What Does It Mean To LOVE AMERICA?

What does it REALLY mean to say “LOVE AMERICA?” To me it is quite obvious that most of us cannot really love our spouses otherwise divorce and infidelity would not be so common. We cannot REALLY love ourselves or there would not be so much obesity and tobacco/alcohol/gambling/drug abuse (not to mention living beyond our means.) Now my body, myself, is a very concrete finite entity which I see reflected in the bathroom mirror every morning. My spouse is a very concrete finite individual whom I have seen almost every day for 18 years. Can anyone DEFINE love. Religious people will say GOD IS LOVE, but no one can really say what God is or prove that God exists OR prove that God DOES NOT exists. Others will say that Jesus willingly crucified is love. Others will say that a MOTHER’S lover for her child is the purest form of love in the sense of selfless sacrifice. But what is AMERICA. Can you show me a PICTURE of America? Oh yes, you can show me a map, but it is not accurate to say that the map is AMERICA.

Is America our Declaration of Independence or our Constitution. That is like pointing to a wave equation or a physics equation and saying that the equation is energy or matter or gravity or light. And it seems that we often stray far from the intentions of the Founding Fathers (IF one can even claim to know what the original intentions of the founding fathers are.)

Now supposedly we have religious freedom and freedom of speech.
Now if people of color want to get into a house of worship and express their anger and frustration about how stinking and rotten and evil the WHITE EUROPEAN has been for centuries with slavery, genocide, colonial exploitation, I SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I am white as Wonder Bread and I too despise what the white man has done. In fact, I would say that any person of color has a screw lose if they do not feel endless anger and resentment over the centuries of wrongs.

No one worried about a WHITE candidate who attended Jerry Falwell’s services along with George Wallace giving speeches about “The Civil Wrongs Movement.”

http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/20/documents-show-media-plotting-to-kill-stories-about-rev-jeremiah-wright/

I started to read the article at the above link and could not get beyond the second paragraph which ends – Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

I remember watching a video clip of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. standing before Sen. McCarthy’s investigation committee and pointing out how MIRACULOUS it is that the American Negro has been SO patriotic and loyal and anti-Communist given all the crap that the Negro has had to put up with for centuries from the Caucasian majority.

I suspect that if it is meaningful at all to say “Love America” then it is a love or yearning for what America MIGHT BECOME ONE DAY IN THEORY and not for what American has been or currently is, because what America was and is is something monstrous and sinister which white-washes itself as noble, pure, Godly, and in short, Superman standing arms akimbo before a waving American flag (driven by fans no doubt) speaking of “Truth, Justice and the AMERICAN WAY (whatever the hell that is?)”

Catherine writes:
I got stuck at the same place, for a different reason. I don’t know what it means to love America, either. When people say to me, “Oh, you must love dogs,” I don’t know what that means either. There are some I emphatically do not love, or even like. Or can tolerate. There are individuals, and I love my own dogs and dogs I get to know.
I can love America as in love the ideas of the founders (however misguided I may have come to think they were in some ways), but that’s not what they mean when they say that. They seem to mean, are you deliriously uncritical of everything this country is about? and I don’t see how you can be — I don’t see how you can think that or feel that about any country.

William replies: I shall NEVER forget (even to my death-bed) the moment during the debates when the moderator confronted McCain asking “when crowds at Palin’s convention began chanting “Kill him [Obama]” why was nothing said or done to censure such behavior?” McCain went into some tyrade about “How DARE you criticize those patriotic Americans!” McCain HAD NO GOOD ANSWER for what happened during Palin’s speech. And if we are all such patriotic Americans today (like we were in WWII) then why to the children of the wealthy and powerful avoid military service like the plague. During WWII men would LIE and falsify records to get into the service. Perhaps there was something called patriotism then. Today I do not see such patriotism.

In the South a century ago, some Klansman would have took one look at Rev. Wright, said “uppity nigger,” and we all know what would have happened next.

@Catherine, thanks for restating the problem is such a calm and useful fashion.

When people march about with little flag pins on their lapels shouting “America is the Best” all I can think of is “So what is wrong with Canada, New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands (and a host of other fine nations.)”

