For those who may not have seen it as a common thread throughout my writing, one of the things that is so disturbing to me about our political discourse in the last few decades has been the total loss of civility. It seems impossible to disagree with someone about a position without expressing absolute disdain for that person.
Republicans were guilty of this with Bill Clinton and the Democrats have now returned the favor with George Bush.
In the most recent issue of Time Magazine, Michael Kinsley has written a “viewpoint” article entitled “Support the Troops: Bring them home”
Kinsley is a left wing Democrat, founder of Slate Magazine and a longtime critic of Bush and the war, so his credentials to the “left” are well established.
What I find so refreshing in his piece is this quote taken from the middle:
“The cause actually was worthy in theory: to liberate a country from a dictator, perhaps to find and destroy some dangerous weapons and more recently to stop the chaos and slaughter that we have unbottled in Iraq. Some war critics don’t want to give Bush this much credit. But none of the ulterior motives sometimes attributed to the President make any sense. His intentions were noble, however naive and pigheaded.(my emphasis) But the war was a horrible mistake. And as everyone comes to realize it was a mistake, continuing it becomes something much worse than a mistake”.
This is how you disagree civilly and express your opinion while maintaining dialogue.
I don’t understand people who would call the President a murderer, or worse. Do they actually think that he personally wanted to have American kids die there? It is so silly as to not be worth a legitimate conversation. Much as most of what was said about Bill Clinton were absurdities.
It happens to be my contention that there are three separate conflicts in Iraq (more on that in the next post). That we (the public at large) doesn’t recognize this, and that the fight against Islamic Jihadism is THE battle of the 21st century and must start somewhere, but Kinsley has left the ability to have that conversation open. Rather than simply sticking his tongue out and saying “a**hole”, he is engaged in constructive dialogue.
A lesson for us all.