Thursday, February 26, 2004

In which the perils of posting while under the effects of sleeping pills are made clear

I get comments about my 'liberal' position on this blog every once in awhile, which surprises me, since I think the liberals suck too. In fact, I think that anyone who can sum up their relationship to life's intricately complex issues with only one or two words is not doing their job as a human, let alone as an American. I tend to decide how I feel about an issue, then go educate myself further on that issue and see if my initial viewpoint changes... and sometimes it does change. As a result, I don't fit nicely into any convenient box like "republican vs democrat" or "conservative vs liberal", and I'm pretty suspicious of people who describe their position in any such shallow and meaningless terms.

When I first saw Andrew Sullivan's website, certain buzzwords led me to classify him as a member of the conservative right... but I was in error, as his point of view is quite unorthodox and even though I disagree with him at times, I always respect his willingness to explore an issue, to challenge lazy thinking and look problems straight in the face. If everyone took their role as an American (or even as a human) as seriously as Sullivan, the world would be a very different place. (I don't know if it would be better because we'd have worked out many of humanity's issues, or because we'd have killed each other off.)

Some examples: his take on Michael Moore's new book...

I just got through Larissa MacFarquhar's obsequious and fawning piece on Michael Moore in the New Yorker. What was remarkable about the piece is that it documented dozens and dozens of clear falsehoods uttered by Moore and yet was never quite able to call them exactly that. It documented astonishing hypocrisy, human cruelty, and the most grotesque slandering of the United States and Americans in general in front of foreign audiences in a time of war, and yet couldn't even bring itself to be shocked, let alone to criticize...

...and then, along comes Sean Hannity, whose new book has the following obscene title: "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism." Why obscene? It is obscene for Hannity to purloin a sentence from the Lord's Prayer in order to advance his partisan political views. And yes, it is also obscene to equate terrorism and despotism with liberalism. Hannity isn't worthy to speak the word "liberalism," a long and complicated and deeply Western political tradition that is the only reason he can actually publish a book like this and face only criticism. To place it in the same context as "terrorism" reveals that this man has no understanding of what this war is about. It's a war in defense of liberalism, in defense of pluralism, in defense of the various peaceful Western political traditions that Islamo-fascism would snuff out in an instant.

Sullivan surprised me by sharing my viewpoint regarding commutative moral relevance:

"This moral equivalence is as disgusting when it appears on the right as it is when it appears on the left. So why is the right so quiet when it is displayed by one of their own?"

And then, of course, the real reason for me to visit his sit today - to see his comments on the constititutional amendment that threatens to set the US back about a hundred years:

The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land. Rather than allow the contentious and difficult issue of equal marriage rights to be fought over in the states, rather than let politics and the law take their course, rather than keep the Constitution out of the culture wars, this president wants to drag the very founding document into his re-election campaign. He is proposing to remove civil rights from one group of American citizens - and do so in the Constitution itself. The message could not be plainer: these citizens do not fully belong in America. Their relationships must be stigmatized in the very Constitution itself. The document that should be uniting the country will now be used to divide it, to single out a group of people for discrimination itself, and to do so for narrow electoral purposes. Not since the horrifying legacy of Constitutional racial discrimination in this country has such a goal been even thought of, let alone pursued. Those of us who supported this president in 2000, who have backed him whole-heartedly during the war, who have endured scorn from our peers as a result, who trusted that this president was indeed a uniter rather than a divider, now know the truth.

Now, you can argue this point, if you wish, and claim that we were merely guessing, but I recall pretty clearly that among my peers, not a soul trusted this president or his spawn of hell father. The joy we should be feeling at having been right about the soullessness of Bush & Co isn't there; in its stead is a fear and loathing. There are some things it just doesn't pay to be right on... it's a lose lose situation. My only hope is that this country finds some alternate course that doesn't involve us becoming the 4th Reich.

I apologize if this post is rambling... I'll clean it up when a majority of conscious brain cells has gathered.