Democrats & Liberals Archives

Why The Anger?

The question itself is one that has been asked by many Conservatives, often with the intent of declaring certain political opposition to be the product of irrational sentiment. Such aims miss the important point of what creates the anger.

No anger could sustain itself for so long, minus the support of other grievances. Anger is transitory, a state of mind. So the question is, what could possibly maintain it for so long? Part of the answer lies in a particularly cruel irony.

The irony is, this particular grievance lies in one party's expectation of unity. Of course, it's their kind of unity. The situation would be reversed, likely, if the Democrats controlled the branches of government, but as it is, Republicans get to play the bad guys here.

It is never so easy to have a fierce argument, as when one agrees on what needs to be done, but not on how to do it. If things get gridlocked enough, the irrational idea for those in power, those who feel entitled to gettin things their way might be: "They know what's right, and they're just not doing it." From there, declaring that party anathema is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

And that's where things get ugly. Especially when what people are all agreeing on is 9/11, and the need to reduce the threat of terrorism here and abroad.

9/11 is not just painful for those who wear buttons with elephants on them. Hell, it happened in what's generally considered a Liberal cultural and political center. Few Americans watched 9/11 without a visceral sense of horror, terror, and anger. I am not one of those few.

A song comes on the radio, months later, asking self-righteously, "Have you forgotten?" Such a question inspires a smile from me. The kind that would probably have you backing up politely then running away at a good clip.

Of course I haven't forgotten. I won't forget. There's life before, and there's life after, and a dark kind of rage that doesn't go away. Footage of the airplanes hitting or the towers collapsing has a visceral effect on me.

Say hello to one of the deep reserves of Democrat anger. You might think, if you are a conservative that the anger would serve to ally people to Bush. And you'd be right. At least, as long as certain things remained true. If the administration used 9/11 as a wedge issue in politcal campaigns, that might damage the unity though. If the Administration used the disaster as an excuse for draconian or nonsensical legislation, Might do harm too. If the administration said, "Don't sacrifice, start spending return to your lives as normal", when obviously normal is redefined in the wake of 9/11, one might begin to think, perhaps unfairly that those in office do not understand what has happened.

Then the president goes to war in Iraq.

He claims Osama is no longer that big of a threat anymore. He says the real threat is Saddam, and off to Iraq we go. We are reassured that by doing this we are taking WMDs out of the hands of terrorists, reassured by intelligence from Bush's executive branch. Intelligence that turns out to be wrong, Weapons and terrorists that never show up. Bush claims victory, having successfully invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein.

But he speaks too soon. Iraq could have been just a source of grumbling had it not been for the occupation that followed it. Up until that point, Bush had gotten fewer soldiers killed invading Iraq than his dear old Pappy had freeing Kuwait. But after he said, "Mission Accomplished", about six times as many soldiers are dead.

Operation Iraqi Freedom represents the single greatest loss of Soldier's lives in a military campaign since Vietnam. What makes it worse is that it does not answer the threat of terrorism at all. It has only increased it, reinvigorating Anti-American Sentiment, and given the political mass murderer Osama Bin Laden a vindication of his worst, most vile anti-American stereotypes.

To a Democrat's eyes, Bush has put us in a place even lower than that we were in after 9/11, doing so while claiming that he was going to fix the problem for us. Incompetence, as defined, is the inability to do the job one's given right. From a Democrats's perspective, incompetence describes things perfectly, because Bush has failed to come through with what he promised.

Until he starts mending the bridges he's burned, until he starts achieving palpable successes in the war on terror, Bush can be guaranteed that Liberals will not look on him kindly, or cut him all that much slack. He's lucky he's feeling the slow burn of bitter disappointment from democrats, more than just white hot outrage, but should something go really catastrophically wrong, the backlash may very well be considerable.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 25, 2004 1:06 AM