March 04, 2004

Oh, Those Crazy E-Mails

At the risk of losing a valued reader. . .

Mr. Rhodes. I'm e-mailing you rather than commenting on your site because it would probably just become another chew toy for you and Joshua to pass back and forth until it doesn't even resemble the original argument. I read you for your humor content, but your political leanings just make me sick. How can you continue to support the Bush administration when their actions have so completely turned the rest of the world against us? How you can sleep at night knowing the blood of so many came as a result of U.S. action over the past four years is beyond me. It's almost enough to keep me from coming back and reading you. Almost.

First off, I should point out that I don't, in fact, support the Bush administration. Most of its domestic policies seem like they were found in an old trunk in an attic that hadn't been opened since 1930. Bush himself I find about as inspiring as a clod of dirt, with oratorical skills to match. But, ultimately, none of that really matters.

When it comes to domestic concerns, most of the hot button issues simply don't resonate with me.

I put money away for retirement on my own, because I genuinely believe that social security simply won't exist any more by the time I'm 65. I think that the generally indifferent actions taken by both Democrats and Republicans indicate that both sides are adopting a "let it slowly die" approach to social security. Does it bother me that social security is still taken out of my checks? No, because I'm perfectly happy knowing that the current generation of retired folks can at least rest a little easier thanks to monthly checks from the government. And, I live just fine without that extra bit of cash, so it's really a non-issue for me.

Education? I don't have any kids, so I don't really care at this point. Besides, my thinking right now is that home-schooling is more and more the right way to go, with the exception of athletics, which I strongly feel every child should experience, particularly wrestling.

Environmental policies? Feh. There was a time when it made perfect sense to me to think that the migration habits of Alaskan caribou would be destroyed by the presence of oil wells. Then, one day, I realized that the caribou will probably just find an alternative route to get to wherever they gotta get to. I mean, they may look dumb and all that, but they're not THAT dumb.

As for our overall dependence on oil, sure, it would be great if we finally discovered a cost-effective way to exact cold fusion, thus being able to fulfill 99.9 percent of our annual energy needs from a single glass of water. That would be super. But, I'm also realistic enough to know that you just can't chop the legs out from under an oil-based economic structure without sending the world into an economic tailspin. In other words, patience people. Patience. Weening is a process, not an amputation.

So, the domestic issues of today basically don't mean poo to me. I make good money, I'm in a job I enjoy, and I have health and dental insurance, and pretty much everything is just great for me on the homefront.

Except for those terrorist dudes. They kinda bother me.

I had a very vivid dream awhile back, and it scared the living shit out of me. In the dream, I was standing by a pool, outside of a hotel, talking with a group of people. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light in the distance, and when I eventually looked up, I could plainly see a mushroom cloud pluming upward. My initial instinct was to run into the hotel and just keep finding stairs that go down, trying to beat the shockwave and seek whatever shelter I could from the radiation sure to follow. I remember thinking, as I ran, "oh my God, they actually did it; they actually did it" over and over again, and there was a terribly empty feeling in my chest knowing that humanity had basically been delivered a death blow.

And, the thing is, terrorists, given the means, actually would do that. They'd do it right now, if they could. Instead of planes, they'd use nukes. Absolutely.

Strangely, the rest of the world, or at least those nations not of the 20+ that make up the coalition of the willing, don't seem to understand that. Those that sympathize with the causes of the likes of Hamas and delve so minutely into the causation of why they hate us and why we should try to understand them and work with them to ensure world peace, seem utterly oblivious to the reality that terrorists and terrorist organizations would gleefully sign agreements with one hand and press a detonator with the other.

So, I'm not terribly distraught if France, Germany and Russia are busy tut-tutting us. As far as I can tell, their supine approach to stamping out terrorists and the regimes that harbor and support them illustrate everything that was wrong with American foreign policy leading up to 9/11. Ooh, we got a bloody nose in Beirut? We'll leave. Dead soldiers dragged through Mogadishu? We're gone. Embassies bombed? We'll send a couple cruise missiles your way, but that's it. Cole bombing? Little or no response. In other words, we continually refused to acknowledge just how far terrorists would go until it was too late, emboldening them, and then the towers came down.

Therefore, how can I sleep at night knowing the blood of so many came as a result of U.S. action over the past four years? Easy, because I'm fairly convinced even more blood would have been shed through U.S. INaction over the past four years.

Foreign policy and the war on terrorism are the election issues that matter most to me, and right now Bush and Co. seem vastly more qualified to keep making the tough decisions in that realm, whereas John Kerry right now seems more intent on making nice with everyone.

UPDATE: Then again, John Kerry may have a secret weapon with which to fight the war on terror.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe. . . . They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn't done enough for -- yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part -- something that we could correct.

And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason -- it is his reason, and not ours. -- Lee Harris in Civilization and its Enemies, a book I own but haven't yet read entirely, but was reminded of by Instapundit.

AND YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Instapundit is on a freakin' roll today. This gem by Tony Blair says it all and says it damn near perfectly.

Posted by Ryan at March 4, 2004 12:06 PM
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