Sunday, December 11, 2005

Confronting the faults of "us"

Earlier today, I had an interesting interchange with a Canadian reader about my earlier post "How would Jesus guide public policy?" He's a serious Christian, and so he disagreed with some of my positions. Fair enough. The key point is that he did so in a respectful fashion: "I disagree with X because of Y," rather than "I disagree with everything because you're a 反感可怕的愚蠢人!" All too often, debates on issues of public significance drop below the level of 8-year-olds in a sandbox. One of the issues on which he challenged me, I'll openly admit was a statement I made that strained credulity: I said that it wasn't clear that Jesus would support outlawing abortion altogether, but I didn't explain my reasoning for making such an outlandish claim. My point, which I clarified in my reply to the comment, was that although Jesus would clearly view abortion in general as a sin, it's not clear that Jesus would support a blanket ban as a matter of civil law. (In particular, how would Jesus weigh the life of the unborn child against the life and health of the mother? I think you sell short Jesus' compassion if you argue that he would wholly disregard any risk to the mother.)

That sort of dialog is what I'm aiming for in this blog. [After all, it's only 13 km from Eston to Madison, Saskatchewan.] I think that the Democratic Party is delusional if it thinks it can win by as narrow a margin as Bush held onto power in 2004 and then hold that power base together in the face of something other than "Bush is terrible! We have to stop him!," then the Democratic Party is downright delusional. We need to be seeking dialog leading to some form of consensus. We also need to call out our own on their bull-두엄, not just the folks on the other side. I intend to call shenanigans on the Republicans and the Democrats; the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Bloc Kay-bay-kwah, and the NDP, and maybe even the independent from Nunavut (ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) if his or her behaviour warrants it; and the Tories, Labour, and RESPECT. I shall suffer no fools or cowards, neither as allies nor as opponents.

I've written about how dangerous it can be for a country or its leaders to try to ignore the nation's mistakes, past and present. I don't take personal responsibility for slavery, but I do take personal responsibility for acknowledging that the social effects caused by slavery and its aftermath have not yet fully dissipated. I believe that in World War II, we did the right thing for the right reasons; in Korea, we did the right thing for the wrong reasons; and in Vietnam and in Iraq we did/are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. The incompetent civilian leadership of the Iraq war serves the interests of neither the Iraqis nor the American people, but it does seem to be doing a remarkable job of serving the interests of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. If that's not the President's intention, then why does he continue to do things that have foreseeable benefits for his supposed enemies?

On the Democratic Party's side, though, we have a legion of milquetoasts, afraid to challenge a once-popular President, even when his poll numbers are hovering between Freddie Krueger and John Jamelske. We mustn't even talk about pulling out of the futile and suicidal adventure in Iraq, because that would be unpatriotic. We mustn't talk about George W. Bush's many failures of leadership, failures of candor, and lapses of ethics, because that would be disloyal to our Commander in Chief during a war of choice. Why on earth would anyone who isn't already in the choir, ever come to hear you preach? Your strategy for regaining power in the United States is about as effective as counting on being greeted as liberators with the oil revenue to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq.

I want George W. Bush to be honest and admit his mistakes. I want John Kerry to be honest and admit his mistakes; to his credit, he now openly and unambiguously says that, knowing what he knows now, his vote for the Iraq authorization to use force was a mistake. I want Tony Blair to be honest and admit that he was either crazy or corrupt to go along with Bush. I want Pat Robertson to be honest and admit not only that was he wrong to call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, but that he is completely unfit to call himself a Christian minister. I want the Japanese government to admit that it started World War II in the Pacific as a war of aggression and that its soldiers engaged in brutally inhumane treatment of military prisoners and civilians, including torture, murder, and rape. I want the Democrats to wake up and figure out that the way we take power is that we get the nation to understand that our collective future depends on getting rid of George Bush. I want the Democrats to wake up and take a real stand on the issues of torture, taxation, terrorism vs. civil liberties, and tolerance vs. self-righteousness. To borrow an advertising phrase, innw? (If Not Now When?)