Friday, May 06, 2005

Dobson, Linkletter and Mickey Mouse (Opening Day)

Whoops!! Lions and tigers and bears, O MY!! Looks like we’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Fact is, ya just can’t believe anything you read anymore. Even here in the “emmes!” Fineman wrote in Newsweek and I quoted here that James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” is getting involved in politics for the first time, and had avoided this until now. Wrong! Leave it to my favorite watchdog group, Media Matters for America, to set the record straight.

In 1983, Dobson founded the Washington-based Family Research Council to lobby Congress and the executive branch, and to act as a political advocate for conservative Christian causes. A decade later, Dobson was one of the founders of Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organization pressing conservative causes through the courts. Dobson has weighed in publicly not only on high-profile issues such as abortion, but on more esoteric matters as well; for instance, in 1988, he and other conservative activists urged (PDF, p. 19) President Reagan to veto a bill supporting the Legal Services Corporation, which funds public defenders, unless funding for the organization was slashed. Dobson also has hosted many Republican politicians on his radio show.

Though Focus on the Family is a nonprofit 501(c)3
organization, its heavy involvement in policy and political issues is obvious from its website, which loudly denounces "judicial tyranny" and stem cell research, while advocating state and federal constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Focus on the Family also has 34 affiliated "state councils," which conduct similar advocacy on the state level. Dobson has issued several warnings to the Republican Party to cater to evangelical voters or risk losing their support; in 1995, he wrote a letter to the then-chairman of the Republican Party, Haley Barbour, saying in part, "Remember, 43 percent of your voters last November came from evangelical Christians. ...Losing only 5 percent of them could prove fatal in 1996" [Kansas City Star, 5/16/95].
…Dobson's involvement in politics goes back more than two decades.

Now about Mickey Mouse, who was also mentioned here yesterday. The 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland opened yesterday in Anaheim including many celebrities among whom was Art Linkletter, also a functionary at the original opening day in 1955. I was 5 years old at that time watching, from my home in Connecticut, ABC publicize Disneyland. It became my childhood dream to go there. Little did I imagine that I would be employed by Walt Disney Studios and have a free pass to go to Disneyland anytime I felt like it. Also, little did know how warped and sinister was the mind behind the pleasant visage of the grandfatherly man I loved on TV, Walt Disney.

I had heard enough of the hearsay stories from old-time workers on the Disney Studio lot in Burbank, and read some of the unauthorized tomes about his life and attitudes, to realize that the work and output of his genius had to be divorced from his character in order to appreciate and enjoy the result. Often we must ignore the person behind the monument in order to accept the higher aims of which humanity is capable, rather than dwell on the sordid qualities of the individual.

According to the stories, Walt was abused as a child, had anti-Semitism instilled in his bones, drank too much, was a tyrannical boss who underpaid his employees, and more. His early classic animated features were terrifying for little children, with one touchstone moment being the killing of Bambi’s mother as a permanent element of insecurity to add to the developing human mind. Little boys turning into jackasses in Pinocchio wasn’t fop the faint of young hearts either. Just as much as I know the great German composer Wagner was an overbearing obnoxious bigot who wrote the greatest operas which express the finest attributes of humanity, so do I love to go to Disneyland and watch the expressions on children’s faces as they experience the ultimate fantasy world. Ironic, and I believe it doesn’t hurt to know the truth.

This brings me to Art Linkletter, whose TV shows “House Party” and “Kids say the Darndest Things” were my favorite shows as a kid. As with Dobson and Disney, Linkletter has a very likeable TV personality which belies his arch right-wing hostile viewpoint. Linkletter co-Chairs the non-profit USA Next, a conservative activist group for seniors. The head with Linkletter, Charles Jarvis, is a former executive vice president of Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based organization run by—remember?--James Dobson.

“I stand fearlessly for small dogs, the American Flag, motherhood and the Bible. That's why people love me” –Art Linkletter

"I know the president very well. I have visited with him, well, many times — well, once."—Linkletter on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes

Although both USA Next reps and the White House deny that they are working jointly on reforming Social Security, Jarvis affirms: “We know the people at the White House agree with us and we agree with them.” Jarvis has publicly stated his group’s intention to devote at least $10 million to the effort.—Right Web

Here’s a Biblical reference these guys would understand:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves—Matthew 7:15

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