Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why I Worry

Here's part of an email forwarded to me by a conservative friend:

....And now we are being told by many so-called Conservatives that we need to wish (perhaps even pray) for Obama's success as our 44th president. Watching the hoards of uneducated Democrats and Liberals at the pre-immaculate inauguration festivities reminds me of the ease it is to take cattle to slaughter... They are all so stupid and so happy as they are lead down the "chute" to a comfy warm building... We will see a million+ "happy" (but freezing) cows at the "mall" tomorrow. I don't think they will show the tens of thousands lined up at the frozen "porta potties". .... Does one have to support Obama and company to be a patriot? (I don't think so. But I also know a Civil War II will be needed to explain it to the Secular/Progressive/Liberals).

Here's a "Malkin Award" candidate from Andrew Sullivan's blog:

"When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand. That's why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state. It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign. I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God's," - Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.

And from the Platonic Ideal of right-wing hatred, Rush Limbaugh:

"... I hope he fails... See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say... Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."

(Amusing, isn't it, at one level: for the past eight years, right wingers have claimed "patriotism" and "love of country" exclusively as their own. Evidently, when their hated liberals show the same, they're like a kid without his security blanket. And liberalism got us here? Really? Tax cuts and unregulated markets? Cut back on the percocet, Rush.)

This is the level of discourse I see from much of the right, even in many of the comments on this blog. And I edited the more offensive of it.

I can understand why some people have issues with, for example, the bailout funds and the enormous spending Obama is proposing. Some think it's too little, some too much. Contra the opinions of the great majority of economists from all ends of the spectrum, some believe it's altogether unnecessary (which strikes me as like those who deny man's role in climate change, or evolution.) People disagree over Iraq. It's possible to argue those points of view in a way that adds value to the discourse. But, as we see here, it's possible to argue in such a way as to add only invective and polarization.

To pray that Obama fails is to pray that our country fails. Two wars, crashing economy, environment at risk, schools failing, inadequate health care for tens of millions; how can anyone argue otherwise? As clear as he's made it that he claims no authorship of any good ideas from anywhere, as much as he's reaching out to all people, failure won't be President Obama's: it'll be ours.

Some people, it appears to me, are simply unable to grasp the idea of leadership that includes everyone, so ingrained has hyperpartisanship become. These so-called patriots literally can't conceive of any other way, and even when it stares them in the face, they have no basis on which to respond other than blind rage; common purpose isn't now nor ever has been in their lexicon. Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage, O'Reilly, Boehner, Kristol, Hewitt, and those that revere them: In their hate-filled narrowness, they literally have not the means even to recognize what they are doing, any more than a bug knows its mortality. It's not in their DNA.

If in times like these, of all times, some people are still unable to rise above crotch-level thinking, reflexively deriding entire groups because they know no other way; if people can't see, now as rarely before, that it really WILL take a sense of shared destiny, then when? No one can expect, facing such horrendous issues, to have his/her ideas fully realized in national policy. No group can demand 100% of its agenda be accepted. Everyone will need to give, and give up something. The answers lie not at either of the far ends of the spectrum.

So far, the evidence suggests that Barack Obama might well be up to the tasks that face us. The unanswered question is, are we? And, how many people like those above will it take to drag us all down?


Anonymous said...

President Obama also spoke in code today. He, in fact, took dead aim at dead eye and W. I think he scored a bullseye, and I think that he'll be all over obstructionism and those who try to undermine him. What say you?

Sid Schwab said...

I don't think it was code: I think it was a surprisingly clear statement of what must and will change, where he breaks from the policies of the past eight years.

As to success with dealing with obstructionism, time will tell. I think it will depend in large part on the extent to which it's clear the electorate stays with him.

gay CME guy said...

The only one it was code for was likely, "W", as he's too obtuse or pathological to recognize himself in Obama's speech.

George Smiley said...

It was not code for people who are moderately literate and hence capable of parsing spoken and written American English. It probably was code for the median person in the 27% of Americans remaining who support Bush.

SeaSpray said...

You write so well Dr S. Are you ever coming back to Surgeonsblog?

I am a conservative and I do wish him well and success.

I hated how Bush was booed and chanted at and given the finger. That was so low class and was just wrong at an inauguration.

I can understand if they withhold applause because of disapproval, but to behave so disrespectfully was just wrong. He was still our president and whether agree or vehemently disagree... I think respect and honor are important.

I would NEVER do that to President Obama at the inauguration. Shoot..I wouldn't do it period. And I would never say the vile hateful things I have read/heard in various places.

Classof65 said...

Thank you.

mark's tails said...

Sid, well written as usual.

Seaspray, if there were more people like you on both sides of the argument we might have a chance at compromise and solutionms rather than divisiveness.

Sadly, and as I am sure you are aware, there are hateful and spiteful people on both sides of politics as well. i.e. People calling Obama a terrorist and the death threats shouted at the McCain Rallies.

Sili said...

"the hoards of uneducated Democrats and Liberals"

Someone needs to give this guy a reality check about the educational level of the Republan 'base'.

Actually - what you describe is indeed unbridled Liberalism - European style.

SeaSpray said...

Marks tails - I agree with you. (I love your picture! :)

I do think it has been more vicious against Bush for 8 years. Maybe that is my bias.

I was just reading about the lawsuit by a military photographer against Michael Moore for unauthorized use of the photographer's photo of an American soldier rescuing a bloody little girl from where a car bomb went off. She died later.

Mr Moore put the pic on his site as the header and intimated this happened to her because of the American soldiers when they were the ones rescuing her.

This is really upsetting because these soldiers are putting their lives on the line and he is lying about them and then people believe HIM and so more hate is generated.

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