Well, I got some feedback on the blog from Ted, who might be named Phil. (Perhaps he’ll write back and clear that up.) At any rate, I thought I would share the dialog. I’m always interested in reader’s comments. This does sound mostly like a spleen venting, but I’m hoping there is some underlying point of view he’d like to share. Ted/Phil’s original e-mail comments appear unedited below in Sorta Brown Text
At 04:27 PM 3/8/2004 -0600, he wrote:
What disgusts me is the incessant and painfully ignorant bashing of President Bush.
I admit to being a bit relentless, but I’m curious what you find ignorant. I’m always open to learning something new if you’d care to share.
It’s not evident from the blog, but before Bush I always leaned politically toward the Republicans. While I don’t take much to the Right’s tendency to want to regulate my personal life, I like the small government, conservative spending philosophies which have defined the Republican agenda since WWII. But Bush has somehow managed to adopt traditionally Democratic fiscal policies while espousing Republican social values. So I’m not an unrepentant Republican basher. It’s just the Bush administration that scares the hell out of me.
For those of you so unrepentantly inclined, the man can’t even lead our country through one of the worst tragedies in recent memory without the acknowledgment of that fact being reduced to draping one’s self in the event.
Perhaps I didn’t express myself well here. I’m not personally disgusted. I empathize with the disgust of those personally touched by “one of the worst tragedies in recent memory”. There is a certain moral repugnance to using that event for personal gain. But this is politics as usual. Bush didn’t do anything any other politician wouldn’t have done in similar circumstances. The point of the entry had more to do with the dichotomous nature of the message he now has to sell to be reelected.
Meanwhile, the whining about being called to confront the terrorism with more than just a season of lament and cliched, tired intellectual dialogue is ridiculed by smug, know-it-alls too afraid to accept the fact that it’s real, preferring, instead I imagine, to have their reality contained in 60 minute segments of Survivor, and the Real World.
I would encourage you to dig a little deeper into the blog. I’ve never contended that the threat of terrorism wasn’t real, and certainly not out of fear. My “tired intellectual” thesis is that we went hunting mosquitoes with an elephant gun. We kicked a few elephant’s butts, but we are likely not much safer from mosquitoes. I do think that our overseas military exploits have kept the terrorists out of America as there are so many more targets abroad now. But that’s an expensive and fruitless strategy, and arguably not an intentional one by the government. I’ve never argued we should just turn the other cheek.
I would really welcome debate here if you have a line of reasoning and/or facts that suggest we are really safer now.
Thankfully, there are those who aren’t afraid. It is as it has always been. The ones not afraid to fight do so against the backdrop of the criticism of those who are thereby insuring the naysayers’ right to a voice.
I’ve also never shown anything but support for those doing the fighting. I would go myself if so called. This is not a question of patriotism or bravery, but by your logic (I think) you would claim any fight a just and noble one. To oppose a fight would be a sign of cowardice. I disagree. In many cases it requires more strength to not fight. Brute force rarely solves problems. We simply cannot eliminate terrorism through sheer and overwhelming force. There’s an appealing vengeance angle to it, but it doesn’t fix anything.
I won’t apologize for entering into intellectual dialog. I think this country needs more of that, not less. As a people we are too often swayed by emotions. We opt for what feels good and has immediate gratification. I contend it will be our undoing.