Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Saturday, September 04, 2004

How Divided ARE We?

In Democrat Meltdown below I state that the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" will go nuts when/if George Bush wins re-election, but what exactly does that mean? How deeply divided are we as a nation? How angry are the two sides?

Apparently the answer is "pretty deep, and damned angry." And there's more to it, it seems to me. There's a significant contingent of the Left that is self-delusional. Here's just one example from Blog for Arizona the ex-Dean, now Kerry/Edwards blog for my state. It's a commentary post on Bush's acceptance speech. Here it is in its entirety:

43 Minutes of Sheer Wisdom

That is how Bush characterized his own nomination speech hours before delivering it to the nation. Ughh. More like 43 minutes of excuses for poor performance and appeals to overlook all his failures and hope that he can measure up in the future. Even as his own Secretary of State is admitting the Administration's grand failures (as if it weren't obvious), Bush speaks of spreading Democracy and justice across the Middle East. Even in the face of rising poverty, the worst job creation record since Hoover, and falling median wages, Bush is claiming victory for his economic program, i.e. tax cuts, and demanding we go further with that failed experiment. Like the spoiled ne'er-do-well he is, he boldly asked the nation to judge his first term, not on what he did, but what he says he intended, and what he says he hopes for in the future.

The short commercial that the The Daily Show created for Bush,
"Because he says so" perfectly sums up Bush's assertion over substance approach to governance. When you combine this sheer contempt for Americans' intelligence with the personal animosity displayed by Cheney and, especially, Zell Miller, we may be seeing the begining of Bush's final, and long-overdue political melt-down. In the end, the only wisdom conveyed by Bush last night is that of not electing him, or anyone associated with his Administration, to a position of leadership in America ever again.
Really? Powell acknowledges "the administration's grand failures"? He said they underestimated the strength of the insurgency. Obviously the author has never heard the truism "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." And that is ONE admission, not plural. So far on the Foreign Policy front, that's the only error I've seen, and I can accept it because of the uncertainty of war. Next, "the face of rising poverty"? What planet is this guy on? And "Bush's final, and long-overdue political melt-down"? That's one example of self-delusion.

Certainly we can go trade blog pieces, op-ed columns, and "straight-news" reports (that might as well be op-ed columns) for days, each "proving" the other's position - but that's the point. This country is more divided than I've ever seen it. People who are normally restrained - on both sides - are literally fighting mad.

Take, for example, this Chicago Tribune piece, Republican Nazis? by Charlie Madigan. Excerpt:

Union Square was packed with protesters, thousands of them, everything from gay guys urging the nation to ban marriage between Republicans to sad war vets carrying cardboard coffins to chipper women pretending they were convention delegates from the state of despair, debt, occupation, on and on.

And in one tiny spot amid the cacophony of protest stood a skinny woman and her skinny friend selling black Tee shirts. They carried a swastika on the front and the legend "Vote Republican."

If you cut right down to the dark heart of what has been unleashed in this mean-spirited presidential contest, that's what you find, someone who thinks that voting Republican makes you a modern-day Nazi. It better not get any more toxic than this, or Canada is going to start looking magnetically attractive to a lot of peace-loving people.
Then there's the over-the-top attack by "poet" Molly Birnbaum (that you won't hear on ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.):
"Imagine a way to erase that night four years ago when you (President Bush) savagely raped every pandemic woman over and over with each vote you got, a thrust with each state you stole," Birnbaum said from the podium.
On the other hand, the militants - on both sides - are waiting anxiously for the battle to start. Denizens of the left are counciling rebellion on their message boards if/when Bush wins. Many on the right wing boards are chanting "bring it on."

Trust me, there's a bunch of people out there eager for it.

