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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Further Comments

I finally have the time to comment on the dialogue going on down at the Black Day post below. Both sides have made good points, and if it were simply a case of black and white, we wouldn’t be having such a discussion. However, I firmly and always will come down on the side of the left.

I’ll not address particular points because they have been articulately discussed by those commenting. But let me say something about the reaction of the left to the election. Many people—both here and in the media that I still manage to read—have commented on the “poor loser” ethos of liberal responses to Bush winning a second term. They, like one of the comments at “Black Day,” point out that they reacted much better during the Clinton years, and why can’t we be more like our candidate who offered a nice concession speech and departed quietly.

Here is why we will not just accept what happened. For a great many of the left, this administration does not merely represent a different path toward the future, but a full scale turn toward disaster (or not merely a turn but now fully in the car wreck). For us, voting Republican in the 2004 the national election was the equivalent of voting Democrat in 1856. We see the actions of the past four years as clearly bad for the country. And I do mean clearly. In so many categories—environmental, international relations, energy policies, civil rights, social programs, the very structure of government—this administration has taken a divisive, exploitive and manipulative stance. In many ways, the decisions of the populace baffles us because so many things do not seem points on which reasonable people would disagree.

Similarly, the stakes are remarkably high. Certainly putting soldiers at risk, unnecessarily, was a terrible move. But as I’ve mentioned before, I can see why people might believe that the end result of Iraq II could be for the betterment of humanity.

{digression: worth noting is that nearly every frickin’ justification for the Iraq war now given by the right relies upon the notion that the Iraq people are free and they have a shot—maybe a long shot—but a shot at democracy. I might value these justifications if that had been the STATED reason for going after Hussein. If Bush et. al. had said, “This is a tyranny that is an affront to all that is universally good, and we must act and act now to prevent the further abuse of the Iraqi people.” Instead, we were sold a lie that we were in immanent danger of attack. Now that that justification has been obliterated, the right marches out the flag of democracy and waves it even more vigorously than the bloody shirt. Such blatantly political—I’ll say it, sure—flip-flopping by the right will make it damn difficult to convince me that this wasn’t a cynical drive to an unneeded war.}

But the loss of our rights, the even more rapid widening of the gap between rich and poor, and the absolute devastating attacks on the environment put our world, our country, our communities and our persons at risk. To further my analogy of the country at ante-bellum, the left should and hopefully will find our Thoreau, our Garrison, our Stowe, and hopefully it doesn’t come down to finding our John Brown.

{Another digression: During the Clinton years, I was fond of quoting Thomas Frank that we had entered a new Gilded Age. I hope my analogy to ante-bellum America isn’t quite so accurate as his about the end of the 19th century. Those who fail to study the past are doomed to repeat it.}


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with your post, Scott, is that you sound educated, like you've read all kinds of books. You even quote Santayana at the end. We all know that Americans can't trust smart people, especially ones that majored in English. Damned intellectuals -- they are so out of touch with the real world.

Stop reading those history books, will ya? I think it's so much better just to plow ahead in ignorance. That's what my conservative friends tell me.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, I was quite willing to attack Clinton while he was in office because I didn't like his environmental record either. Sure, the environmental record of the Bush administration is so atrocious that it makes look Clinton look like the environmental president, but Clinton actually had the worst environmental policies up until Bush. For me it's not about being Republican or Democrat. It's about politicians who look ahead only four years and are completely willing to destroy the earth we live on because they are catering to those who contribute big money to their campaigns. We need to figure out how to change the system so that politicians have to look ahead for generations instead of months or years.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Environmental issues are the one area where a take a hard turn to the left. That last comment was very well stated. The old axiom of "follow the money" is ALWAYS true in politics. My personal opinion is that neither party really gives a damn about the environment.

With regards to all of the "stop reading books" comments as a reaction to BD's postings. I believe what he trying to get across was the need to get out and experience things for yourselves. Books are great, but we also learn through interacting with people and other life experiences.

If I went overboard with my baiting comments, I apologze. I was attempting to get people to defend there positions, to provoke a debate. I'm simply trying to get people to understand that our problems need to be studied from many viewpoints before they can be solved. - Tater Salad (aka Dan)

