Ask Auntie Pinko
March 1, 2006
By Auntie Pinko
I am a proud Conservative, and I have supported George W. Bush
for a long time, in spite of doubts about the Iraq War. After all,
most leaders make some decisions that seem crazy at the time, but
they have information that others don't have, and the view from
the top can be different.
I have supported him in spite of doubts about his huge expansion
of government size, expense and power, because I really believe
that terrorism in the 21st century is a serious threat that needs
I have supported him in spite of doubts about the giant deficit
and the ballooning national debt, because I think our tax system
is so out of control that only drastic, out-of-the-box solutions
might restore sanity.
Then he "didn't know" that his own government was turning the
management of our ports over to a company owned by the government
of the UAE, a nation that recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan
and laundered money for Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. When
he "found out," he announced that he'd veto attempts to curtail
I'm not a liberal and I'll never be one. I'll oppose big government
financed by out-of-control taxes, nanny state welfare programs,
and the silly idea that we can make the world a better place by
wringing our hands and preaching earnest homilies at the UN, until
I die. But I'm fed up with Bush! Is there anything I can do, short
of joining the Democratic Party, to stop this madness?
It's very disillusioning to see the leaders you elected to uphold
certain principles systematically trashing those principles. I'm
not surprised that you and many other conservatives are feeling
bitter and betrayed.
Not to add insult to injury, Mike, but just to warn you - please
bear with me, because I will get to some constructive ideas about
"stopping this madness," I promise. But first, I want to discuss
the painful subject of Mr. Bush's government approving the transfer
of port management contracts to DPW. I've been hearing quite a lot
of unhappiness about this from liberals and conservatives, and it's
a good news/bad news situation.
I don't like it either, for a whole array of reasons. Dubai Ports
World is, first and foremost, a business, and they know perfectly
well that they cannot stay in business if there is even the slightest
suspicion that their management would pose a security threat to
the nations whose ports they manage. I doubt that they'll do anything
to jeopardize their business viability, or permit anyone else, even
on the basis of religion, to do so. Nor is logistical management
of a port's business operations equivalent to security, which (as
I understand it) will still be provided by the United States Coast
Guard, Customs, etc.
But as you've pointed out, Mike, while the UAE may technically
be allied with the United States in a variety of commercial and
economic ways, and may be very cooperative with us in foreign policy
goals for their region, they are no shining example of the kind
of "partners" we should be trusting with something that cuts as
close to our sense of national security as port management. In addition
to operating an "anything goes" banking system that makes them money
launderers of choice to the scum of the earth, their record on democracy
in their own nation is appalling, they enable human trafficking
and human rights violations of the most disgusting variety, and
the people they hang out with (other repressive, sleazy, authoritarian
world 'leaders') are hardly the kind of company we want to keep.
At a time when "image" carries such weight in international affairs,
the "image" of the United States, worldwide, is already profoundly
damaged. While I'm not suggesting that we trim our policy decisions
to suit world opinion, I would like to see us making policy decisions
that reflect our values, and standing by those decisions. The "Arab
Street" (a ridiculous concept, to start with, since there are numerous
and contradictory cross-currents of opinion among Middle Eastern
Muslims) will not "respect" us just because we choose to do business
with the Emirs. When we stand clearly for the principles embodied
in our Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble to our Constitution,
and when our actions clearly reflect that stance, we will earn respect,
even among those who differ with us.
If there is an "upside" to the flap over the DPW affair, it may
be in drawing the attention of Americans to the real issues of port
security, issues that are much larger and more complex than logistical
management. Americans seem to be waking up to the vulnerability
of ports, and to how far they are lagging behind airports in having
the resources and support to implement reliable security practices.
Maybe we'll also start to pay attention to the vulnerability of
other installations, too, and make a big enough fuss to get Congress
to require adequate oversight of facilities that create, manipulate,
and store hazardous materials. Water supply, communications, and
key land transport resources, too, are far behind airports in security.
Which brings me by a rather roundabout course back to your question,
Mike. What can you do, short of (heaven forbid!) joining the Democratic
Party? There's actually a lot you can do. It's not easy stuff, but
it shouldn't be outright painful, either. I wouldn't (for example)
encourage you to secretly vote for Democrats or even third-party
candidates in the upcoming elections. In fact, I wouldn't want you
to do anything dissonant with your principles, because they are
your real strength in bringing sanity back to your Party.
First, and perhaps most important and effective, you can SPEAK
UP. Don't be silent among your fellow Republicans when the discussion
gets political. Exactly what you wrote to Auntie Pinko should be
an adequate and powerful expression of your frustration and dissatisfaction,
and I'm guessing it will excite fellow-feeling in many of your conservative
friends. Silence is complicity, and you don't have to be complicit
in what Mr. Bush is doing to your Party.
Tell your Republican elected representatives how you feel, too.
It means much more coming from you than from Auntie Pinko and her
liberal buddies, that's for sure! Demand that they be accountable
to you and other conservatives for abandoning the principles you
care about and embracing massive government expansion, hyperinflating
debt, foreign policy nightmares and the waste of military and security
resources in the pointless Iraq War. Tell them that they can keep
your support only by demonstrating that they understand and value
the things you value.
Finally, get involved with your Party organization. Don't leave
it to the corporate lobbyists and the fanatics who believe that
staying in power is all that matters. You and other conservatives
like you can turn your Party around - it's been done before.
It will be hard, because they have the money and the power and the
bully pulpit, but you have the voice in the streets and the votes.
Take back your Party!
Having given all this advice, I'm having second thoughts now,
Mike, because if you and other conservatives like you succeed in
reclaiming the Republican Party, it will be a formidable opponent.
Restoring Republican credibility and respect will make it that much
harder for us liberals to grab back as much power as the Republicans
have held for the last six years! But I'll stand by it anyway, because
I believe that America is better off with two strong Parties with
integrity and the intelligence to take a larger view, even if I
disagree strongly with one of them. Best of luck to you and your
fellow conservatives, and thanks for asking Auntie Pinko!
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