When bleeding hearts clot

When bleeding hearts clot

: I really can’t stand Sen. Sam Brownback for a host of reasons (his attacks on free speech and the First Amendment not least among them). Nick Kristof can’t stand Brownback, either. Yet today Kristof writes:

Sure, Mr. Brownback is to the right of Attila the Hun, and I disagree with him on just about every major issue. But ’tis the season for brotherly love, so let me point to reasons for hope. Members of the Christian right, exemplified by Mr. Brownback, are the new internationalists, increasingly engaged in humanitarian causes abroad – thus creating opportunities for common ground between left and right on issues we all care about.

So Democrats should clamber down from the window ledges, roll up their sleeves and get to work on some of these issues. Because I’m embarrassed to say that Democrats have been so suspicious of Republicans that they haven’t contributed much on those human rights issues where the Christian right has already staked out its ground….

Liberals traditionally were the bleeding hearts, while conservatives regarded foreign aid, in the words of Jesse Helms, as “money down a rat hole.” That’s changing. “One cannot understand international relations today without comprehending the new faith-based movement,” Allen Hertzke writes in “Freeing God’s Children,” a book about evangelicals leaping into human rights causes.

I don’t know why the bleeding hearts of the left have coagulated and hardened, but in many quarters, sadly, they have.

That is my complaint with the left and Iraq. Protest the war: fine. Complain about its execution: Sure. Disagree with me on the war: Absolutely. But I have heard too little empathy for the people of Iraq and too little disdain for their dictator. Even when two wonderful gentlemen, just people, just bloggers, came here this month, my fellow travelers tried to fang them just because they were associated with Iraq. That’s just plain uncivilized. I’ve always seen Iraq as a humanitarian issue more than an issue of defense or terrorism but that human aspect is too often lost.

Of course, there are too many other humanitarian issues in the world today and Kristof is warning his fellow travelers that they will be left behind — their historical leadership usurped by, of all people, the fundamentalists they too often disdain — if they don’t wake up and find their moral bearings again.

Liberalism is supposed to be about people, about caring for your fellow man, not just about shouting.

But if you prefer to judge this on a political rather than a moral basis, then heed Kristof’s warning: Don’t let Brownback win this one alone.