This very long post disappeared on me twice while I wrote it, causing me to re-write it, twice. Untold grief. If it reads a trifle rough, please excuse that. And damn all computers.
This is long, but I hope worth reading:
In Part I of what it appears will be a three-part carry-on, I wrote:
And by the way, the press has noticed what sets you off, and they’ve been playing to your heat, and you’ve been responding to their bell-ringing like Pavlovian dogs, too.
Big Lizards, along a similar vein wrote:
Nowadays, it seems that whenever President Bush says or does anything, conservatives hunt like crazy for the most disreputable, disloyal, and cowardly possible interpretation — then cling to it like a sick kitten to a warm brick, even when perfectly reasonable (and much more likely) interpretations are available.
This must be a relative of the normal Bush Derangement Syndrome, or BDS, suffered by lefties; Bush Betrayal Syndrome (BBS), perhaps. It is rapidly becoming an epidemic among American conservatives…
Sufferers of Bush Betrayal Syndrome are easy to spot – they are the ones who continually repeat, “Bush Betrayed Us. I Feel So Betrayed! He Betrayed Us!”
I’m one of the few lucky ones, I suppose, because I have never felt betrayed by Bush. He is, still, the same guy he was when I voted for him. You knew, by the way, that George W. Bush favored eventual naturalization for illegal immigrants. He said it when he was Governor of Texas. He said it when you elected him in 2000, and again when you voted him in again in 2004. Then, in 2005, you said, “fix the long-standing immigration problem and fix it immediately, perfectly and exactly as we tell you to.” (C’mon, you know that’s what you said!) And when Bush responded, “but I’ve been really thinking about this issue since ‘way before I was president – even back when you weren’t thinking about it – and I disagree with your solution and here is why,” and you cried “betrayal.”
But the thing is, you’ve been crying “betrayal” since he nominated Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS. Big Lizard is quite correct in that there seems to be, almost, an impulse to look for betrayal, even when none is there.
For a while now, and really, since shortly after the 2004 election, I have gotten emails from folks who say, “Bush forgot that you have to dance with the one that brung you.” They’ve been sending me that message for so long, on so many different issues, that I suspect Bush feels a little like a girl who is invited to a fancy ball – and proves to be excellent company for most of the night, despite being hated by many of the guests – but manages to fall out of step, at which point she is abandoned on the dance floor and told to find her own way home.
Falling out of step is not betrayal. It’s uncomfortable dancing, but it is not betrayal.
Betrayal is such a strong word; did he betray you, really?
Did he protect us from the reach & province of the International Criminal Court? Yes.
Did he keep us from the Kyoto mess that is currently tying up Europe? Yes.
Did he create a workable alternative to Kyoto that other countries have embraced? Yes. Bet you didn’t know that!
Have US Carbon Emissions decreased on his watch, without Kyoto? Yes.
Did he submit a comprehensive energy plan that got killed by a weak congress? Yes.
Has he lowered the deficit ahead of schedule in time of war? Yes. Even the NYTimes admits it!
Did he cut taxes? Twice? Yes. And yes.
Did he try to get the cuts made permanent? Yes. Congress dropped that ball.
Did he stop government funding of EMBRYONIC stem cell research? Yes.
Has he kept the promises he made as he held a dead cop’s shield before the Joint Houses? Yes.
Did he go after the Taliban and AlQaeda in Afghanistan barely a month after 9/11? Yes.
Has he been unflagging in his efforts to subdue terrorism, worldwide? Yes.
Has be been the consistent voice for human liberty around the globe? Yes.
After some serious missteps, is the surge working? Yes.
Has he been a staunch friend to Israel, the only stable democracy in a frantic region? Yes.
Did he end the farce of world-wide Arafat admiration? Yes
Did he remove Saddam Hussein, whose state supported terrorists, from power? Yes.
Did he invade Iraq at a time when the whole world believed Saddam had and “would use” WMD? Yes.
Did he bring a much-maligned coalition with him? Yes. Some are still there.
Did he liberate 50,000 people in keeping with the ideals of the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act? Yes.
Has he inspired the Iraqi people to finally believe enough in freedom to fight AlQaeda with us? YES!
Has he figured out that a free and engaged Middle East makes America safer? Yes.
Has he kept you safe since 9/11? So safe that you’ve almost forgotten to fear? Yes.
Did he remove “the wall” between the CIA and the FBI? Yes.
Did he go to the UN before invading Iraq? Yes.
Did he tell the UN that the US would never ask permission to defend herself? Yes.
Did he inspire Libya to surrender it’s WMD without firing a shot? Yes.
Did he appoint excellent SCOTUS and Federal Judges to the bench? Yes.
Did he implement the NSA terrorist eavesdropping program? Yes.
Did he immediately move to freeze assets and make terror funding more difficult? Yes.
Did he reform Medicare? Yes.
Did he reform Social Security to give you more power over your money? He tried. See Congress.
Did he manage an economy thru recession, terror attack & war w/ consistent gains for over ten quarters? Yes.
Has he kept unemployment between 5.5% and 4.4% for an impressive period? Yes.
Does he say what he means and mean what he says? Yes.
Did he try to address immigration last year, when the houses in his party? Yes.
