Sunday, March 12

MY FEAR FOR AMERICA

We are all aware of the dangers lurking in some foreign lands and in America itself both at the hands of foreigners living here and those who have adopted the tenets of certain groups of foreigners (e.g., Muslims). We also know that madmen do seem to be near to getting control of nukes in Iran and of course the "sanity" of certain other nuclear nations can certainly be reasonably questioned. What do we do if Iran gets a Nuke and uses it against Israel? Suppose some terrorist organizations get a dirty bomb or a "clean nuke" what will we do? This nation has survived for well over 200 years. For many, many of those years our very survival as a nation has been at stake. But we have persevered and we have won. Always.
My fear for America is within us. I have lived long enough to have dim recollections of Eisenhower vs. Stevenson, and much brighter memories of all of our presidential campaigns since John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Nixon. I have NEVER seen so much anger, frustration and discord among ourselves in my lifetime.
Many folks seem to trace this to the 2000 election which the "Supreme Court" gave, GAVE, mind you, the victory to Bush. Things have been progressing downhill among ourselves ever since.
In the 1960 JFK vs. Nixon election, JFK won the Presidency only because he won the electoral votes of Illinois. There was absolutely irrefutable evidence that the original Mayor Daley of Chicago had in fact voted the graveyards for Kennedy. Several well know and respected political figures and attorneys urged Nixon to challenge the Illinois vote in court. Even the Ancient Media (which had been if favor of the "boyishly handsome Kennedy" over the "sweaty faced, always needed a shave, shifty eyed Nixon") raised questions about the legitimacy of the vote in Illinois. And Richard Nixon (yes, the same "I am not a Crook" Richard Nixon) declined to pursue the matter in the courts. His explanation was that the didn't want to tear the country apart, cause perhaps irreparable damage to our system of elections and mostly didn't want to REALLY set Americans against Americans.
For America to truly work, it requires two distinctly different, but altogether rational political parties. We've gone since 2000 without this. BDS seems to have permeated every level of the Democratic Party.
The "minority party" has, to my recollection, never proposed any specific plans for foreign policy or for domestic issues. They have merely taken the exact obverse course from Bush. That they had not addressed issues such as Social Security, Health Care, the Deficit and on and on is particularly shameful.
Lest any of you think this is just about "bashing Democrats" let me hasten to assure you that it not the case.
The Republican party, with majorities in the Senate, the House of Representatives and control of the White House has not exactly covered itself in glory either. The War on Terror has been conducted in a way that can be legitimately criticized - and not just on the basis of "pull the troops out now" either. Our national security from foreign foes, for which the Majority Party bears most of the responsibility because it controls the White House and both houses of Congress seems to this "old Man" to be more in peril than at anytime in my lifetime. The Dubai Ports deal is just one aspect of questionable decision making and horrible information dissemination from Congress and the White House. Neither, to my knowledge, have the Republicans proposed or done much domestically on the same issues of social security, health care and the deficit. They have succeeded, almost in spite of themselves, of replacing two Supreme Court Justices with men whom I believe will be judged by history as outstanding jurists. We have liberated Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not making light of those victories, not at all. But Republicans have let the Democrats attack, attack, attack, when the Dem's have no ammunition. Iraq? "I have a plan" says Kerry. Nobody I know of except Kerry knows what that plan is. Murtha says immediate withdrawal NOW and the Republicans fumble away a chance to put that idiotic point of view to bed.
But more than all of the above, is the absence of IDEAS. How do we deal with the domestic issues I've mentioned? No answer seems to be forthcoming other than if Bush is for it the Democrats are against it. And frankly, although I like George Bush, I can't understand the lack of ideas coming out of his administration, nor out of the Republican controlled Congress either. There has even been, so far jocularly I hope, talk on various blogs of another Civil War in America. The prospect of that should make every true American cringe. Kill each other? Deliberately discard "ideas" because one party or the other floats them without even an attempt at a civil discussion of the merits of those ideas? We Americans used to be able to disagree without being overly disagreeable. When we worked together we always won, no matter the crisis du jour, domestic or foreign. When JFK ordered the embargo of Cuba to prohibit the Soviet Union from exporting ICBMs to Cuba, 90 miles off our shore, the Republicans in Congress stood firmly with the Democrats against that. We were united.
I remember. I was there.
Now we have the internet. The Ancient Media no longer has a stranglehold on what Mr. and Mrs. America hear or read concerning what is the "news". Nor can they "create" the news as freely as they are constantly being fisked by bloggers - right and left.
And in spite of (or, I fear maybe because of) the internet we seem more divided as Americans than ever before. And with certain notable exceptions (LGF being one of them) it seems almost impossible to disagree with someone without the whole thing becoming disagreeable, to put it mildly. Some blogs will throw you off if you offer ideas which run counter to the ideas of the blogmaster (see, e.g., DU - you'll have to go see, I've been thrown off). I mentioned the 2000 elections as a kicking off place for the lack of respect and civil discourse we see today. I don't honestly know if that's true, but I do know that the level of civil discourse is RIGHT NOW the lowest in my lifetime.
To quote Pogo "We have met the enemy and it is us".

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