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September 28, 2003

Say No to Bush Hatred

It seems that as Democrats start to see their fortunes waxing, some are venting their frustration at the last few years of Republican excess by declaring their hatred of George W. Bush. The editors of The New Republic and The National Review recently engaged in an extensive debate on the subject, and while I haven't read all they've said, I can say that I think hatred, and particularly personal hatred, is the wrong channel for the Democrats' anger and resentment.

Bush is merely an exponent of an agenda that is antithetical to both democracy and to Democrats—the conservative agenda that values personal profit above all else. In this way, today's conservatives (who are very different from conservatives past) are simply antisocial; they oppose society's best interests because they see those interests as conflicting with their own. Democrats (or liberals or progressives or whatever term you want to use) see this as a myopic view, to say the least, and yes, it can be infuriating.

What's more, Bush lied and is lying. That's enough to make anyone mad. Even Congress is finally admitting there wasn't enough evidence to go to war in Iraq, although admittedly Congress is trying to blame the "intelligence community" for Congress's own failure to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to put a stop to the executive's war madness. But that only emphasizes the fact that we should never trust our elected officials—not a single one of them. Rather than trust them to do the right thing, we need to actively ensure that they do the right thing by being more active and vocal in the political process and by voting them out when they don't. Today's conservatives have a nice gimmick about trust, though. They say socialism is inherently doomed to failure because human beings are inherently self-interested. This isn't true, but it's one of America's cultural fictions and the vast majority of Americans believe it. And yet, if human beings are inherently self-interested, then we have to assume that politicians, including Bush, are also inherently self-interested; therefore, when they say, "trust us, we're doing what's best for you," we have to assume that they're lying, because they've already told us that they're only going to do what's best for them.

Anyway, all of this is enough to make a more liberal thinker's blood boil, but hatred is a poor solution. Instead I recommend we channel our energies in better directions. Let's start with determination to elect better leaders, and to ensure those leaders are accountable to the people who elected them. This may not solve all our problems, but it's a start.

Posted September 28, 2003 07:29 AM | election 2004 general politics


Brillant take on the conservatives use of trust! You need to push that bit much farther out into the lime light.

Posted by: Famous P at September 28, 2003 10:13 AM

did you see the bit on dateline tonight, how the White House leaked the name of a CIA agent to the press? Feathers flying over that one!

Posted by: Katherine at September 28, 2003 11:02 PM

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