- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2002

Soccer highs

"[T]he significance of the American [soccer] team's weakness has always been underrated. Particularly now that the Olympics have been spoiled by total American dominance, it is nice for everybody else that the United States always loses at the only game the rest of the world really cares about. Now that the United States has started to do a bit better, the future looks darker.

"Hearing the score of [Americas win in the] Mexico game and the rumors that riots might start in Mexico City I immediately worried: If the United States started to dominate soccer the way it dominates basketball, then anti-Americanism might really start to get ugly.

"As it stands, the relationship between the United States and soccer is perfect. Americans citizens of a modern state have plenty of opportunities to show their patriotism, on inaugurations and at school assemblies and on the Fourth of July. They don't need to do it in soccer stadiums as well. Europeans, on the other hand citizens of postmodern states have fewer and fewer, and need those soccer highs badly as a result."

Anne Applebaum, writing on "Flag on the Field," on June 18 in Slate at www.slate.com


Wrong answers

"It has been perverse in the extreme, at least for many ordinary Catholics, to see that one prominent public reaction to the scandals has been to blame matters not on the molesters, but incredibly on the non-molesting rest of the Church. This is, after all, the meaning of the widespread attack on priestly celibacy. As one writer asked with apparent hopefulness, 'Does the celibacy rule turn priests into child molesters?'

"After all, it is not as if all those dissenting Catholics, lapsed Catholics, and outright anti-Catholics chastising the Church these many months had hitherto shown much enthusiasm for its teachings about sexual morality.

"But the biggest problem with the argument against celibacy has been that it simply affronts common sense. To argue that vows of chastity lay somehow at the root of the priest scandal is like arguing that tee-totaling causes drunkenness, or that quitting smoking will increase the risk of lung cancer.

"Even more illogical, if that is possible, has been the idea that allowing priests to marry would somehow reduce the kind of sexual offenses of which the scandals were made. 'Right,' in conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher's tart words. 'As if wives are the answer to the sexual urges of men who get their kicks from adolescent boys.'"

Mary Eberstadt, writing on "The Elephant in the Sacristy," in the June 17 issue of the Weekly Standard


A 'New Democrat?'

"It seems possible that candidates such as Joseph Lieberman, John Edwards, Richard Gephardt, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry will run as New Democrats. And so we'll be hearing 'New Democrat' being mentioned again and again. But what does it mean?

"I've asked this question of [Al] From and he answers in rather general terms: To be a New Democrat is to be part of a political movement toward the center.

"A longtime Democratic policy-shaper told me recently that the New Democrat movement could best be defined 'by what it was pulling away from,' rather than what it was. 'It pulled away from the liberalism label and the politics pushed by liberals, such as affirmative action and political correctness,' he said. 'And at the same time it did move toward the center. Indeed, Clinton, as the poster boy for the New Democrats, won over a lot of Republicans when he was re-elected. '

"Gore's big mistake, which cost him the presidential election in the view of New Democrats, was to turn away from citing the accomplishments of the Clinton-Gore years and, instead, to stick to a theme of class warfare a theme that no longer has any application to the American political scene."

Godfrey Sperling, writing on "What Makes a New Democrat?" in the June 25 edition of the Christian Science Monitor

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