"I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq." - Nancy Pelosi
"The Biggest Ethical Issue."
I like that. It would have been even better if she said "moral issue," but "ethical issue" is good, too.
The Democrats for years and years have allowed the Republicans to use "morals" and "ethics" to exclusively refer to the stances of their party, and to exclusively refer to matters like sex.
Greed is not a moral issue. Healing the sick is not a moral issue. Alleviating poverty is not a moral issue. WAR is not a moral issue. What you do with your wee-wee is the beginning and end of morality, according to the Republican Party.
And the mainstream media goes along with that nonsense.
The media frame given our political discourse is that health-care, poverty, and war are NOT actually moral issues, when, of course, they are. The result is that the Democrats have come across for years and years as astonishingly passionless. A bunch of weak bureaucrats, sitting in a panelled room playing all sorts of esoteric, wonkish games. The Republicans, on the other hand, have used passion and emotion and heart to whip up actual fervor.
This process has been aided and abetted by the mainstream media, of course, but the Democrats haven't helped. The result has been that an issue like healthcare is viewed as an abstract conundrum, instead of the focus of the question being where it belongs: on actual sick and dying human beings. That would be treating it as a moral issue.
And that is part of the reason why the media were so shocked when Howard Dean yelled "YEAAARGH!" He broke the rules. He was a Democrat, and he actually had the nerve to exhibit actual excitement and passion. Republicans get over-the-top emotionally all the time, and the media don't bat an eye. Because it's part of the accepted media frame that Republicans are expected to be passionate. Democrats aren't.
But they were all wrong. That passion of Dean's is exactly what led to the recent election victories. And Speaker Pelosi's understanding that war IS a moral issue, poverty IS a moral issue, health care IS a moral issue is exactly the frame needed to bring passion and focus back to the left side of the political spectrum, and resurrect the concept of actual morality from the dead ossified sexual rules and regulations and phony Pharisaism masquerading as morality so beloved by the Republican Party.