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Pardon me while I empty my brain. You'll know when I'm done, because a toilet will flush.

First of all, let's beat this horse to death:

October 3, 2000
The First Gore-Bush Presidential Debate  transcript

MODERATOR: "New question. How would you go about as president deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally?"

BUSH: "Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places."

"..... if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that."

"I don't want to try to put our troops in all places at all times. I don't want to be the world's policeman, I want to be the world's peacemaker ...."

more if you want it...

I never start political conversations at work, but if someone else does, I don't hesitate to jump in. Today it was implied to me that talking politics in the office could be hazardous to my employment. I implied back that I was well aware of this, but that I wouldn't keep my mouth shut when someone else is spouting off their empty-headed pro-Bush rhetoric. If they want me to shut the fuck up, I suggest that they do the same.

To illustrate the point, the boss tells the story about how one company owner forced his employees to donate money to a certain political candidate. We all agreed this was a bad thing, and I bit my tongue. But then he went on to say that this nasty employer had Dem propaganda all over his office. "Well that figures." someone said.

That's when I went back to my office.

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out how this country became so divided. These people are otherwise very lovely folks. I've always had Republican friends, and my best old buddy has always been a die-hard Republican. We disagree on almost everything political, but we respect each other and we have great discussions. I can see that his views are rooted in something resembling logic, and that he has real values that affect his views. He feels the same way about me.

The difference these days is that the void between Democrat and Republican isn't an issue of values anymore. This void is an emotional one, especially in this election, and at its core is a cold, hard ball of hate.

Hate is a profoundly strong emotion, and our nation is gripped by it at this moment in history. The entertainment insdustry (meaning the media) will feed people as much of this as they'll eat, and people these days seem like they just can't get enough. People like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly can only survive as long as people need an object upon which to expel their bile. Peaceniks, A-Rabs, Traitors and Faggots fit perfectly into this role.

Glad we could help.

But how do you recover from this mind-set in what has come to be known as the post-9/11 world? Which is more dangerous, a large group of violent, well-armed religious fanatics hell-bent on forcing their brand of righteousness on the rest of the world, or a large group of violent, well-armed religious fanatics hell-bent on forcing their brand of righteousness on the rest of the world? What happens when this unstoppable force meets that immovable object? It can't be good.

I try to calmly, politely and plainly explain to my co-worker all of the obvious reasons that Bush is the wrong man for the job. Her response? Her family received a $400 check from the government due to the tax cuts, John Kerry is a flip-flopper, we can't let Iraq go unpunished for not letting us liberate them, and Bill Clinton fucked Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. This is what it boils down to.

Did anyone see Evan Bayh on Aaron Brown's show last night? What a fucking idiot. Brown never got on my nerves that much, but here he was acting astonished that the Iraqis didn't greet us as liberators.

Here's abit from the transcript:

BROWN: You know, that last part of the sentence, Senator, is one of the most interesting things in all of this to me, because -- and I follow this as closely as I can. I don't see the stuff that you see.

But I wonder why it is that Iraqis, who, after all, we did liberate from a truly reprehensible government, why Iraqis are not more supportive, are not more helpful, are not more willing to fight for their country. It doesn't seem to me they're doing a very good job of it.

BAYH: Well, this is an example of no good deed going unpunished, isn't it?

What? What the fuck did you say? First of all, Aaron, the Iraqis are fighting for their country, and they are doing a pretty good job of it as well... unfortunately for our troops. You can't un-step out of dog shit. Thank Bush for that. And you, Bayh, you fucking jerk... "no good deed goes unpunished?" Are you insane or just stupid?

Evan continues...

We were temporarily welcomed as liberators, but that seemed to last for the blink of an eye. And it's irrational to my way of thinking, Aaron, and I'm sure to the American people, here, where we're spilling our blood, we're spending our treasure on behalf of the people of Iraq, but there doesn't seem to be that much gratitude.

But I will say this. An increasing number of Iraqis have shown that they are willing to lay down their lives for their country. These young men who were lined up to become police officers who were brutally murdered, the police officers who were slain in the shooting earlier this week, there are a number who are willing to stand up and fight.

And that's why I think it's important, even if it's an imperfect election this coming January, that we go forward as best we can with the electoral process, because, ultimately, it's the Iraqi people who need to create freedom and prosperity for themselves with our assistance. It is not enough that only Americans are willing to fight and die.

And once they have a legitimate government of their own, perhaps even more of them will be willing to do that.

