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07 November 2008 @ 02:08 pm
Sums It Up, Really  
“We don’t need to take any shit from anyone, but we can not become the bullies we’ve hated. Or else we didn’t win anything at all.”

From Wil Wheaton's Blog, via autographedcat.

Hard for me to be part of the "we", even though I have some of the right credentials (voted against GWB both times, voted for BHO, am generally socially liberal), because I just don't identify with the Democratic-Party-When-I-Was-10 in oh, so many ways.

However, the sentiment itself is one I have said over and over and over. It is why I have been so appalled at the actions of the USA in the whole "War Against the Boogieman Terrorism" thing.

The ONLY thing no one can take away from us is our principles. If those principles include fairness, equality, and freedom, then seeking revenge through denying fairness, equality, and freedom (not to mention civil rights) means we lost - in fact, we forfeited the whole shebang. We did it to ourselves.

It is human nature to want your own back, and human nature to get angry at the newly defeated who stridently cry, "Please don't do to us what we did to you!"

But we can't go their way. Not for their sake, but for our own.

I have two seemingly contradictory bumper stickers on my mandolin case. One says, "Those who beat their swords into plowshares will soon find themselves under the yoke of those who kept their swords." The other says, "If you surrender to hate, you have already lost."

Which I think translates very well to the opening quote.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Debbie Gtollers on November 7th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
I, too, have trouble defining myself in today's political landscape.

I grew up Republican in the South, back before the Republican Party became a shill for the right-wing religious zealots. I campaigned for Senator Thad Cochran (R) and others before I was even old enough to vote, but I also respected and adored Senator John Stennis (D), who epitomized what it meant to be a true Southern gentleman and man of principle who happened to be in Congress. I treasure the conversations that I had with him, at cocktail party fundraisers and in the stands at Mississippi State football games, and thank deity that my journalism credentials gave me access and opportunities that I might not otherwise have had as a 20-something girl in Mississippi.

But the Republican Party has changed in the last 30 years, and I just can't live with the things that it stands for now on the social front. My married gay friends in San Francisco shouldn't have had to wake up on Nov. 5th feeling like second-class citizens, and none of us should have to wonder when the government is going to make it illegal to be non-Christian.

That's not to say that the Democrats don't scare me too. My old-style Republican heart says government should be tiny, taxes should be low (which they could be, if the govt. was tiny), and the government shouldn't be throwing money at every person (or industry) who whimpers. Of course, the Republican track record for actually doing what they proclaim to believe on the fiscal front isn't so good lately either, so at this point I'll take my chances on change rather than on another 4-year helping of the same cold dish.

Plus, won't it be nice to once again have a President who's articulate? To have a President who isn't the laughing-stock of the entire world? To have fresh faces (and children and, yes, a puppy!) in the White House? To put all the policy wanking aside for a moment... this is the man who will be the public face of the United States of America for at least the next four years, and we won't have to cringe every time he opens his mouth!
markbernsteinmarkbernstein on November 7th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Y'know, Bill, I think we agree on more things than either of us lets on. :) In the main, I think you have it right here.

On reading this, one quibble occurred to me right away. The truth is that neither the Democratic or Republican party is the same party as it was when either you or I was 10. As such, I don't see a lot of point in tying either party-as-it-was to current identification. Both parties have shifted to the right, and I think we both reflect that shift. You used to self-identify as a Republican, but have no use for the Presidential campaigns of that party's current incarnation. I used to self-identify as independent, but now have no hesitation at declaring myself a Democrat. This is partly because of the Grand Canyon-esque gulf between myself and the current Republican leadership, but also because the Democrats are less liberal than they used to be.

The second point of disagreement took me a couple of hours to figure out. Something here bothered me, but I had to find the right words. I think I've got it now.

In principle, the position you take here is completely correct. In practical application, it's half correct. For I, and many like me, spent years being dismissed and trivialized, being called irrational, even crazy, and being derided and ignored. And we've had to watch helplessly as this administration betrayed so many of the principles we regard as bedrock, as they took this country down paths that once would have been unthinkable. And that brings out feelings that can't just be waved away.

Bottom line is this: I absolutely agree that it would be wrong to act out of anger. I will make every effort to eschew gloating, to resist any temptation to deride those who disagree with me, to stick to rational discourse, to take the high road. But while I will do my best to not *act* out of anger, I will defend my right to *be* angry.
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on November 7th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
The truth is that neither the Democratic or Republican party is the same party as it was when either you or I was 10. As such, I don't see a lot of point in tying either party-as-it-was to current identification.

