Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Bachmann Caught Lying About Story Retraction

What the heck happened to Stillwater while I was gone? I go away for three months to bring in bin Laden and when I come back, the whole town’s falling apart!

Looking over the last few months’ worth of Gazettes, trying catch up on local events, I received shock after shock. Representative Eric Lipman is going to retire? Why? Did it have anything to do with that bill he proposed, the one that would have guaranteed a household pet’s right to have a trust fund? How can Lipman in good conscience return to private life, when (despite his best efforts) the state law code still prevents a citizen from making a will in favor of his Doberman Pinscher?

There was news about Senator LeClair, too, but I can’t remember what it was. For some reason, even when my editor deems his doings newsworthy I find the man eminently forgettable. But that might actually be one of his political strengths, given his record. I do remember that he once used this editorial page to announce that he was passionate about reforming government spending and about keeping local taxes low. He doesn’t seem to have said much about it since then; he may be “keeping his head down” on the tax-cutting issue now that we are laying off public employees and teachers.

Still, congratulations are due Senator LeClair. His prediction of last year—that no member of the Oak Park Heights City Council would be gunned down by one of his licensed gun-toting constituents—is still holding true! (Unlicensed Minnesota school shootings, courthouse shootings, and pistol threats directed at owners of icehouses on the frozen St. Croix river were not encompassed in LeClair’s prediction; his one-year guarantee of ballistic non-violence was strictly limited to the gunfire directed at members of the Oak Park Heights City Council by licensed gun permit holders.)

So far, so good! We’re nearly there, folks, so let’s keep our fingers crossed and our pieces in their holsters. That way, we will all get a big piece out of this summer’s anniversary cake: “One Year—No Council Members Shot By Licensed Gun Permit Holders!” Let’s hope the Senator’s “LeClairvoyance” continues to hold true. And congratulations again, “Swami Brian!”

As for Senator Bachmann, I really thought that by now she would have gotten her hand out from under her chin and done something about getting creation science included on our public school science curriculum. I couldn’t find anything in the Gazette indicating that she was still fighting the good fight. That’s too bad, because with Lipman retiring, she’s the only staunch creation science fan that we locals can rely on in the state capitol. Senator LeClair is lukewarm at best on creation science, as far as I can make out. He said he discussed evolution and creationism when he was in school, but he never told us what he concluded, one way or the other.

Since first speaking out on the issue, Bachmann and LeClair have both kept mum. They never answered the questions I submitted to them long months ago; their answers would have clarified their views about the proposed science curriculum submitted to the legislature. Bachmann’s current silence is especially disappointing to me, since she was happy to discuss the subject in public until the Gazette called her views to the attention of its readers. (Too bad Lipman is retiring. He declared that acquainting our students with the tenets and outlines of creation science was as important as teaching them about the theories of Galileo and Copernicus. I miss him already.)

By the way: an Internet account reports that Senator Bachmann circulated a letter claiming that the Gazette retracted its original story about her and her views on creationism. This is untrue. In a letter to the Gazette complaining about the story, Bachmann did not dispute the accuracy of the quotes attributed to her. The Gazette did not retract its story; it retracted only the headline that ran above that story. The story itself was deemed accurate and has never been retracted.

If Bachmann did indeed circulate a letter stating that the Gazette retracted its story, that statement was false and misleading and the Senator owes the Gazette and its staff an apology.

Apparently, Bachmann’s current enthusiasm is her “Defense of Marriage” scheme. By proposed amendment to the state constitution, Bachmann is attempting to permanently enshrine the current popular prejudice against gay marriage. A fine example of the tyranny of the majority! If successful, her plan would effectively prevent future state courts and even future state legislatures from recognizing that gay folks have a right to marry.

I see problems ahead for Senator Bachmann and fundamentalist Christian supporters of this measure. When promoting it, they claim to be defenders of the institution of marriage. I respectfully suggest that these people may not have the requisite moral authority to act as champions of the sanctity of marriage.

I will explain why in next week’s column—but for the present, here are two questions that will set the table for the discussion.

Question 1) Which represents the greater threat to the institution of marriage: a) The possibility that gays may one day be allowed to marry each other, or b) the institution of divorce, as currently practiced?

Question 2) Which of the major religions has the highest rate of divorce?

William Prendergast is the author of the crime thriller Forbidden Hollywood and has never been divorced, although many women have rejected him.


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