- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2000

'Que pasa?'

"The photo says it all: A small boy, in the arms of the fisherman who plucked him from the sea, terrified in a bedroom closet, a helmeted federal agent pointing an assault rifle at their chests. 'Help me!' Elian Gonzalez screamed. 'Help me!' Across the room, the boy's great aunt crouched against the bed: 'Que pasa?' the boy cried. 'Que pasa?'

"What happened, according to Attorney General Janet Reno, was that options for an amicable settlement of the impasse over the precocious 6-year-old shipwreck victim had finally been exhausted… .

"At the White House, at 2:15 a.m. Saturday, President Clinton spoke with John Podesta, his chief of staff. 'Enough is enough,' the president said… . The attorney general ordered the Immigration and Naturalization Service to swing into action. 'Time,' she said, 'had run out.' "

Linda Robinson, writing on "A Dramatic Departure," in the on-line edition of U.S. News & World Report at www.usnews.com

Charming 'bigots'

"I discovered a shocking secret about the religious right: They're really quite nice. This was Pat Robertson's 70th birthday gala, in the Grand Ballroom at the Washington Hilton, and it was a mess. With more than a thousand guests, there were no place cards and no visible security… .

"I was curious to watch the enemy at ease. They were how can I put this delicately? charming. They seemed neither fanatics nor bigots. They had a sense of humor about themselves… . When I mentioned the disarming nature of the evening to my friends, they reacted with alarm. Some of them viscerally compared the event to a Nazi rally, and said that I might have met many personally charming advocates of bigotry there as well. Good manners don't mean good people, others insisted… .

"It's a lot easier to see one's opponent as entirely evil. But one of the deepest problems of politics in the culture war is the reflexive imputation of bad motives to the opposition and the demonization that inevitably follows… . I will never forget that soon after it became known that I was HIV positive, one person who went out of his way to send me a handwritten letter of support was Patrick Buchanan."

Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Enemies, A Love Story," in the April 16 New York Times magazine

Oblivious feminism

"In Baltimore in early April, an estimated 6,000 women from all over the country and world attended the 'Feminist Expo 2000.' Conference organizer Ellie Smeal hoped to 'showcase the power of the women's movement' and counter the media 'myth' that feminism is moribund.

"For three days, about 600 speakers, who ran the ideological gamut from Rep. Maxine Waters … to Gloria Steinem, lambasted the patriarchy, racism, sexism and capitalism. But they also took credit for radically altering the place of women and men in society.

"Perhaps the most telling moment came, interestingly enough, in a bathroom adjacent to the Expo's 'Feminist Hall of the Future.' In roughly eight minutes on Saturday afternoon, about eight women whose dress ranged from college grunge to business casual scurried inside, utterly indifferent to the huge 'men' sign above the entrance, or even the white male reporter inside. But these ostensible feminist pioneers … were motivated by nature, not politics.

"University of Pittsburgh undergraduate Sally Schlippert said the ladies' room was overcrowded. The alternative was obvious to Schlippert and the other ladies in the men's room. Alas, feminists who insist gender roles are mere social constructs that 'biology' is irrelevant might be disappointed to learn that none of the women opted for the urinals. This is feminism today brash, somewhat complacent, and utterly oblivious or indifferent to its fundamental contradictions."

Evan Gahr, writing on "Feminist Majority Rule," posted April 13 on the American Spectator on line at www.spectator.org.

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