George Washington, in his farewell address, urged a policy of isolationism. Perhaps isolationism made sense then but it SURE AS HELL does not make sense now.

We need to think about worldwide unity and cooperation. A friend of mine in Indonesia asked me what I thought of America’s carrot and stick policy. I explained to him that the worst thing America is doing to Indonesia is through the tobacco industry which is having a field day selling cigarettes to 10 year olds in Indonesia. The World Health Organization tried to get the Indonesian minister of health to sign a bill which would have made life more difficult for the tobacco companies and the minister refused saying “it is too late.” Even the Indonesian Muslim Imams are to be admired for consulting the Qur’an and composing a fatwah against smoking.

If we all continue to live in isolation they we will no longer be able to live.

If you love the America that IS and WAS then you are a conservative and a disgrace. IF you love the America which COULD IN THEORY BE one day then you are a liberal who seeks change and social justice.

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Ruth:
But this article isn’t about loving America or about Rev. Wright. It’s about collusion to manipulate the news. A year ago, I was seeing many of my FB friends posting articles stating that anyone who disagreed with Obama was really a racist, and their general reaction was, “ah, I thought so all along, and this just makes my point.” And yet it turns out that the articles were fostered by members of the Journolist, discussing strategy. I don’t pretend to be “shocked, shocked!” in a way that people would call naive; my view is that we all talk behind each other’s backs, all the time. But it still seems more newsworthy than the two commenters above seem to think.

Did Stephanopolos deserve to be excluded and slammed for asking the question? You can consider that point without yourself liking the question.

Alex:
Isolationism in a literal and absolute sense certainly doesn’t make sense, and I doubt that is what Washington had in mind anyway. Juche is an ideal for socialists, not for democracies.

Washington understood the necessity of treating with the powers of the world to ensure commerce and safety of the commonweal. What he (and other isolationists) OPPOSED was the tendency (1) to meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and (2) to mold the principles of commonweal governance to conform to the priorities of other nations. I’m not sure what you think of the latter, but I’m pretty sure you agree with the former.

I don’t recall any part of the debates in which John McCain referred to the ‘crowds’ cheering ‘kill Obama’ as patriotic Americans, but perhaps I have a different set of transcripts than you. If you could provide a reference, it would be much appreciated. As for patriotism in general, don’t be gulled by the relentless propaganda machine that surrounds all wars. There were plenty of zoot suits along with the young patriots who rushed to enlist during WWII. For the thousands of surplus enlistments in the Civil War, there were thousands more rich lads who could (and did) pay for substitutes to take their place on the front line.

Your characterization of liberals and conservatives is, frankly, simplistic and irrelevant. IS and WAS? COULD IN THEORY BE? Do conservatives advocate a restoration of Jim Crow laws? Are liberals expansive in support of free speech when they press for speech codes? So long as conservatives press for the diminution of state powers, and liberals struggle to erect an American Leviathan, I’ll be a bit more circumspect in my attitudes towards both parties thank you very much.

We live and breathe in another brief interregnum between the long dark ages of oppression, and I think we should at least be more appreciative of that.

William: THE ARTICLE ends the second paragraph as follows: Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

So certainly each and every sentence in an article must have something to do with the article. At least two people find a big problem with that sentence.

Furthermore, this is Facebook so there is nothing written in stone that says that reactions and responses must follow some parliamentary procedure or “Roberts Rules of Order.”

I learned a new term last week from an interview with Jimmy Wales who created Wikipedia: “siloing.” He said that extremists who rant at some website devoted to their extremism “silo” themselves; they ISOLATE themselves from anyone with a different point of view. The panel was discussing whether the Internet is a form of siloing or isolation. Wales suggested that on the contrary those at each extreme of the spectrum will often visit sites and threads at the other extreme just to see what the opposition is saying.

