I see the Leftists in this nation, in the United States, saying a whole lot of things over and over again.
- I see them saying the Bush administration condones torture. Good. Guantanamo Bay interrogators have been accused of use of waterboarding as a form of torture — a technique prosecuted as a war crime after World War II.
- I see them calling Bush a liar. Good. He is a liar. Just a few days ago he said that the United States doesn’t engage in torture.
- I see them calling Bush corrupt. Good. His administration’s involvement in corporate scandals makes the Clinton Whitewater scandal look positively benign by contrast.
- I see them calling Bush an enemy of freedom. Good. Not since Roosevelt have we seen systematic unlawful detention of citizens that even begins to compare to what Bush’s administration has done, and not since Grant in 1870 has a US President suspended the power of a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Worse, Bush actually got such a suspension passed into law by Congress (turning a “suspension” into an “elimination”), only a few years after he signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law and his Department of Justice drafted the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (which thankfully never made it to a vote in the House).
There are dozens of further examples of these and other transgressions by the Bush Administration and its supporting Republican-dominated Congress. These could be powerful arguments against the Bush administration and the Congressional Republicans who have marched to its drumbeat. Unfortunately, the Left is full of wankers and nincompoops in this country — but then, I expect no better from people who actually think that theft and violation of one of the ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights make for good governmental policy.
The Democrats have a tendency to sabotage the effectiveness of their own message in a manner that comes off as perversely gleeful. Time and again, I have seen what starts off as a reasonable indictment of Bush policy degenerate into shrill complaints about the “international community” (or, worse, “world community”), for instance.
Here’s my hint to the anti-Bush Left in the United States: Don’t talk about the disapproval of the “international community”. Frankly, the Right doesn’t care and, as much as I disagree with the Republicans in government right now about almost everything, I agree with them that the opprobrium of the “international community” is meaningless in deciding right or wrong, no matter how unfortunate it may be that they disapprove. Right and wrong are independent of who approves or disapproves of them. If Stalin rose from the grave to grant his support to the Bill of Rights and express his disapproval of the Military Commissions Act, I’d agree with him. If Jesus’ Second Coming occurred and he brought with him a Holy Message of intolerance for people who question Bush’s policy, I’d question whether he was really the Savior, not my own beliefs on the subject of Presidential policy.
I don’t give a damn whether the “international community” disapproves of Bush. What I care about is the fact that Bush has done almost nothing in six years as President of which I can approve. In fact, at every turn he is weakening Constitutional protections of rights and liberties and attacking the foundation of what was intended to be a free society. That is what matters, not whether a bunch of Europeans and petty dictators in the UN disapprove of what he’s doing.
When you start talking about absurdities like the approval of the “international community”, you’re appealing to popularity and a false sense of authority, not to reason. Perhaps worse, even when you’re right you end up sounding like you’re wrong — and your audience starts yawning and looking for something else to do.
Sterling commented in The land of the free (soda upgrade) and the home of the brave (new world) about the apathy and willful ignorance of the United States electorate, and he’s right; a lot of people just can’t be bothered to care about the rapid erosion of the protections of their rights, as long as nobody has broken down their doors to haul them away to Guantanamo Bay (yet). I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that part of the reason they cannot be bothered to give a damn is that, simply put, many of the opponents of such violations of rights and liberties are boring them to tears with arguments that can at best be called facile and specious. Unless and until you drop the nonsense and start putting your arguments in terms about which the average citizen actually gives a damn, what you say will not only fall on deaf ears but will also make them ever more deaf to what you have to say in the future.
Every time I run across someone saying something with which I otherwise agree, but then that person says something about the disapproval of the “international community”, it becomes a real challenge to finish reading or listening with an open mind. I think the current state of politics here in the United States owes as much to the tendency of the Left to make enemies of its friends as anything else.