Sunday, January 13, 2008

About Compromise and Communication...

From: "Brian Menard"
Subject: Re: About Compromise and Communication...
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 10:35:03 -0500

Brian A:
Thanks for the great explication of your stands. There's actually much with which I can agree there, even if we might squabble a bit over some of the details. Indeed, what's broken is not at all easy to fix, and both sides share culpability for their various contributions. Just curious, as an economic populist, does Huckabee resonate with you, or does the religion thing override potential economic affinity. FDT stickers remain on my vehicles, but given his performance to date I've had to give much time to thinking of backup options. Huckabee had been my #2, but I recently had an epiphany about how I assessed the field. (And his alleged us-vs-them comments last week about it being the evangelicals' turn to run the GOP, if true, will place him further down on my list.) Sixteen months ago I started a four-month investigation into Obama to see if he might be the right guy to bring the nation together. As described in previous comments, I decided, once he started filling in details behind his rhetoric, that he is not the guy. But in assessing GOP options, I analyzed candidates with a different screen of priorities, namely, who is closest to what I want. Lately - in part due to our exchange here, so thanks guys - I appreciate acutely the need to apply the same test to candidates of both sides to find someone willing to do more than speak about working together despite having strong views on both (or all) sides; and, if it was important for me to find a Democratic candidate willing to work with the other side instead of convert the other side, so it should be with my GOP search. In 2000, I voted for John McCain in the Virginia primary. In the years since, I have called him an "opportunist" and other unkind things, swearing I would never support him in another nomination battle. But looking at the entire field, he more than anyone seems to me to have a record of really being willing to work with both sides to do things that need to be done. I'm not yet ready to say I'm backing him, but going that next step is a whole lot closer than the distance he's traveled in my esteem in the last few weeks. Perhaps, though, only a third party will be able to do this (which means that it probably won't get done).
As for defeat, I do think we are susceptible to invasion, though not by a uniform-wearing army. (BTW, I think you are the only participant here who has served in uniform, which I hadn't forgotten - I don't think I've made any comments that might seem to have overlooked your service, but if I left any such impression, my apologies...You deserve nothing but credit for your service.) But that invasion can only come from our sleeping at the guard post. I don't mean we need to go Tancredo and close the borders while inserting tracking chips into everyone to follow them around. We are a nation of immigrants of all colors, shapes, and sizes, and we value freedom - going back to that shocking statement from our hypocritical Founders' (or, if you want to take it back further, from Aristotle) that we obtain our rights not from government but by virtue of our existence. But, given that there are folks who would be quite pleased to stop our breathing because we breathe (and Ron Paul's idea that if we just offer to trade with them all will be well...when much of what we have to offer in trade is what makes them want to eradicate us), prudent caution is in order. We just have to figure out what "prudent caution" means for us collectively. Meanwhile, your point about decay from within is quite on target. And I think we're in agreement (correct me if I'm wrong) that nobody in the arena is addressing the longer term economic dangers sufficiently. It's not by chance that my kids (ages 7 and 9) and I go to Mandarin Chinese class on Saturday mornings. Whether to be better equipped for saving our country or surviving it, we need to know China and understand our relationship with it in this new century, and we cannot sell our existence to China in order to defend against terrorist threats. Your USSR anecdote is scarily apt.
Finally, I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on ignorance. I've got no beef with real conversation. Thus DoasIsayandnotasIdo Jefferson's quip about no idea being too dangerous to discuss so long as reason is left free to combat it. Having grown up as a Republican in intolerant Seattle, where you can be anything you want to be as long as you think correctly, I appreciate your tone. Thanks for good dialogue!
- Brian M

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2008 8:51 PM
Subject: About Compromise and Communication...


The intent of my diatribe wasn't to make a 'us vs. them' argument, although I may have succeeded in that. Certainly, politics like religion are dicey subjects. I am not as 'liberal' as a Gore Vidal, in fact in many ways I'm more like Lou Dobbs and Patrick B. In fact, I am the only one willing to admit that I will vote for any Republican nominee with the possible exception of Mitt, if Hillary gets the nomination. I guess, I would describe myself as an economic populist. I don't care whether a Republican, or Democrat is at the helm, as long as they are doing their jobs. I dislike Hillary for other reasons.

The main point of my argument was to expose the myth that things are easily fix-able. Problems have been created on both sides. And although the Republican are threatening Iran, as of late, the Democrats certainly appear to be more anti-China, which is definitely more dangerous.

I'm not anti-war either, lord know Iran has it coming, but what it would do for the economy, or the price of oil, or just from a moral standpoint is quite debatable.

I am a veteran and I have served honorably in the u.s. infantry overseas. I know what it means to sacrifice for my country and I can imagine the Hell of war.

And, yes "there is a presumption that internal opponents are no better and perhaps worse-than external enemies"-Not, however, for the reasons that you may have presumed. America is the most powerful nation the earth has ever seen. Our power, however, is finite. Like the great Empires before us, we will never be defeated by an outside force-Who is going to invade the U.S.A.? We can only be defeated, if we allow fear to get the better of us, to take away our hard earned freedoms. If we fail, it will be from within. Don't forget what happened to the Roman, Spanish, or British and Soviet Empires.

When I was in the Soviet Union, in 1988, I half-way joked with people that my purpose was to see the U.S.S.R. while it was still there. Certainly, I and everyone else traveling to Russia could see that they were bankrupting themselves over the fear they had of our great military. Are we too, to become bankrupt over a fear of Islamo-terrorism? Let's be smarter than that, and God willing we can defeat the enemies of America, both foreign and domestic. And Brian M., for what it's worth, I don't believe Republican are enemies, but I do believe that ignorance on all sides is a potential enemy and hence, our conversation, the good, the bad, the ugly.

God bless,
"...remember the past
but do not dwell there,
face the future
where all our hopes stand."
-Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Brian Menard"
> Now that we've all been able to take some Mucinex and clear the phlem out of our
> political systems, how 'bout we mosey back to more objective analysis and
> constructive dialogue? After all, if we're going to live together in this great
> land of ours, we've got to be able to appreciate the mix of perspectives and
> work together to solve the really serious immediate and long-term problems we
> face. Our party leaders and candidates do a good enough job of seeing the
> specks in their opponents' eyes despite the logs in their own, so they don't
> need our help with that. I think - the existence of all the campaign and party
> rhetoric on both sides notwithstanding - where they really can use some
> bottom-up assistance is in putting party aside to figure out where the common
> ground exists and how we can work together to find solutions we can live with
> (as opposed to those we'd like to dictate to the other side). Is this possible,
> or are we condemned to fight it out in a bloodlust battle to dominate and
> destroy? It seems that the context of Benjamin Franklin's quote about the
> colonies moving into revolution has changed drastically, but the bottom line is
> still the same: We must hang together or we will assuredly hang separately.
> Thoughts?

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