In that America, we’d have the right to choose,” said Miss Fluke. This would be “an America in which our president, when he hears that a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or his donors. And in which our president stands with all women. And strangers come together, and reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here, and you give me this microphone — to amplify our voice. That’s the difference.”
So, if you’re looking for an America where strangers lift up Sandra Fluke and amplify her voice, that would be the box marked “D.”
“I’ve seen what these two futures look like,” she said. “And six months from now, we’re all going to be living in one future, or the other. But only one.” Because you can’t have two futures simultaneously, even under Obamacare.
With respect to Sandra Fluke, I think there’s a third future looming. The paperback edition of my book comes out in a week or so, and you can pretty much get the gist of it from the title: After America. For me, the likely scenario isn’t that the Republicans will be terrorizing rape victims or that the Democrats will finally pass the necessary legislation to make contraception available for the contraceptively starved millions crying out for it, but that America will be sliding off the cliff — literally, as Joe Biden would literally say. And when America slides off the cliff it lands with a much bigger thud than Greece or Iceland. I’m not certain that the Republicans will be able to prevent that happening. But I know that the Democrats can’t. America owes more money than anybody has ever owed anyone in the history of the planet. But millions of Americans don’t see it, and millions of those who do see it don’t see it as a problem.
Sandra Fluke is one of them. She completed her education a few weeks ago — at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light B.S. in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum — first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest — or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. She says the choice facing America is whether to be “a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices” — and, even as the words fall leaden from her lips, she doesn’t seem to comprehend that Catholic institutions think their “voices” ought to have freedom, too, or that Obamacare seizes jurisdiction over “our bodies” and has 16,000 new IRS agents ready to fine us for not making arrangements for “our” pancreases and “our” bladders that meet the approval of the commissars. Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. What a bleak and reductive concept of “personal freedom.”
America is so broketastically brokey-broke that one day, in the grim future that could be, society may even be forced to consider whether there is any meaningful return on investment for paying a quarter-million bucks to send the scions of wealth and privilege to school till early middle age to study Reproductive Justice. But, as it stands right now, a Cornell and Georgetown graduate doesn’t understand the central reality of the future her elders have bequeathed her. There’s no “choice” in the matter. It’s showing up whatever happens in November. All the election will decide is whether America wants to address that reality, or continue to live in delusion — like a nation staggering around with a giant condom rolled over its collective head.
Any space aliens prowling through the rubble of our civilization and stumbling upon a recording of the convention compatible with Planet Zongo DVD players will surely marvel at the valuable peak airtime allotted to Sandra Fluke. It was weird to see her up there among the governors and senators — as weird as Bavarians thought it was when King Ludwig decided to make his principal advisor Lola Montez, the Irish-born “Spanish dancer” and legendary grande horizontale. I hasten to add I’m not saying Miss Fluke is King Barack’s courtesan. For one thing, it’s a striking feature of the Age of Perfected Liberalism that modern liberals talk about sex 24/7 while simultaneously giving off the persistent whiff that the whole thing’s a bit of a chore. Hence, the need for government subsidy. And, in fairness to Miss Montez, she used sex to argue for liberalized government, whereas Miss Fluke uses liberalism to argue for sexualized government.
But those distinctions aside, like Miss Fluke Miss Montez briefly wielded an influence entirely disproportionate to her talents. Like Miss Fluke, she was a passionate liberal activist who sought to diminish what she regarded as the malign influence of the Catholic Church. Taking up with Lola cost King Ludwig his throne in the revolutions of 1848. We’ll see in a couple of months whether taking up with Sandra works out for King Barack. But what’s strange is that so many people don’t find it strange at all — that at a critical moment in the affairs of the republic the ruling party should assemble to listen to a complacent 31-year-old child of privilege peddling the lazy cobwebbed assumptions of myopic narcissism. Lola Montez was what botanists would call a “sport” — morphologically distinct from the rest of the societal shrub. The tragedy for America is that Sandra Fluke is all too typical.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2012 Mark Steyn