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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:19 PM
Original message
Two ways of looking at it...
"There are two types of people. Those who divide the world into two types of people and those who do not. I am in the second group."


Some of us, in our mind's eye, see the fray from the trenches. Others see the fray from a distance. Neither is wicked or wholly useless, but I happen to prefer the later.

I find objectivity precious. None of us can achieve perfect objectivity any more than we can achieve perfect compassion, perfect justice, etc., but we can consciously make objectivity a high priority and strive for it.

We have filters and routines we can apply to our prejudices and emotions. Judges, if they are any good, often rule against their inclinations... against their first-blush perception of the good. They do not lack emotion and prejudice. They have merely learned to recognize them, and compartmentalize them when such is their duty.

The ACLU world-view is of the distant sort. There is a deep good in defending nazis, RW propagandists and nut religions; perhaps in much the way the Apostles sought out the grossest lepers. When you are defending a principle there is some satisfaction in cases where the facts are so unsympathetic that only principle can motivate you.

Why I mention this stuff: My standard for policy and national political culture is if it isn't cool when Bush/Reagan/Nixon does it then it is not cool.

I don't see the last eight years as a critique of George Bush. I see them as a critique of power.

Nazi exceptionalism is an intellectual cancer and one of the forces that guarantees that Hitlers will rise again and again. There is nothing extraordinary about a Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot or Bush. (Or, for the geeks in the audience, Colonel Green of Mars.) To pretend that the Nazis were a unique evil obscures the fact that the Nazis were an unsurprising expression of universal human nature. If it is 'hysterical' to compare anything to Nazism then we could not have formed a useful critique of Hitler himself! Hitler in 1933 was not Hitler in 1936, or 1940.

So I recommend that we do not attribute the evils of power to personalities and accidents. They are the very stuff of politics... an analog spectrum of abuses from petty to horrific.

My reason for thinking that Barack Obama warrants extraordinary scrutiny is because he is 1) a human being, and 2) the most powerful man on Earth. It's nothing personal. I hated George Bush like poison. I am, on balance, well disposed toward Obama. But if those perceptions colored my view of specifics then I would be like the people who trusted George Bush because they felt well disposed toward him.

(Anyone who thinks I just equated Obama to Hitler on any basis other than species, go to the back of the class.)

I don't trust any of these people and I think it is my responsibility as a citizen to not trust them.

(Many think precisely the opposite: that it is the responsibility of the citizen to trust. And that's where the trouble starts...)
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. An Example:
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 07:24 PM by Kurt_and_Hunter
In 1975 Jimmy Carter ran around talking about his personal relationship with Jesus.

That sounds un-extraordinary today, but at the time that was simply... not... done. It was considered indecent for a national politician to talk about his faith except in generalities ("I trust the Almighty") or to minimize its influence, like JFK explaining he would get his marching orders from the Pope.

At the time a lot of Democrats were all excited that Jimmy Carter was all Christ-like and into the sermon on the mount which is what liberalism is all about... (and able to get votes from the burgeoning world-wide fundamentalist movement of the 1970s--the rise of theocratic militant Israelis, Muslim radicals and American Jesus freaks were all part of a global trend.)

In retrospect it's plain that Carter did a bad, bad thing. I seemed okay because he was a Democrat, but who can say today that the introduction of personal faith into national politics turned out to be a good thing?

That's why making exceptions for our side is perilous stuff.

A bad seed will probably bear bad fruit, no matter the intentions of the planter.
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I Think More Was Said By The Media Than By Carter
I think more was said about Jimmy Carter's "born again" Christianity than Jimmy Carter said himself. In fact the whole notion of being "born again" was viewed as being somewhat exotic. But then it became somehow de rigeur that not only must a president be a Christian but he must be a "born again" Christian. I remember when Bush Pere who was Episcopalian said he was "born again" to appease the Christian right. To my knowledge Episcopalians baptize at birth so the "born again" experience is not part of their doctrine.

As for personal faith I spent a decent part of my formative years in a fundamentalist church. Maybe I heard what I wanted to hear but I took away the affirming parts of the Bible; love and honor your parents. love your enemies, look out for the weak, just be a kind person et cetera.

I was having a conversation with a principal of a fundamentalist Christian school this morning. It was a great conversation. He's a nice guy and a brave guy. We were talking about the area where I grew up and how it changed and he was telling me how he gave chase to a purse snatcher.(I grew up in Deltona . Deltona was the site of the infamous X BOX killings. Some lunatic and his "posse" broke into a home and killed all the occupants to recover an X BOX. I told him when we were teenagers in the 70's we liked to smoke pot, get drunk, and get laid* but we weren't violent.) A man knocked down a elderly woman and ran off with her purse and he tried to chase him. It says something good and decent about the man who gave chase. We and even he in retrospect can question how wise it was. We were talking about "Christian rock" I said I didn't like it because it diminishes Christianity and rock.That's how I feel about the mixture of Christianity or any religion and politics.

We then touched on everything from Obama to gay marriage to Reverend Warren. All you need to know is that he thinks Reverend Warren is an apostate and too liberal.I didn't tell him that while I consider myself a Christian and do try to be Christ like though I fail frequently I could never be a fundamentalist.It's not that I have this great desire to go out and sin. I told him as we get older (and I'm approaching my fifth decade of life) we lose the physical capacity to sin. It's hard to get drunk, chase women, raise Hell, and wake up feeling fine the next morning when you reach a certain age. I just don't have a desire to consign entire groups of people to eternal damnation or judge people.

*I didn't use that word.
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. There Is A Natural Tendency
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 07:36 PM by DemocratSinceBirth
There is a natural tendency to say it's ok when someone we like does something we don't like and it's a natural tendency to overlook something we don't think is right when someone we like is doing it. It's ok but adults should realize when they are doing it.

As for Bush hatred I'm over it. I don't think hate is a productive emotion. I had this interesting conversation with a Republicant turned Naderite turned Democratic friend of mine. He criticized my lack of Bush* hatred. I told him as a Floridian and a voter a Bush was on the ballot seven times and I voted (and) worked against him or them seven times. That's a lot better than going on about how much I hate him or them. I think Bush* was fundamentally misguided and without a scintilla of forethought or introspection.
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. What do you think of the Carter example above?
I was creeped out by that stuff at the time but because Carter was obviously a good person he got a pass. IMO.
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. See #4
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