Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Red State Discovers Gray Areas

Here's a little gem tucked away in the NYT this morning on that grand, red state values laden, sport of cockfighting. Cockfighting is where they put razor blades on the birds, place bets as to the likely winner, and let the birds fight to the bloody death. Sound good? Only two states in the union have not banned this "cultural heritage": New Mexico and Louisiana. New Mexico's beautiful. I got my master's degree there. Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe are great. The deserts and mountains are wonderful. The Very Large Array (VLA) from the movie "Contact" is there, too. But if you stray too far from the beaten path you're likely to discover that there are people there that don't know the war's over.

Turns out the subject of a cockfighting ban has come up in the state again, and those pesky outsiders from Hollywood and PETA are stirring up trouble, in the case of the former, reminding the state of its desire for production companies to film there, and well, maybe those companies might not want to continue putting their bucks in the Land of Enchantment if the state doesn't move into the 21st century and ban cockfighting.

This has gotten some of our cockfight-loving, anti-abortion votin', red state friends in a tizzy.

"I oppose abortion, but I'm not going to tell Pamela Anderson or even my daughter not to get one - it's their choice," said Louisa Lopez, who operates one of New Mexico's largest cockfighting pits, the Gentlemen's Arena Game Club, on the outskirts of Socorro, a small town south of Albuquerque. "So who are these outsiders telling me what to do? Who are they to come here with their ideas of what's right and what's wrong?"

OK, so the election was about values and how we need to return to a culture that tells right from wrong, right? Or wrong? Is the "right-wrong" distinction only for certain issues? If so, how do we know which ones? Is abortion a member of the "right-wrong" distinction or not? This New Mexican makes it sound like it isn't. But it seems like we've been hearing over and over about how everything's a matter of "black and white" (though not in the racial sense). What are we blue state heathens to make of this? It certainly isn't hypocrisy, now, is it? You know, defining issues as right or wrong in an abstract sense to gain political points or to outlaw something that offends you, but then claiming that the right-wrong concept doesn't apply to your pet vice or to your "cultural heritage"?

Paging Cal Thomas, The Corner, Townhall, John Leo, William Bennett, anyone, anyone?

Maybe gay rights activists and other "moral relativists" should consider this "cultural heritage" argument in support of their respective cause. This may be the crucial "out" that is needed in the culture wars. If your issue is a "cultural heritage" than it doesn't fall into the right or wrong, "there is an absolute truth" value continuum.

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