Now it seems to me that McCain was confronted with a truth that he just could not deal with, namely that the crowd at a Palin rally started chanting “kill him.” McCain COULD have simply acknowledged that the crowd was in the wrong and that something should have been said or done but his campaign failed. McCain could have apologized and admitted he was wrong. BUT, the tactic McCain chose was to CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

So, in this thread, it seems to me that perhaps certain points have been raised that some people do not choose to confront directly (for whatever reason, I know not.) People MIGHT choose to come up with some powerful overwhelming rebuttal which astounds and excites many readers. Instead, the tactic that has been chosen is to say simply “we are off topic and we should get back on topic.” I find that evasive. Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps I should re-read the article several times and try to make some contribution to the thread which DOES fit in more with the intended topic. My apologies if I have detracted from the central point of the post or if my points of view are eccentric or unwelcome. I do thank you all (everyone on FB) for tolerating my presence. It is conceivable that in the long run I shall see the error of my ways and repent. And we know that the angels in heaven rejoice more over one person who turns away from error than over ten people who are absolutely correct. Whatever I may be guilty of in FB, I think that I make threads more interesting and controversial and presumably people post whatever they post in the hope of gaining increased readership rather than a diminishing audience.

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@Alex: You have asked me to find documentation of the crowd chanting “kill him” since you have no recollection of the incident. Fair enough! All I have at my disposal is Google to seek such documentation so, here it goes:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/06/mccain-does-nothing-as-cr_n_132366.html

Excerpt: The Secret Service is following up on media reports today that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of “kill him” followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama’s relationship with radical Chicagoan Bill Ayers.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2008/10/in-fla-palin-goes-for-the-roug.html

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=5987004&page=1

As the rhetoric at Palin’s rallies has ratcheted up, so too has the language of supporters in the crowds coming to see her. At rallies in Florida, supporters were heard yelling “treason” and “traitor” when Obama’s name was mentioned.

At a rally on Monday in Clearwater, one man shouted “Kill him,” according to the Washington Post, after Palin mentioned Obama’s association with 1960s radical Bill Ayers. It was not clear who made the comment or if the man was referring to Ayers or to Obama, but the Secret

END OF EXCERPTS

Of course none of this PROVES anything. Perhaps these links are the work of some secret subversive group who seeks to cast doubt upon the true patriotic Americans who constantly fight for the noble cause of freedom.

Our memory is selective. We notice and remember what we want to remember because it serves our purposes.

And here is a link which states that the “kill him” incident is unfounded:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/breakingnews/Secret_Service_says_Kill_him_allegation_unfounded_.html

I do remember watching the televised debates. I do remember the moderator confronting McCain with this embarrassing question. I do remember McCain’s evasive tactics which seemed to me cowardly. But then as Mark Twain once said “Patriotism is the final refuge of a soundrel.”

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I am re-reading the article. I admit that I stopped in my tracks when I saw the “love America” sentence. I am now down to this sentence

“This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”

I agree with this sentence. Last week I thought I was so clever to coin the word MEDIACRACY, meaning obviously leadership/manipulation by the media. I immediately Googled and found to my dismay that the term MEDIACRACY is nothing new.

I see media as something potentially dangerous. You might perhaps wonder WHY? Well, when I listened to the Kagan hearings and saw a former comedian doing jokes and the audience laughing, I realized how low we have sunk as a society. I could never imagine Eisenhower appearing on a night time talk show or telling a joke in a speech. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps Eisenhower did make jokes at what are supposed to be solemn occasions. We elect former entertainers to be our leaders. Someone will object that it has really only been Reagan and Schwarzenegger. Sonny Bono comes to mind as another actor turned politician.

A certain segment of the nation would like to see Palin in a position of power. When I saw Palin and Shatner do a duet and walk off stage holding hands I thought to myself “there go two media whores.” Now Shatner is SUPPOSED to be a media whore. Shatner is amazing in that he was reinvented himself several times in his long and successful career. We are not SUPPOSED to want media whores as our elected officials.

I am not as smart as most of you so you must forgive me if I take more time to get through this article and if I post some thought along the way. Perhaps my problem is that I think too much.

Alex:
‎@Catherine: Agreed, with an emphasis on “not surprising.” It just amazes me sometimes how people can be so shocked by the venality, corruption and stupidity of the press. Who, in god’s name, made the media (or certain members of it) high priests at the temple of truth and sagacity? And when was the last time we trusted high priests (to any good end) anyway?