Does he support the second amendment? Yes.
Does he support school vouchers and school choice? Yes.
Did he sign the ban on Partial Birth Abortion? Yes. It went to court, but he signed it.
Did he reverse Clinton’s intent to kill Reagan’s pro-life Mexico policy? Yes.
Did he support the Defense of Marriage Act? Yes. That used to be vitally important to you.
Did he expand the roles of faith-based organizations in social programs? Yes.
Did he prosecute the white-collar criminals like Ken Lay who ran riot through the ‘90’s? Yes.
Has he handled himself with enormous courage, dignity and grace in the face of world/media/hate?
Is he a man with a creed before he’s anything else? Yes.
Did he establish Health Savings accounts? Yes.
Did he have the Border Patrol installing monitoring devices along the borders? Yes.
Has he made mistakes? Yes. Some undeniable beauts.
Has he been an imperfect president? Yes.
Has he spent too much? Probably.
Has he given you most of what you’ve wanted? Actually, looking at the list…yes!
Has he dared to disagree with anyone to keep his principles, even you? Yes.
Has he really been your Judas? Has he really betrayed you?
Did he ever question your patriotism, or tell you you were a bad person? No, actually, he didn’t. Go read his remarks in context, instead of looking at one sentence blared at you by the very media you distrust. Be intellectually honest enough to admit that in this immigration controversy there are (sadly) some who are using fear to move their agenda, and there are some (only some, but they hurt us all) who reveal bigotry in their rants. You needn’t be offended if you can remember that there are those “somes” in every group; conservatives have no corner of perfection. You actually do have a choice as to how you receive what you hear, see and read, just as you have a choice as to how you receive a good, that is, with “open” or “closed” heart.
And ask yourself : is it reasonable to worry about the soul of a nation while contemplating big questions of life/liberty/enforcement issues for human beings, including children, and when you’re discussing ideas like “raids” and “surveillance” (that will affect not just “illegals” and their employers, but average people who are just passing by) and when deciding just how broad or harsh measures should or can be when dealing with a problem of huge scope and size?
I think it is reasonable, when contemplating this huge issue, to worry about the soul of a nation, and about how to protect that soul from the crippling effect of callous, emotional and reactive righteousness that stops seeing (and respecting) the God-begotten humanity of others. Once you allow that thoughtless oversight and absolutism to enter the heart of a nation, the soul of a nation…you may damage that nation irreparably. And perhaps we have done that on some issues, already, in our past, because we were not thinking of the nation’s “soul.” But this president does think of it. Hate him or love him for it, but for goodness sake, don’t be insulted by it. It’s no betrayal.
The Pharisees came to be thought of negatively not because they were “bad people” but because they were inflexible as to the application of law – they refused to see individual cases for what they were. In America, our laws are purposely flexible, meant to suit a situation, whereby one murder is murder, and one is self-defense. One car accident is an accident and one is reckless homicide. In America “enforce the existing laws” is much more complicated than it sounds…and if it were not, well…then our national soul would already be lost.
Perhaps it is time to stop eating our own, and to stop whimpering “betrayal” at a man with whom you are merely having a strong disagreement. The Democrats don’t have to destroy the right; it seems willing to commit suicide. It must be that “win by losing” mentality I can never quite wrap my head around.
Will any of this help assuage your feelings of betrayal and help you move beyond the emotionalism that has infected this issue? I have no idea. I hope so.
See Sister Toldjah’s righteous rant. Damn, I’ve never seen her so fired up!, and yet still admirably even-handed!
Jeanette reads through and AP report on the sausage-making aspect of writing this bill and has some sensible thoughts.
Siggy says we’ve screwed ourselves.
We can’t control truancy in our nations largest cities. How the hell does anyone expect us to control up to 12 million illegal immigrants?
He’s for crafting new policy – in a very smart post.
BigLizard wonders if surprising lines are being crossed by surprising people in an effort to “win” for their “side.” Oh, boy.
AJ Strata says This is the end of the conservative run. I don’t know about that…but it’s certainly time to think and pray.
Bruce Kesler says this bill is salvagable if the legislators want to get serious.
Laura Lee Donoho posts some history that bears remarkable witness to our current times, with When Hard Times Come, the Weak of Heart Give Up
This is a surprise: John Derbyshire was an “illegal alien”. One sees how easily folks who come on temporary visas end up staying, while not necessarily being “bad” people or meaning harm to America.
Part III later…but here is a sort of Part II-A. If you have not read yet Part I, please be sure to check into the comments section, which has folks on both sides of the issue having real, mature, sane dialogue about ideas, solutions, possible problems and solutions. I have the best readers on the internet, and they’re doing us all proud. They’re using…a LOT of bandwidth…but doing us proud.
Also please check out some of the trackbacks…other bloggers writing in agreement or disagreement about these posts. I wish that those who disagree did not feel that I’ve “attacked” them – I’m “attacking” no one and working very hard to keep these posts and comments as respectful as possible (on all sides) – but if they want to feel “attacked,” I can’t do much about how they feel. As I said in the post, we all choose how we receive what we see, hear and read. I don’t do intra-blog dialogue (not even when other blogs agree with me) – never have and am not about to start – but all should certainly be heard.