Da Goddess reports, for example, that at a recent protest, one protester smashed a car windshield of a counter-protester with his bare hands. Someone in Huntington Alabama fired a shot into GOP headquarters there. NYC got off lightly, I think, only because of the massive police presence. And massive arrests. However, there is evidence of blatant violation of freedom of speech going on in this campaign, and it appears to be one-sided. For example, the case of lawyer/protester Frank Van den Bosch who won $12,000 in a lawsuit for illegal arrest. All he was doing was holding a protest sign at a small-town Bush appearance. Sorry, folks, but arresting him is wrong. Of course the "Police State" found in favor of him, and awarded him $12k, but on the other hand, he's a lawyer. Joe and Jane Bushater might not get the same judgement. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune had a recent op-ed on just this topic. If you believe in what America stands for, this should trouble you. And if you're a protester, this must anger you.

Yet it's blindingly obvious that if the Left were in charge, they'd be possibly more blatant in shutting down the voice of the opposition, and it's even more apparent that the Left - in charge of the dead-tree and broadcast media - is doing its damnedest to make sure Mainstream America hears only what they want it to hear. (And it's failing to control the information flow.)

I'm beginning to get an understanding of what Americans in the North felt like after the start of the Civil War when Lincoln was violating the Constitution in his effort to save the Union. You begin to ask the question, "Is it worth it?" Will we be the same nation, or at least one worthy of the name, of our history, when we come out the other side?

And then I look at the greatest division between us - the recognition of what's going on in the world around us. The Left is still protesting "No Blood for Oil" - though we're not stealing any. They're still protesting our "illegal" invasion of Iraq, though it was resumption of the previous Gulf War, at a minimum justified by Saddam's violations of the cease-fire agreement. (Yes, that's a very simplistic explanation, but this essay is more than long enough as it is.) If you want to see self-delusion, you need only look at the news from Russia, and the reaction of the Left (more appeasement.) Or the old-media coverage of the RNC, and the reaction of the Left.

We are engaged in World War IV against an enemy that we cannot negotiate with, that we cannot defeat economically - as we did the Soviet Union - that we will not bring to a desk on the deck of a battleship for the signing of surrender terms. They want us converted, enslaved, or dead. Instapundit linked yesterday to David Kaspar's viciously satirical Liberal Guide to Better Understanding Freedom Fighters, then Leftist blogger Matt Yglesias illustrated that Kaspar's satire, wasn't. (And yes, Matt, I clicked the link and read the whole post. "The situation, clearly, can only be resolved by Russian concessions on the underlying political issue in Chechnya" is precisely what you wrote.)

Part of this country recognizes the threat. A large part of the country doesn't. Most, because they just don't look, but a significant portion because they refuse to. That's cognitive dissonance. "It doesn't work, but we can't be wrong, so keep doing the same thing over and over only harder."

We were last divided as a country like this over the Vietnam war. One Presidential candidate is running - apparently exclusively - on his four months of combat service in that war, holding that service up as "defending the nation." Yet he himself came back from Vietnam and stated that Vietnam held no threat to the United States. He dismissed the threat of the spread of Communism, which, during the decades of World War III - the Cold War - we defeated even with our loss in Vietnam. Does he, too, see the threat of militant Islamic fundamentalism as the non-threat the Left believed Communism to be? The Left in the 60's wanted to embrace communism as the savior of mankind, but that didn't work. Do they now want to embrace Islam as that savior? Or do they believe appeasement will keep the radicals content?

I don't believe that the Right (for want of a better term) has all the answers. I don't think our leadership walks on water or is infallible, or even isn't corrupt. I don't think, honestly, that you can reach national levels of power and not be corrupt or corrupted by it. The difference seems to be that the Right believes that commerce is a good, not an evil. That free people make better trading partners than those under tyrannical thumbs. That trade is better than war, but that war is sometimes necessary, where the Left thinks we all ought to just "share." Which brings me to a quote from Thomas Sowell:
The left takes its vision seriously -- more seriously than it takes the rights of other people. They want to be our shepherds. But that requires us to be sheep.
That's what Wahabist Islam wants of us as well. They want us to be sheep. Sheep who obey their god. Or sheep to be slaughtered.

I am hopeful that the moonbat left represents only a tiny minority of the population, but honestly, it's difficult to tell.

I think we're going to find out in November.

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