@William: Thanks again for the links (I can always rely on you for exhaustive resources). Again, relying on Dana Milbank is problematic (all of those articles are actually sourced from Milbank’s WaPo piece by the way). I honestly don’t know if there was one person in the crowd who yelled “kill him,” and if there was I would hope the SS WOULD make a point of tracking him down and (at least) interviewing him. Your last citation makes it VERY clear that the SS didn’t find a basis for Milbank’s claim; but once a story is in circulation, good luck getting anyone to read the correction.

In the context of what I wrote to Catherine, I don’t believe there is some ‘super secret’ cabal dedicated to casting doubt on (and subverting) patriotic Americans. I do think there are a lot of semi-educated people calling themselves journalists who erroneously imagine themselves (1) qualified as experts on any subject they happen to report on, and (2) perfectly objective and unaffected in their reportage by their personal beliefs.

As for McCain’s evasive tactics, what of it? What of substance is EVER touched upon in modern political debates? I remember watching the Carter-Ford debates (and sometimes pull them up for comparison’s sake) and the difference is like night and day. It doesn’t matter what question is asked today, it triggers a specific talking-point and that’s what you get. No more no less. All candidates are disappointing in that respect, and I find there’s much more to be learned from position papers than speeches and putative ‘debates.’

‘Last refuge of a scoundrel’ is from Samuel Johnson, by the way, although I’m taken with Walter Russell Mead’s recent citation of Roscoe Conkling: “When Dr. [Samuel] Johnson defined patriotism as the last refuge of a scoundrel, he was unconscious of the then undeveloped capabilities and uses of the word ‘reform’”

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William:
I must preface this next comment by stating that I was a Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist Christian for 20 years (from my mid 20s to my mid 40s) but now attend no form of organized worship and am more Buddhist and Hindu in my personal convictions. That having been said, we all know that there is a book called “The New Testament” and there is a character in that book by the name of Jesus (laying aside all issues of historical accuracy and theology) and that character says “You shall be judged by EVERY WORD which proceeds from your mouth.”

When The New Testament was written no one could possibly imagine television or Youtube where everything is recorded and constantly accessible to everyone with an internet connection. Just yesterday I listened to (and watched) Eisenhower give his farewell address where he mentions “the industrial-military complex.” So now we ARE all judged by every word because every word is recorded (even if it is only a secret tape recorder in the Oval office) and every facial expression is captured on video (even if it is only a surveillance camera).

So, in an odd way, the remark of Jesus came true. We are judged by all these things which are indisputably recorded and archived.

One point I would like to make is that no matter how devious any news agency is, these recordings and transcripts have a voice of their own even if one cares to argue that the subjective opinions which some viewers come to are skewed.

Regarding the truth or falsehood of the alleged person in the crowd shouting “kill him” we SAW on camera how McCain chose to deal with that allegation when confronted with it on stage on national television by a moderator. McCain did not make a good choice. He could have QUESTIONED the facticity of the allegation and demanded to see some documented proof. He could have declared that such comments are always improper and must be dealt with swiftly. No matter how inept our future presidents may be we need someone who can think quickly on their feet. Obama does a better job of that than Palin and McCain.

As I watched Eisenhower deliver his speech of 1961 I noticed a few mistakes. We are all human, we all make mistakes and slips of the tongue. I wondered if teleprompters existed in 1961. I should google on teleprompter and see the timeline.

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William:

@Alex: I believe somewhere above you stated that (sic) “Your characterization of liberals and conservatives is, frankly, simplistic and irrelevant. IS and WAS? COULD IN THEORY BE? Do conservatives advocate a restoration of Jim Crow laws?”

With all due respect Alex, you should use Google more effectively. Here is a VERY RECENT example of a Republican who yearns for Jim Crow Laws

http://chattahbox.com/us/2010/04/13/is-va-gov-mcdonnell-bringing-back-jim-crow-voting-literacy-tests/

Excerpt:

The newly-elected RepublicanGovernor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, is once again under fire for another executive decision to transform the Commonwealth of Virginia into a right-wing paradise. Right on the heels of an offensive state proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, without mentioning slavery, McDonnell is now again angering Civil Rights leaders, Democratic lawmakers and the ACLU. McDonnell wants to add a written essay requirement for the restoration of voting rights to non-violent felons. But his critics are calling the essay requirement, a return to the Jim Crow era of literacy tests to deprive minority citizens of their right to vote.