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make one infuriating assumption, Tater Dan. You seem to be implying, here and all through your other postings, that liberals think the way they do because they are closed-minded and don't look at BOTH SIDES of the philosophical political divide. If they would only find some way to pry open their closed little minds, by getting out of books and living life for real in the actual busy world, then they would eventually have to come to see that they have been wrong. I don't know if you're really an arrogant person or not, but your assumptions read that way. Liberals in fact live their lives out in the world too, and they are in fact very much aware of the Republican philosophy and agenda and the theory underlying it--that's exactly why we're so baffled, frightened and infuriated. We've read enough History and Literature to recognize the same old ruthless drive towards power, wealth and control, and we've chosen in our lives to reject those things because of the woe we've seem them cause all through history, and now we've learned critical thinking skills enough to see "moral values" and flag waving for the hypocritical posturing it really is. This posturing hides what we reject. The inisidious thing that we see is that many right-siders are good people who mean well but have been duped. Bush is the same old, same old--same old shit. If he functions in a country that won't let him push his agenda as far as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ghengis Khan, etc. (he certainly won't be able to get near that far in this country) it's not a quality of his politics, it's only that his politics are limited in quantity, and maybe his problem is that he lacks the diabolical imagination (likely) to push it that far. This would be to his credit, of course. But it is still most certainly the direction in which he leans. But anyway, when you tell me to go learn about the world before I make so bold as to comment on it in a way you don't agree with, my response is naturally going to tend towards something along the lines of "Go f*** yourself. How dare you make such an assumption about me and what I've known and experienced?" And by the way, when you (or whoever said it--sorry, I haven't looked quite that closely--somebody did) suggest that we should take our heads out of our books and go experience the world in order to know it more thoroughly, well, you just make yourself look ignorant, and believe me, that's not just a stance held by liberals. Ranting on...

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct. That assumption does sound arrogant and I'm definately wrong to have made it. I think the reason that I do this is because I started off as a liberal but gradually moved to conservative ideology. I guess I just expect others to make the same transition. Let me explain this a little.
We were kinda poor and I had to work to pay my own way through college so I learned self reliance. That's when I started to doubt the wisdom of programs like welfare. While I know that people may need a helping hand from time to time I can't understand making it a way of life.
When I graduated and started working for Ford, I worked for over 9 years in an assembly plant. I had a front row seat to the greed and corruption of the UAW. I still think that this union along with the incompetance of our overpaid upper management is main reason that we will not have a domestic auto industry in this country in the future.
I also had a side job working as a race mechanic for a wealthy businessman. I learned from him how a small business works and I started to understand why "tax cuts for the rich" are a good thing. You know what this guy did with his tax cut from the Reagan years ? He bought more trucks, expanded his business and put more people to work. I learned that rich people aren't necessarily bad people.
Switching gears, I find it really ironic that I look at liberal thinkers as really nice people who've been duped by the Democrats ! I read Scott's opening comments and thought "Oh, my God, I think the same thing but about his side !!" That's hilarious !!
I really do think that Bush is on the right track on a lot of things. I think a democratic Iraq will change the Mideast for the better. I'm glad that he didn't cave to the French and the UN. I think that tax cuts are a good thing because it's our money they are spending. The list goes on and on. As an aside, I thought that Kerry was a phony who would say anything to get elected.
Lastly, I didn't write or agree with the book reading comment. I love to read (as you know I've read four books) and wish I had more time to devote to it. Books are clearly the greatest invention in the history of the world. Although Las Vegas remains man's crowning achievement. - Dan

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for that comment about "caving in" to the French--What??--I'm willing to let you off, Tater. You seem like a nice guy. But then comes that line about Las Vegas being humankind's crowning achievement. Well, hopefully you're joking. I been there--passed through on a family vacation back in my 20s. Blech! It's a tremendous glittering monument to the venal and vulgar stupidity of the human race. Fie on Las Vegas! It's just too bad the cynical conservatives have co-opted the "moral values" thing and perverted it so ruthlessly, 'cause we could certainly apply it here. Las Vegas is the conservative's idea of entertainment, no doubt about it--cynical, greedy, booze-soaked, glittering and blinding lights masking criminality, organized graft and power, shallow manipulative sex, oh...and murder. Ceasar's Palace is founded on the duped wealth of broke and broken fools. (Hey,this blog-postig stuff is really getting to be a lot of fun. I've never done this before, really, and I'm starting see the appeal...) Every moron who visits Las Vegas arrives 1) to have his treasure stolen, 2) to develop a drunken headache, 3) to contract good stinging case of clap. And while he's there wasting his cash, some gleeful vicious gangster is counting out vast piles of poker chips, greasing back his hair, and plotting how to rub out his next rival. This is who you are and what you support on a trip to Vegas... (Thanks, Tater, I feel better now. Just don't get me started on Vegas's sugary doppelganger, the Disney machine...Scott, you hate Disney too, like a good thinking liberal should, don't you?)
Ranted out for nowl...

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, that was a joke but I was amazed that they could build something like that in the middle of a desert. From an engineering standpoint, it's quite a feat. From an entertainment standpoint, not so much...


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