Page Two: The Undoing of Due Process

Why Republicans, Constitutionalists, Libertarians, and committed pro-lifers should oppose Gov. Abbott's attack on Planned Parenthood

Page Two

The Lumière Brothers in France were among the first filmmakers. Many of their films involved turning the camera on, then 40 or 50 seconds later turning it off. "L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat," about a train entering a station, is a film of theirs probably first shown in 1896. According to disputed film legend, at early showings of the film audiences would rush out of their seats.

In Albert E. Smith's autobiography Two Reels and a Crank, the film pioneer claimed that after the battleship USS Maine was exploded in Cuba's Havana Harbor in 1898 his company Vitagraph shot a lame re-creation in a bath tub and successfully released it. This may not be true.

Film can mislead, lie, emotionally distort, and promote irrational reactions.

On the morning of Oct. 19, based on some videos edited with a clear bias and released by the partisan Center for Medical Progress, Gov. Abbott said the state would end Medicaid enrollment for Planned Parenthood.

Eleven states investigated Planned Parenthood; seven of those investigations ended with no proof of wrongdoing found. In four of the states investigations are ongoing, including Texas. But our governor does not need to wait for the results of a thorough nonpartisan investigation.

Obviously the Chronicle is a progressive lefty paper. And many of you are probably expecting a call to demand outrage on the part of the choir. But that's an ask that doesn't have to be made. The outrage is there and genuine.

But some of our readers barely agree with a single idea found in these pages. Some read us because they care about the arts, or they want to know what those they disagree with are thinking or to feel absolute contempt for the corrupt and poverty-stricken ideas of the American left.

This is for them. The fight for free speech should and must begin with the ideas we find most repulsive, the deeply ideologically repugnant. We may argue them, denounce them, raise our voices in protest. But we must not try to suppress them, we must fight for their right to be expressed.

Further, our whole society is based on due process. On the notion that we are a fair democratic republic, a nation of laws, not a monarchy based on blood or a tyranny based on power. These laws should and must be fairly applied. If someone we don't like or disagree with is deprived of their rights in a way that violates due process as much as we may be intellectually or ideologically satisfied with the result, we have to resist it. Desired results achieved through a broken, illegitimate, or corrupted process ultimately deprive all of us of our rights.

Although I am ideologically sympathetic to the views articulated by Michael Moore in some of his films, perhaps especially Roger & Me, that is a dishonest, manipulative work. Chronology is distorted and purposefully misarranged. In The New Yorker Pauline Kael wrote, "shallow and facetious, a piece of gonzo demagoguery that made me feel cheap for laughing." If that film had resulted in funding granted or cut in Michigan, the protest should have been loud, vigorous, and unending.

Too many people embrace media manipulation when they agree with it and over-aggressively disdain it when they don't (a litmus test here is Fox or MSNBC). But to cut funding to an organization that serves a significant segment of the state's population, a constituency that is dependent on it, because of distorted allegations is to step outside legislative restrictions and ignore due process.

For those of you who oppose funding for Planned Parenthood, renew your efforts to disenfranchise the group, and I will equally renew my efforts to support them and, further, I will encourage others to support them. Which means taking issue with and disputing your arguments. But I will not try nor willingly go along with any attempt to deny your speech, as much as I may disagree with it.

But here the governor is abusing his power in order to pander to you. Rather than responsible citizens engaged in meaningful dialogue, he is treating you like easily led children who will grant electoral approval to those operating from the basest motivation. He's not caring about the good of the state or its population but playing to his most biased supporters in the laziest way. In reality this probably won't hold up. Money will be spent in the courts by all sides and ultimately this may not pass legal muster. But as when Ted Cruz shuts down the government, the purpose is not serving the good of the nation nor the interests of its citizens. It is a blatant attempt to appease the like-minded and expand personal political power. Our governor is attempting the same.

Expect the large and vocal pro-Planned Parenthood community to condemn this action and legally contest it. But as an act of the deepest love for this country, may Republicans, Constitutionalists, Libertarians, and committed pro-lifers who believe in the laws of this country and the critical importance of due process come together demonstrating that their love for the Constitution is greater than specific issue-orientated politics.

When the Democratic left tries to do the same in abridging your rights, as they have and will, I promise to add my voice to those who condemn them, as I have and will.

"We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ...." There is nothing to add.

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Page Two, Planned Parenthood, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, due process, freedom of speech, Michael Moore

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