End of excerpt –

I know a man in his 50s who is totally illiterate. He cannot even read street signs or labels. Yet he is an avid viewer of all sorts of newscasts and documentaries as well as nature shows and “how to do it” shows.

So, we see that the ability to read and write is no longer as crucial as it once was for people to make an informed decision.
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Alex:
nstitution in the success of other organizations, the more that institution’s policies will tend to hew to those external interests (consciously or unconsciously) at the expense of purported goals.

My immediate suspicion (admittedly without necessary research or deep consideration) is that we often confuse the period of a benign fourth estate with an era of supreme objectivity because (1) there were no profound challenges to the supremacy of the media interests from outside alternative news resources, and (2) collusion between the state and media interests served both institutions equally no matter which party held political power at the time.

I frankly think it’s odd that people are so exorcised over the fragmentation of the media. I happen to look at it as a refreshing and positive change.

@William: Very interesting observation about New Testament admonitions about judgement. It seems to me that so much scandal has come to the fore precisely because things are recorded (or not recorded, as in the case of the accusation about Tea Party racial epithets hurled at congressmen) that can illuminate misrepresentations, half-truths and outright lies (also look at the current Shirley Sherrod dust-up over what was reported and what wasn’t).

Certainly McCain is/was not a particularly deft political speaker. Perhaps that fact, in contrast with his political opponent’s apparent silver tongue, will serve to condition attitudes about qualifications for the Presidency going forward; but I can’t imagine it being for anything but the better.

Good question about teleprompters. If they didn’t have them, wouldn’t they at least have cue cards?

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Alex:

The requirement is to submit a form, not an essay:

http://hamptonroads.com/2010/04/mcdonnell-says-critics-his-felons-rights-restoration-plan-are-wrong

And nowhere do I see a requirement that an illiterate person can’t rely on a literate person to fill out the form for them.

How did your illiterate friend register to vote?

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William:

I never ask people such invasive questions as “whom did you vote for”, nor do I employ ad hominem to make reference to their body parts, moods or alleged mental illness. Not everyone follows my standards.

I can sense, Alex that you have been caught in an embarrassing error and you are handling it McCain style, sort of pretend it didn’t happen. If I search on MCDONNELL JIM CROW I am certain I shall get more than a few hits: Let’s see – About 22,900 results (0.45 seconds)

It appears that more than several people saw a resemblance to the Governor’s agenda and the Jim Crow laws.

Oh but perhaps all those links are posted by disingenuous organizations with hidden agendas.

I think I should spend some more time reading the excellent article which you posted. I am the low person on the totem pole here as far as intellect and political insight so you must be compassionate and give me time to GROK all these concepts.

I am hoping that some OTHER people will join in on this thread. It will be very sad if people are too apathetic to comment or afraid to crawl out on a limb and make some concrete assertions. Let us see what the morrow brings.

Ruth:
The chattahbox.com take on McDonnell distorted his idea as badly as anything I’ve ever seen posted by Media Matters about Fox News.

William, when you talk about any political, and sound moderate or rational, I am always reminded of a year or so ago when you told me that Bush was Satan. You are as fiercely partisan as anyone.

William:

@Ruth: I have always seen Satan as rather clever. Genesis does say something about the serpent being the cleverest of all creation. I am surprised that I paid Bush such a compliment since I see him as something of a buffoon. There are websites which sell toilet paper with Bushisms on it. I must search and see whether I can find similar sites for other past presidents. But my memory is somewhat selective so if you remember that Ruth then I shall take your word for it.

I am not SO liberal that I fail to admire people like Eisenhower and William F. Buckley, Jr. I do try to look at all sides and not “silo” myself.

Ruth:

t voting rights of those who do. Each felon did something that invalidated his right, and it wasn’t being born black. Comparing his idea to Jim Crow laws is such a stretch I can’t believe anyone could take it seriously. It might be a lousy idea, but it’s the opposite of Jim Crow laws. That there are X number of comparisons being spawned on the internet means nothing.