That is certainly the case, and if I analyze my own voting patterns over the last 15 years or so they are rather overwhelmingly Democratic. Doesn't stop me from having trouble applying the label, particularly when I feel like there are still people in the Republican party who could take it back. Fewer and fewer as the years go by, unfortunately, but there you go.

Bottom line is this: I absolutely agree that it would be wrong to act out of anger. I will make every effort to eschew gloating, to resist any temptation to deride those who disagree with me, to stick to rational discourse, to take the high road. But while I will do my best to not *act* out of anger, I will defend my right to *be* angry.

Which I didn't really address (it's the acting I'm concerned about), but the original blog entry expresses that sentiment well and I agree with it.
The Cajun Gypsythatcrazycajun on November 7th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Is it bullying or "becoming the enemy" to demand that there be payment for crimes committed, a reckoning for the damage done, an accounting?

For the thousands dead in Iraq, both ours and theirs, solely for the self-aggrandizement of one man, the lust for empire of his advisors and the lust for oil wealth of his friends in industry?

For the thousands who died in New York, Washington and in a Pennsylvania cow pasture on 9/11, who have lain unavenged for seven years while the chief architect of their murders remains at large?

For the uncountable millions of pregnant women around the world who have died or suffered unimaginably because of this administration's regressive approach to federally-funded family planning (the "Mexico City" policy)?

For the hundreds imprisoned and tortured unjustly, without charges or due process, at Abu Ghraib and at Guantanamo Bay -- in the latter case, some even after they were told they'd been cleared and would get to go home?

For the millions of innocent American citizens who found their phone calls and e-mails spied upon, their freedom of speech curtailed and their pasts investigated by an administration that demanded untrammeled liberty for itself alone?

For the dozens of US attorneys fired because they saw the conflict between their consciences and duty and their boss' demand that they abuse their authority to prosecute for political reasons alone?

For the thousands who died in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in my home state and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, because this administration considered the wiping out of them and their homes merely divinely-sent urban renewal?

This isn't merely a case of "wanting our own back" or a desire to deliver tit-for-tat. This is retribution, the justice that the dead, injured and mistreated demand, that prevention of a recurrence of such abuses absolutely requires. Now that (one hopes) saner, cooler, more righteous heads have prevailed, the ones they displaced must roll.
Bill Suttonbedlamhouse on November 12th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Well-reasoned prosecutions for clear legal violations is the "not taking shit from anyone" part.

Show trials of a single party in the House and Senate (or, worse, The Hague) for chains of error and stupidity involving both parties would be the "bullying" part.
wyld_dandelyon: dragon readingwyld_dandelyon on November 7th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
"War Against the Boogieman..."

Hmm...in copying this, I lost your strikeout. Don't know how to fix it. *grumble* Anyway--

I think you hit the nail on the head. IMHO, "Bogeyman" is very much an accurate term. One of my big objections to the Republican Party as it has behaved most of my adult life is that they have based much of their campaigning and public policy on rhetoric against one bogeyman or another; up until 911, these bogeymen were American citizens who mostly wanted to just live their own lives, seek happiness in their own way, and make their own decisions. Targets have included, but aren't limited to, hippies; cancer and glaucoma patients (and other users); women who want control over their own bodies; old and sick people who want to choose how and when they die; doctors who want to assist either of the last two categories of people; people who want to marry for love instead of gender; real and imagined witches; and, in one place or time or another, just about anyone else who is not, in their opinion, a "real" American.

I'm very tired of this "bogeyman" tactic--demonizing some category of people, and then using that negative (and often highly inaccurate) characterization to rile up and scare voters. Although no political party is exempt from any particular sin, including this one, this tactic has been constantly present in the Republican repertoire.

I'm also very tired of hearing myself or my friends demonized as the bogeyman! (I don't personally know people who fit all of the categories that Republicans have demonized, but I know (or have known) and deeply care about people who fit into most of the categories I mention above.)

I'd have been much less interested/involved in politics, I think, if naming bogeymen, and using the fear of said bogeymen to justify changing and re-interpreting laws to take Americans' civil rights away (escalating to the current administration violating the Constitution and blatantly breaking the laws meant to protect us), wasn't such a prevalent political theme these past 3 decades.

It would be much more fun to write stories, sing songs, and paint pictures, after all.