Chicago Tribune
December 23, 1998, Pg. 3
John Kass

The first bulletin that I'd been impeached by the angry radio avenger of the Republican Right -- Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- came from Elaine Steffek of East Lansing, Mich.

"Dr. Laura is sliming you!" warned Elaine. "She's telling the nation that you hate Republicans because the inside of your politically liberal skull is full of spermatozoa. How could that be?"

I tried explaining that was quite physically impossible, but a worried Sylvia Rudek of Mt. Prospect was on the other line.

"Dr. Laura is saying you're nuts, that your liberal Republican-hating brains are consumed by spermatozoa!" Sylvia cried. "People might think some of it is true. Are you a liberal?"

Soon the phone and e-mail were clogged as my spies told me about Dr. Laura, the nationally syndicated guilt-dishing morality enforcer.

Mrs. Conservative Republican Family Values--and a star nudie attraction in an upcoming issue of Larry Flynt's Hustler magazine--was arguing in vulgar terms that my brain was awash in tiny microscopic reproductive agents.

And I thought irony was dead.

On tape, I heard her telling listeners that I'm a snotty liberal, that my liberal brain is warped by spermatozoa, and that Republican is a "curse-word" in my mouth.

"It just goes to show you that when you come from a so-called liberal point of view, you miss the point," she said. "He's just absorbed in sperm material. His mind must be consumed with spermatozoa!"

The column she despises was written in support of Rahim Azizarab. He is being denied custody of his natural son in DuPage County, ground zero of conservative GOP traditional family values.

The state child welfare bureaucracy and DuPage County Judge Elizabeth Sexton want the toddler kept with a foster family instead.

When I pointed out the hypocrisy in the GOP denying a natural father's rights, Dr. Laura surprised me by opposing the natural father and siding with the bureaucrats. She took up a partisan cudgel and attacked Rahim on her program. It was her way of defending a Republican judge at Rahim's expense.

Rahim didn't know he was a father. The mother didn't want the boy, who was born with traces of cocaine in his system.

Rahim doesn't smoke or drink or take drugs. He has a job. He might not be the ideal dad. He doesn't know from "Goodnight Moon" and "Peter Rabbit." Neither did my father.

But Rahim loves the child. And the boy is of his blood.

Judge Sexton and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will not say Rahim poses a threat to the boy. If they hinted at the slightest danger, I would never have supported him.

They insist nothing is wrong--except when Rahim calls them a bunch of liars and racist kidnappers. For punishment, they'll let the child bond with the loving foster parents until it's too late.

Conservative Republicans talk endlessly about preventing government interference between parent and child. They say it weakens the family and puts it at the mercy of bureaucrats.

It's a compelling argument, but apparently lost on Schlessinger. Instead of offering reason, though, she twisted the logic and spewed her vulgarities against Rahim and the mother. "You don't knock up a drugged-out twit . . . some drugged-out female person--I won't say woman," she said. "A guy who really wants to make children and love them marries a reasonable woman and makes babies. You don't knock up some drugged-out twit."

Her viciousness defeats her message. Yes, families are important. Marriage is the foundation of culture, and the needs of children are more important than the selfish appetites of some parents. It's called responsibility.

But when you find out you have a child who is in custody of the state, the responsible thing to do is raise your own son. Even if you're an Iranian socialist like Rahim.

"The judge put the baby in a sane, mature, married, two-parent home," Dr. Laura said. "That's family values. Not genetics. They're not nearly as important as character."

She never met Rahim, so slapping his character is ridiculous. So too is her claim that genetics aren't important. Blood is the oldest family value, the oldest responsibility and burden. Character counts, most everyone agrees.

Blood ties are blood ties. If we encourage the government to diminish their importance, what's next?

That obviously doesn't matter to Dr. Laura. Rather than think clearly, she's too busy entertaining her listeners by humiliating the poor mopes who call her show. She's become rich working while preaching angrily against moms who work and against divorce and sexual infidelity.

Years ago, she had some wild times. The nude photos were taken before she got moral. Now she's repented.

But she won't offer compassion to the "drugged-out twit." And she offers no compassion to the father who unwittingly adopts her radio mantra and wants to raise his own son.

Compassion won't excite advertisers. But it would be human.

Photographs of Dr. Laura: http://www.netzone.com/~cryptix/kat/undex.html


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