Well, my overall reaction to the Journolist story is that from now on, whining about Fox News will get no patience from me. Fox at least is an identifiable brand, like Krispy Kreme. When you buy Krispy Kreme, you know you’re getting high calories. You make a choice to indulge. If I watch Fox, I know they have a viewpoint and I can correct for it. I find that preferable.

I’m still irritated by how many people willingly believed those charges that all discomfort with the sharp turn leftward was about “hating a black man” or “fearing the Other.” When more than one writer came to that conclusion, it made it seem like “truth” to some of my FB contacts. The reasoning went like this: “I cannot imagine disliking the leftward tilt, so there must be a reason other than rational disagreement, which is impossible. Ah! It’s about race.” And the whole time, it was because of collusion on Journolist.

It’s disgusting. Why did so many people rush to believe that people who disagreed with them had bad personalities (another charge) or hateful attitudes? Why is it so hard to believe that someone can dislike an idea on its merits?
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William:

Good points, Ruth. Seriously. You often make good points which is why I make a point of reading everything you post. Jesus was clever to foresee that we shall be judged “by every word.” Almost everything that I have written/blogged since 1998 is on line somewhere. A sizeable cross section is at https://williambuell.wordpress.com which is the blog I have been using for the past year or two. I just now discovered that it allows me to SEARCH all blog posts on a keyword such as “Bush.” I quickly did some searching and found 8 posts which mention enough about Bush to warrant a new category called BUSH. Therefore anyone who visits my blog can quickly see a sampling of what I have had to say about the Bush family over the years.

Now it just so happens that I do not worship anything. My religious notion is that IF there is some supreme being then my every thought must be known to that omniscient being and hence prayer is unnecessary for me (or rather, every thought and word is or should be prayerful in the event that some supreme being is listening in.)

Now, Ruth, you are correct to observe that I have a certain bias in my thinking. In fact, for the sake of argument, suppose it WERE true that I actually worship Satan every day, and have a little Bush doll and stick pins in it. (I do NOT worship Satan and I do not use voodoo dolls nor do I believe that a satan exists, although I cannot bring myself to say that I am an atheist because I do feel that some higher power must exist but that no religion has succeeded in accurately describing the nature of that supreme being.) How does any of that have any bearing on the observations I make in this thread. I mention to Alex that an incident occurred during the McCain/Obama debates, that McCain was confronted and that McCain weaseled out of that confrontation in a less than honorable fashion. Alex claims to have never heard of such a thing. So, I find many links to support my statement and then Alex proceeds to marginalize the importance of the incident and say that the SS never found anyone in the crowd. Next Alex speaks as if no reasonable person in their right mind would ever want to return to the Jim Crow days. Again, I find many links which allege that a certain Republican Governor seems to some to yearn for Jim Crow laws. Now, perhaps everything argument I offer is flawed and perhaps my evidence is tainted. But what does any of that have to do with my personal bias or leanings or allegiances?

Ruth:

The allegations about Gov. McDonnell are spurious on the merits. Alex states that no Republican is moving toward restoring Jim Crow, and he is right. He didn’t “speak as if” anything. He said something factual. McDonnell has a bee in his bonnet about restoring voting rights to felons. I don’t care about that issue, myself. But he is very clear about what he is trying to do.

I mentioned your most intemperate statement on record out of irritation, which I’m not proud of. The original article is about how people with very strong, moralistic views about political matters were willing to call names and ruin reputations. You felt that wanting to discuss this was a form of “evasion” from the real question of how they were right, the people who had said what they didn’t like were wrong and objectionable. I guess I meant, “what do I expect from someone who can be very logical but who can also call names with the best of them?” Why should you object to them calling Rove a racist, if you called his boss/friend “Satan”? But I object to all of that.

Allegations are not facts. If 22,000 sites report the allegations, they are still not facts. You’re a smart man; you know this. Why then are you arguing the opposite?

Alex:

You’re quite right William, and the only disagreement on that point was whether we were somehow attacking you (we weren’t) for focusing on one element of the article rather than the article as a whole. You seem to be a bit thin-skinned on that point, but that makes you a more interesting discussant (I agree it would be interesting if more participated).

And Ruth is right, I’m just being a smartass. You should know better (of me) than to take it personally.

