Jewish World Review April 14, 2000 /9 Nissan, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- I WASN'T WILDLY INTERESTED in the Elian case at first. Cuba is a lousy country, if you go for things like freedom, but so are a lot of countries. I figured the Cold War was over and Fidel Castro is going to have to get around to dying someday. Being here in a nice country with laws and courts and due process, I could rely on immigration boards and family courts to decide the law, and I wouldn't have to bother myself about what to do with little Elian.
But I did have to bother myself about little Elian because I occasionally pick up a newspaper or turn on the television -- and it's been All Elian, All the Time for some months now. It turns out that, as far as the Left is concerned, the Cold War is most definitely not over. Sending Elian back to Cuba has become a cause greater than defending Alger Hiss. One last stand for communism.
Indeed, the Left's enthusiasm for sending Elian back to Castro's Cuba borders on the pathological at times. The fact that Elian's father lives in Cuba comes up only as a second thought, as a sort of auxiliary rationale. The main point is that Cuba is a communist country. Therefore, Elian must be made to live there.
Leave aside the fact that liberals generally, and Anthony Lewis in particular, are forever kvetching about federal laws that require the deportation of aliens who actually commit felonies in this country. Let a criminal wash ashore and the Left sees him as part of the American dream. But if it's a little boy who lands on our shores only because -- by all accounts -- his mother simply wished for him to grow up in freedom, and liberals can't see him deported fast enough.
What's really jarring about the "Deport Elian now!" position is that the same people who are getting weepy and doe-eyed about family unity have rarely had a kind word for the family until now. The first lady, for example, famously compared the family to "slavery" (prompting Pat Buchanan to remark, even more famously: "Speak for yourself, Hillary").
Incidentally, liberals invariably insist that Hillary's family-as-slavery position is an unjust "misrepresentation" or "caricature" of Hillary's 1973 article in the Harvard Education Review. So let me quote directly from the article to ensure there is no twisting of Mrs. Clinton's words: "The basic rationale for depriving people of their rights in a dependency relationship is that certain individuals are incapable of or undeserving of the right to take care of themselves and consequently need social institutions specifically designed to safeguard their position. ... Along with the family, past and present examples of such arrangements include marriage, slavery and the Indian reservation system."
The Clinton administration wasted little time in signing the completely preposterous United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which had been repeatedly rejected by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. The rights of the child treaty would bind the United States to a panoply of children's "rights" -- against their parents. (Not to worry: The treaty has been gathering dust in Sen. Jesse Helm's in-box for several years now.) Parents can't make their children wash the dishes, but they can make them live under communism.
While liberals take a generally skeptical view of parents, fathers they deem positively malignant. The National Organization for Women has worked tirelessly to defeat fathers' rights laws in legislatures across the country. Dan Quayle was immediately and mercilessly pilloried for condemning a husbandless and pregnant (and fictional) "Murphy Brown." Fathers are apparently dispensable in all aspects of child-rearing, except the important role of spiriting their children back to a communist dictatorship. Then the father's wishes must be respected.
The Left has never thought parents important enough to be informed if their minor children have abortions, perennially opposing parental notification laws. Indeed, fathers are so irrelevant under the law that they have no say over the decision of whether or not their own children will be aborted. Elian's mother could have aborted Elian without input from the father, but she can't give him freedom without the father's consent.
And now, out of the clear blue, we are ponderously instructed by liberals that parents -- fathers no less! -- are the be-all and end-all of a child's development. Pardon me for being a tad cynical, but the Left's newfound interest in fathers' rights is a little hard to swallow.
Poor Elian. The entire Cold War is being refought on this little 6-year-old's
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
04/11/00: The verdict is in on Hillary