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May 16, 2003
Food For Thought

Via Jeff over at CoopedUp, I found this post of Jeanne D'Arc's and, aside from the part where she tried to fool herself into believing Bush meant what he said and that they had a shared value system (I never believed it), she could be writing from my brain.

I am, by nature, both optimistic and drawn to complexity and ambiguity. I see a hundred sides to every story. I've always been fascinated by people whose beliefs are very different from my own, and especially interested in why they're different, how they came to believe what they believe, and how those beliefs shape -- and, presumably, enrich -- their lives. But those are traits I'm not sure it's possible to keep up these days.
This ability to see a hundred sides to every story has helped me in my (fiction) writing, but more and more I find that it creates problems for me on the political side of life.

And, like her, I blame the Bush Administration's conniving, lying, distorting, and political aggression with a full speed ahead and damn the consequences attitude.

I've disliked other Presidents. I dislike most Presidents because I'm a liberal and even when the President has been a Democrat, he's rarely been a liberal.

But GWBush? I don't know. It's some kind of instinctive rejection that I can't put into words.

I've disliked the man since the first time I heard him speak. He struck me, on that first occasion, as insincere, ill-educated, and dishonest. For no reasons I can put my finger on, okay?

The more I got to know about him, the more my emotions moved from "dislike" to "despise." He has been an incredibly divisive President. Since the moment he took office, he's been shedding any pretense of being a bipartisan leader and trying harder and harder to shove through a personal agenda that seems to me to have little to do with the long-term well-being of this country's average citizens.


I'm going to go farther than Jeanne did.

I blame the war for the radically increased polarization of blogdom. This was such a divisive war that people who had chosen a position, for or against, found themselves almost forced into a radical defense of their own position, sometimes flying in the face of reason and facts. (And it happened on both the Right and the Left.)

Now, in the aftermath, which so far has been confused and incoherent, few if any people feel able to give up hotly defending their original position.

No matter how often the coalition forces fail to find any evidence of the hundreds of tons of WMD, those for the war now have to insist that the weapons exist. To back down now would invalidate all of the energy and emotion they invested in supporting the war.

No matter how many the mass graves or stories from civilians, those against the war now have to continue insisting that the war was unjust, illegal, and a mistake. To accept, even now that it's a fait accompli that Iraqis are happy to be rid of Hussein's reign of fear (no matter how they feel about the current USofA 'occupation', invalidates the energy and emotion they invested in opposing the war.

The post-war chaos is being cited by the Left (myself included) as evidence that the government was so over-aroused by getting their war on that they failed to plan for the most basic, and most obvious, of post-war problems.

The post-war chaos is being cited by the Right as proof that the Iraqis are the enemy, that they country is riddled with incipient terrorists, and that they're a danger to their neighbors and the rest of the world..

It doesn't matter what the event, each side can "spin" the story to suit their own agenda.

One thing I'll say is that my own, self-enforced ban on name-calling and OTT rhetoric really worked to help me regain my mental balance. Now that I'm not writing that way, I'm not thinking in those terms, and I think I'm able to approach current events in a slightly more balanced fashion. (It's not as entertaining to blog this way, though. Name-calling and telling half-truths and outright lies are easier than being calm and honest but I can't help thinking that the name-calling thing is kind of kindergarten.)

Anyhow. Getting back to my point, and I do sort of have one today. this is a huge problem for the Left. If they respond to Republican behavior in kind, then they're no better than the Republicans. I don't know how to counter emotion-laden lies except with equally emotion-laden rhetoric but the truth is frequently dull, isn't it?

The Left has an agenda and a slate of issues that even a lot of conservatives can agree with. Clean air, clean water, good education, and jobs. The question is, how would we accomplish those things in the wake of the current Administration's budget-busting tax cuts? And do any of the candidates actually believe in this agenda enough to fight for it if they wind up in the White House?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:57 AM