Re: McCain, I didn’t much like him any more than I liked Obama. I certainly wouldn’t endeavor to defend him. My point was he made a canned response to a canned question, neither of which had much to do with the other; but it was of a piece, and typified the content of the whole debate. Ruth is correct that it would be pointless and stupid to try to defend against slander anyway, and really what would have been the outcome? If he condemns the “kill him” comment, he tacitly acknowledges it happened. If he refuses to address it, he’s accused of being insensitive. It was all bullshit as it turns out, so what would you have him do?

As for the McDonnell situation, I asked for an explanation regarding how your friend registered to vote, not how he voted. Again, the point here is to illustrate the problem with tarring every activity that requires writing a ‘Jim Crow’ law. Whether you approve or not, most states require written registration forms to qualify to vote. Are they biased against the illiterate? Perhaps so; but before you remove the sliver from your neighbor’s eye would kindly remove the plank from your own?

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I am dutifully reading through the article you posted. I am now on page 2 and I find a passage I can easily agree with:

Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor,” Hayes wrote.

As I mentioned, I am a white man who feels that any religious leader of color ought to feel free to voice rage over the centuries of crimes that the whites have perpetrated. I can understand why Obama had to distance himself from Rev. Wright because of how the American public reacts. I can understand why liberal media seek to silence reporting which hurts a liberal candidate. I personally would have NO problem with a president of color attending a house of worship where the shame and crimes of the white man are openly discussed.

Just last week I was reading how FDR KNEW before hand about Japan’s plans to bomb Pearl Harbor but he let it happen for two reasons. 1.) FDR did not want the Japanese to realize that cryptologists had cracked the Blue code. 2.) FDR needed a dramatic reason to enter the war. Thomas Dewey learned of all this and wanted to go public saying that FDR should be impeached. A high ranking member of defense privately persuaded Dewey to keep silent and Dewey did keep silent.

A sophisticated person can compartmentalize various beliefs and feelings. A judge can have personal convictions and yet render an impartial decision. Surgeon Gen. Koop had conservative fundamentalist beliefs and yet shocked the world when he supported the distribution of condoms and sex education. Koop explained that he was entrusted by the public to represent the publics best interests and not to use his position as a bully pulpit for his private religious convictions.

Ruth:
I would be very, very sorry to see any American President on trial at The Hague. No exceptions. Very, very sorry. It would be the prelude to serious problems in the world.

I have no preferred candidate. I like Gov. Christie of NJ, but he has to succeed in NJ and be re-elected to be a viable candidate. I’m a huge believer in state governorships as the only real proving ground for executive branch government.

I’ve been on enough list-servs that I understood the nature of Journolist automatically.

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William:
Ruth, you make a very good point about Governorships being the only real training ground for Presidents. I agree. I must read up on Christie. I was reading about Woodrow Wilson last week. He was 34th Governor of New Jersey. According to Wiki Wilson was THE ONLY president ever to hold high office in New Jersey. So if Christie makes it, then Christie will be the second.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_Wilson

Well now, IF it is true that Bush and Cheney are guilty of war crimes, then should they not face justice?

My country right or wrong.
My mother drunk or sober.

I dont quite see your logic. Dont do the crime unless you can do the time.

Did Germany’s similar argument spare the Nazis from standing trial?
Ruth:
Every war is a “war crime” in someone’s eyes. And “World Courts” are not at all representative of the best justice. What a sad legacy of WW2, the idea that any president who presides over a war that someone disagrees with should be subject, personally, to a non-military defeat at the hands of his enemies, after the fact, with a kangaroo trial.

And jeez, how do you define a “war crime”? Shall I say that if Bush and Cheney had gassed a million people, I’d be glad to see them on trial? And if you were a serial killer, I’d be glad to see you dead. And if aliens invaded tomorrow, I’d be sorry. And if I were a man, I wouldn’t be a mother. I could go on and on all day with silly suppositions. Bush and Cheney didn’t gas a million people; it wasn’t even close. You have to be utterly closed-minded, politically, to even dream of such things.

Alex:
can find opinion reported anywhere.
10 minutes ago · Like

William Buell Interesting Ruth, alleged criminals should be tried by the U.S. Justice system which is in fine working order… but other people should be handed over to places like Syria for interrogation methods which don’t quite fit into our justice system, or placed in Guantanamo.

