Monday, May 02, 2005

Thoughts on Values

I keep thinking that I'm going to get more disciplined in my writing. There are several things I mean to address, but then I get distracted as something catches my eye and then things seem to coalesce into another subject entirely... or perhaps not entirely.
I've been ruminating on Tamar's post the other day regarding the pervasive nature and global extent of politics. The next thing I'm reading is this piece in The Guardian about U.S.-Sudanese cooperation in the "Global War on Terror." Now today's MSN Quote of the Day is from Emmanuel Levinas: "Politics is opposed to morality, as philosophy to naïveté." It came to me that this could account for a lot.
I had intended to ask the six percent of voters who voted for GW six months ago but who now feel that he sucks in his job for an explanation. What changed? What was concealed from them in November that is apparent to them now? (Like they're all reading my blog!) It came to me that in run-up to November the talk was all about "values." The neocons just did a superb job of distracting people from their politics. Men who never served a minute in combat... who avoided service... were able to impugn the character of a decorated veteran by challenging his freedom of speech. They had better salesmen.
No WMD? Never mind because Saddam was a dictator and the U.S. doesn't do dictators... except throughout the 1980's when he was gassing Iranians, Shi'ites and Kurds somewhat indiscriminately. The U.S. is all about human rights and the principles of democracy... except in Saudi Arabia and China and Russia because business is business. In public we seek to condemn the Sudanese government in the U.N. for genocide while in the background we still do business with their intelligence apparatus.
Core values dictate that we must not take life, that we must not steal, that we must not bear false witness, etc. Politics dictate that "you have to go along to get along" and that the end justifies the means. You clean up Iraq as much as you can before you leave and you can write off the whole damn war as a humanitarian effort, and in a few years who will remember the lies?
Does it make any sense then for me to rant because politicians are amoral? Yeah, it does. It does because this is a republic, and these people do not in fact represent my values. From elementary school I've been told that we hold certain truths to be self evident, but there is little testament that our government values those truths. Our government is made up of politicians. Our government is made up of politicians because we are too damn lazy or distracted or otherwise engaged to think beyond buzzwords and sound bites.
Would it kill us to make the effort to identify and elect people to represent us who weren't so flagrantly for sale? I refuse to believe that George W. and Arnold Schwarzenegger represent our best and our brightest hopes for the future. Is it not possible to elect people you would allow to sit your kids?

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Blogger Tamar said...

Thanks for the link, Always Question. I thought that post of mine had gone unnoticed : )

I hear you loud and clear in this one, and feel your anger and pain as if it were my own. I have nothing else to add - just my agreement and thanks for expressing a lot of what I feel about these issues.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Deejay said...

Until some statistician or pollster conclusively proves me wrong, I will remain convinced that many Bush voters who have now turned on him were military veterans who bought the Swiftboat horsebleep hook, line and sinker, voted against Kerry (not for Bush) and now realize they were had. Most of the guys I meet today who served with me during that era forgave the anti-war protesters long ago (Jane Fonda the notable exception--she went too far over the line). BTW, thanks for the link.

7:26 PM  

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