And, seriously, she really needs to stop using “elite” as a pejorative — first because it degrades language (if “elite” doesn’t necessarily describe the most powerful office in the world, then it no longer means “elite”), and second because SHE LIVED IN THE WHITE HOUSE FOR EIGHT YEARS. Her efforts to exclude herself from “the elite” is an embarrassment to her intelligence and experience.
Watching this video it occurs to me that, instead of the presidency, this guy would have been much happier if he’d inherited a West Texas Chrysler dealership. I have to admit that I more or less supported Bush’s immigration plan. It’s the first time in six-and-a-half years I’ve been able to say that about a White House policy.
I’ve come to feel increasingly alienated from evangelical culture, and politics is an important reason. I used to write about this a lot more on Long Pauses, but I grew tired of my own voice and my own hypocrisies. Too much finger-pointing. Plus, the results of the 2004 election broke my heart. I’ve felt more than a bit defeated and hopelessly cynical ever since.
Many of us who opposed the war did so, in part, because we feared that destabilizing Iraq would provoke a civil war that would prove a humanitarian crisis worse than even Saddam’s regime. I wonder how American sentiment toward our role in Iraq would change if we admitted that the civil war has already begun?
In the last month, Bush has given America’s highest civilian honor to George Tenet, the man who most on the right scapegoated for his “slam dunk” on Iraq intelligence. He’s nominated a petty criminal for the nation’s top security position. And he’s repeatedly emphasized his support of Donald Rumsfeld. I think we’re reaching a point when Bush’s statement of “confidence” will be read quite differently from how it’s intended.
And then one of my Mexican students reminded us of the 1968 Olympics that were held in Mexico City, where only ten days before the games opened 267 students were gunned down and more than 1,000 were wounded during a protest at the Plaza of Three Cultures. And then two of my South Korean students told us of their government’s secret decision to send troops to Vietnam despite the public’s protest against such a move. And then one of my Chinese students, a remarkable young woman who exudes joy like no one I’ve ever known, said, “Yes. The same in China. During the Cultural Revolution.”
From Bob Woodward, we’ve learned that President Bush doesn’t give much thought to history — “History? We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.” — but for those of us who do, the San Francisco Chronicle has put together a nice collection of statements from prominent military historians, including G. Kurt Piehler, a member of my dissertation committee.
Not surprisingly, President Bush was at his best last night when asked about his faith and family. Ignoring for a moment the relevance of such questions in a supposed domestic policy debate that never addressed the environment, the Patriot Act, or stem cell research, those two questions allowed Bush to put aside policy (which is awfully complicated) to talk instead about feelings and relationships.
It’s interesting to see how Bush’s rhetoric has evolved. While admitting — finally — that WMD have not been found, he continues to litter his speech with allusions to them, though they’ve now morphed into “weapons of mass murder,” and — in a turn of phrase that would have made Monicagate-era Clinton proud — they are now modified with the nebulous term, “capability.”
Yesterday, I found the “Peace on Earth, No War on Iraq” sign that I carried in a protest during the rush to war, and it occurred to me that I am genuinely proud of that act. It’s difficult to explain, but I know that it was absolutely the right thing to do. I guess that’s why I’m taking some comfort from quotes like these, all taken from traditionally conservative commentators
De Tocqueville is near the top of my “Darren, seriously, isn’t it about time that you read this?” list. I stumbled upon this passage while reading Wendy Brown’s Politics Out of History, a provocative defense of critical theory as a potentially invigorating voice in the discourse of liberal democracy.
Jeffrey Alexander and Ron Eyerman published a great piece yesterday in Newsday (also available at Common Dreams), in which they argue that the massive economic and social changes necessary to alleviate suffering on a global scale are dependent, finally, upon change of a more fundamental and personal nature
The “business” of health care is beyond me. Which is why I don’t typically write about our need for something like socialized medicine. But that quote has stuck with me. In our money-saturated political discourse, caring about the health of our least advantaged citizens has become a question of “altruism.”
Hitchens, a man obviously capable of higher-order thinking, looks at the Church and denounces it as incompatible with morality. I disagree completely, of course, but, watching events as they unfolded in Alabama, I can’t say that I blame him. Hitchens, a man obviously capable of higher-order thinking, looks at the Church and denounces it as incompatible with morality. I disagree completely, of course, but, watching events as they unfolded in Alabama, I can’t say that I blame him.
A dear friend of mine is now in parts unknown, doing the type of work that must be done if this war ever really will lead to greater peace and safety in the world. This is the last note I received from him: “I consider it a privilege to be able to serve the people of Iraq. Please pray that they will find true shalom in the coming months and years.”
“Sleep the sleep of the just” is my favorite line from Moyers’s speech. That strange metaphor — the idea that sleeping soundly somehow demonstrates moral rightness — has shown up in a few odd places lately, most notably in the frequent reports that President Bush is sleeping well despite (or, perhaps, because of) the war. Well thank God for small blessings, eh?
“Christian” — if you mean by Christian what the Sermon on the Mount says — is a weighty word, and it’s serious, and, most remarkable of all, it’s full of grace. Please don’t affix that word to this country, which, for some reason, has been blessed with the delicate gift of democracy but will never deserve it.
Within the strange confines of my personal experience, many of the “Regular Joes” who support President Bush and his agenda seem to do so because he is pro-life and because he evidences publicly the recognizable signs of a “committed walk with God.” Within this community — this large, evangelical sub-culture — voting Republican is a “moral” act, a single gesture by which evangelicals hope to restore America to its Christian foundations.