It seems that our failed president Obama is ordering the detainees moved from Gitmo to Illinois. That would seem to fit in with your argument Ruth that everything should stay in the USA. Ruth, do you believe that Bush or Cheney are guilty of any crimes against humanity?

William:
There are many links on this war crimes issue. I am looking for some credible ones. Here is NY Times

http://www.nytimes-se.com/2009/07/04/court-indicts-bush-on-high-treason-charge/

Do these articles make you PROUD to be an American? Or do you perhaps dismiss them as media distortions and propaganda.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/06/18/BL2008061801546.html

“Despite years of investigation into alleged abuse and death of prisoners in U.S. custody since 9/11, the only Americans held accountable have been the low-ranking ‘bad apples’ convicted for the worst atrocities at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. No official blame has been assigned to higher-ups for abuses at Guantanamo or in Afghanistan, much less for crimes allegedly committed by U.S. personnel in various secret CIA prisons around the world.”

William:
I shall read up on Pawlenty and Christie. I am a bit bleary eyed by now. Yes I thought I was posting some sort of NY times page. I figured that Huffington post would not do the trick. How about the other link? Were both links suspect? It seems to me that the real issue at hand is not whether I pick the best links in haste but whether Bush, Cheney and others committed war crimes. The question of whether they ever face charges is something different. I can sense that you both place far more importance in wiggling away from difficult questions than in getting at the real truth. Ruth seems to come right out and say that no matter WHAT heinous crime an American president commits they should never be brought to justice because that would upset the status quo. I shall look at the links I posted and more links. Perhaps you are both right and Bush and Cheney are as pure as the driven snow and I am a bumbling old fool for trying to argue otherwise. I will tell you candidly that so far I do not see both of you as someone who “hungers after truth and righteousness.” I hope I am mistaken.

Ruth:
Sir, you are going too far. You are working entirely in extremes, and I really think if you are bleary-eyes enough to write these things, it’s better if you take a break.

I know you pay attention to salutations, so I’ll explain why I say “sir.” Because I read Boswell’s Life of Johnson at a formative time and when I am truly offended but wish to remain civil, the conventions of the 18th

William:
Interesting Ruth, alleged criminals should be tried by the U.S. Justice system which is in fine working order… but other people should be handed over to places like Syria for interrogation methods which don’t quite fit into our justice system, or placed in Guantanamo.

It seems that our failed president Obama is ordering the detainees moved from Gitmo to Illinois. That would seem to fit in with your argument Ruth that everything should stay in the USA. Ruth, do you believe that Bush or Cheney are guilty of any crimes against humanity?

Alex:
I responded to the Washington Post link, so you may assume I considered it valid. What is invalid is the notion we are somehow evading the truth. Truth evading seems to be your specialty here, as you can’t seem to explain exactly why we should pursue war crime trials when no evidence is presented that war crimes were committed by the administration. Is ‘insufficient evidence’ somehow unclear?

If I believe California is going bankrupt because a conspiracy of Care Bears is manipulating the bond market to the state’s disadvantage, is the fact I don’t accept claims of ‘insufficient evidence’ grounds for pursuing the case anyway? What if hundreds of people share my belief? Are prosecution or non-prosecution decisions to be determined by plebiscite? Ever hear of the Dreyfuss Affair?

There are thousands of Truthers out there as well William, should we indulge them with a prosecution of the administration for deliberately destroying the World Trade Center? It seems to me their evidence is a lot more compelling than yours (which, it appears, is non-existent).

William:

Alex: I am just responding to Ruth’s notion that the U.S. Justice system is in fine working order and nothing should be done outside of the U.S.

It is late and this is grueling. I shall re-read things tomorrow. Ruth SEEMS to be saying that everything I can ever read on the Internet is mere opinion but that somehow Ruth and Alex have access to the truth and the way things really are, and I am the Pharisee with the plank in my eye trying to remove the speck from my neighbors eye. I do wish a few other people would join the thread if only to attack my position so that I may gain a broader base of perspective. Tomorrow is another day.

But since I am in error and you posses the more true picture, I must labor to be convinced and let out of my cave of illusion.

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