I'll let you dissect that last passage. Between "there doesn't seem to be that much gratitude" and "ultimately, it's the Iraqi people who need to create freedom and prosperity for themselves" well, there's a lot to work with.

Are these two on crack or something?

Ahhh... I don't know what I'm trying to say today. I'm trying to unravel the ball of tangled twine that is my brain... to quell the electric storm that is my nerves... to soothe the bruised child that is my heart.

There-there, mini-me... it'll be alright.

Originally posted to theoria on Fri Sep 17, 2004 at 11:11 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know honey, there, there (none)
    {{{pats on the shoulder}}}

    I don't face the kind of divisiveness on a daily basis that I know from experience you do. But I can't shake the disquiet I feel about how uncivil discourse has become in this country, and how we're going to deal with it for the decades to come, no matter what happens in November.

    But I'm a hopeless idealist in some ways. Make fun of me if you will, but I think it starts with what we're doing here. That is, in building a base in the grassroots that takes politics back to the streets. People having meetups, people going door to door, talking to each other. At the moment, it's still pretty insular--we're only talking the each other, and not to them. But when we (and I'm including Democracy for America in that we--thank you Howard for starting so much of this) start putting up candidates for local offices in "hostile" territory, we're going to have to start talking to them, and hopefully they'll start listening.

    Feh. I'm rambling as much as you did. Hell, read Dean's new book. It'll make you feel a little better, maybe.

    I must not think bad thoughts. --John Doe

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Sep 17, 2004 at 11:27:19 AM PDT

  •  Go for a walk. (none)
    When you get back everything will still be fucked up, but you'll at least have had some fresh air. That work/co-worker stuff is brutal. I am blessed to run a small business of Democrats, ranging from the far left to mushy moderate--but Dems all. Hallelujah.

    If you're going to be lonely, you might as well be beautiful.

    by vancookie on Fri Sep 17, 2004 at 11:37:09 AM PDT

  •  My (none)
    solution (as usual) is bourbon, loud music, and rage.  Quite refreshing.  Then, back to work.

    It could have been much worse, and there is no limit to how much better. Gershom Sholem

    by rx scabin on Fri Sep 17, 2004 at 11:46:40 AM PDT

  •  This is the latest talking point apparently (none)
    Despite my best intentions, I heard a few minutes of Scarbore last night and the recurrent theme between him and his guest was THE IRAQIS AREN'T SHOWING GRATITUDE. Yeah, we got rid of Saddam for them and they should be GRATEFUL! No electricity, no drinking water, no jobs, thousands of dead and wounded civilians and "those people" aren't GRATEFUL!

    As I drifted off to sleep, I got the insight that this is set-up to reduce empathy for their plight so that when we start bombing Falluja to dust Joe Six-pack will say to himself, "Well, they deserve it, the ungrateful bastards."

    I've been feeling sick about it all day.

  •  Take heart ol'buddy... (none)
    Takes a long time for some people to come to their senses, others, blinded by that $400 check and Clinton's blowjob, won't ever get there.

    I started reading my old hometown newspaper online 6 years ago when I moved here to the Central Valley. I stopped reading it after 9/11 as it turned into a rah-rah-rag for all things Bush. A couple of weeks ago I started reading again, particularly the letters to the editor. Surprisingly, I've read more pro-Kerry letters than pro-Bush. As an example, last week some bozo wrote a long rant on Kerry flip flopping on the war vote (which had me pulling my hair out, writing my own long winded rant that didn't get sent because I was too pissed to edit it), yet today, someone calmer than I wrote two sentences that explained Kerry's vote perfectly. Someone else wrote a letter referencing Molly Ivan's and compared, quite eloquently, Bushworld to fascists.

    Edwards held a rally on the quad at UNR on Monday(?) that drew 4,000 people. If memory serves, there was no mention of protesters. An article today says that Cheney appeared yesterday in front of l,500 supporters and mentioned that 160 protesters lined the street. The article balanced nicely Cheney's foaming at the mouth comments with Kerry's reasoned positions.

    This is Reno. In Nevada. Four years ago it was a red state. This year it is a blue state. Bank on it (she says with all fingers and toes crossed).

    There's hope. Now, go play nice with your coworkers.  

  •  It's OK, Theoria (none)
    I think we're all of us going just a bit mad.  My doctor called me at home last night and told me he was upping my "mood stabilizers" until after the election - though if he took away my television and my laptop, I'd probably be fine.  Oh well, at least I have great health insurance!
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