Democrats & Liberals Archives

C.S. Lewis on Patriotism

The Four Loves is one of C.S. Lewis’s wonderful works of popular theology, wherein he writes of the joys and pitfalls of the first three (affection, friendshiop, eros), and the necessity of the fourth (charity) in redeeming the rest. In the first chapter, “Likings and Loves for the Sub-Human” (referring to pets and inanimate objects), he discusses patriotism, and I think what he said over forty years ago has great relevance to us today.

I think we should go back to the introduction first, to find the passage which expresses one of Lewis' main concepts in the book. In that passage on page six, he relates the words of (then) modern author, Denis de Rougemont that "love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god." Or put more plainly, when love is given divine authority in one's life, it falls short of divine character, decieves and misleads one about what is best to do.

In the chapter referenced at the beginning on page 22, we see him explicitly refer to that passage:

[...]There is no need to belabor M. de Rougemont's maxim; we all known now that this love becomes a demon when it becomes a god. Some begin to suspect that it is never anything but a demon.

A raving leftist, spreading hatred for his country? Read on:

But then they have to reject have the high poetry and half the heroic action our race has achieved. We cannot even keep Christ's lament over Jerusalem. He too exhibits love for His country

Demoniac patriotism, he tells us, will make it easier for people to act wickedly, the opposite facilitating better behavior. Patriotism can lead us to follow other's dark plans against our better judgment, even as it enlists us in other's noble efforts He goes on to say in that paragraph:

That is one reason why we private persons should keep a wary eye on the health or disease of our own love for our country. And that is what I am writing about.

Patriotism for many, he says, is a love of home, of the places and things that we are a part of in our daily lives.

As Chesterton says, a mans reasons for not wanting his country to be ruled by foreigners are very like his reasons for not wanting his house to be burned down; because he "could not even begin' to enumerate all the things he would miss.

For Lewis, though it may be necessary to "pluck out your right eye" if it gets in the way of following divine love and developing Christian character, he says it would be difficult to understand that sacrifice not having that eye (patriotism, of course) to pluck out in the first place.

He speaks of the ingredients of patriotism:

Of course patriotism of this kind is not in the least aggressive. It ask only to be let alone. it becomes militant only to protect what it loves. In any mind that has a pennyworth of imagination it produces a good attitude towards foreigners. How can I love my home without coming to realise that other men, no less rightly, love theirs? Once you have realised that Frenchmen like cafe' complet just as we like bacon and eggs-why good luck to them and let them have it. The last thing we want is to make everywhere else just like our own home. It would not be home unless it were different.

He then turns to the historical part of it, the side that calls us to remember the great deeds and virtues of the past. Needless to say, folks here are no stranger to that.

[...]This past is felt both to impose an obligation and to hold out an assurance; we must not fall below the standard our fathers set us, and because we are their sons there is good hope we shall not.

This feeling has not quite such good credentials as the sheer love of home. The actual history of every country is full of shabby and even shameful doings. The heroic stories, if taken to be typical, give a false impression of it and are often themselves open to serious historical criticism. Hence a patriotism based on our glorious past is fair game for the debunker. As knowledge increases it may snap and be converted into disillusioned cynicism, or may be maintained by a voluntary shutting of the eyes.

Sound familiar? Both the left and the right should consider what comes next in that paragraph:

But who can condemn what clearly makes many people, at many important moments, behave so much better than they could have done without its help?

The great deeds of the past can indeed inspire the great deeds of the here and now. After all, many young Americans took the example of The Greatest Generation in joining the Army post 9/11.

Lewis goes on to make his point that we should not let the hagiography of heroes cloud our perspective on history, that we should admire the deeds of the past in their proper place, and not as a substitute for a real understanding of our history, flaws and all. I mean, we can appeal to the noble sentiments of the Declaration of Independence here without forgetting the sad truth that our Founding Fathers felt that some people's right were more inalienable than others. Says Lewis:

What does seem to me poisonous, what breeds a type of patriotism that is pernicious if it lasts but not likely long to last in an educated adult, is the perfectly serious indoctrination of the young in knowably false or biased history- the heroic legend drably disguised as text-book fact.

All cultures have their heroes, good men sung and unsung. To believe that we have the lock on heroes and heroism is to engender (in Lewis' words) "a firm, even prosaic belief that our own nation, in sober fact, has long been, and still is markedly superior to all others" Belief, let us remember is not the same thing as fact. America can be a better country when it puts its mind to it, I believe, but we aren't the only people on the face of the planet blessed with the just, the righteous, and the heroic.

The spread of democracy is a just endeavor, but it is a spread that must be done between equals and friends. As bad as the governments are in the Middle East, they are governments the people there either affirm or tolerate. If they put their minds to it, no leader could stand in their way, no revolutionary council. They exist or continue to exist primarily because people don't have the will to defy and overthrow them meshed with the means to do so.

The attitude of superiority leads, he says, to a poisonous arrogance and the treatment of other cultures and countries as children, the infamous White Man's Burden of Kipling. The will to power draws more power to it, and wishes for more still, and the atrocities that come with unrestrained power between the powerful and the subjugated gradually poisons itself with moral uncertainty.

This is where patriotism turns truly demonic, Lewis says. It turns from the natural love of a person for home, for the place one knows and draws comfort from, to become the conditional love that lasts as long as the nation is doing and being great things. If America weren't so great, we'd say, we wouldn't love her so.

Therein lies the trap. We start having to convince ourselves that we did what we did for higher reasons, but Lewis tells us this is not a step up.

The difference seems to me important. I may without self-righteousness or hypocrisy think it just to defend my house by force against a burglar; but if I start pretending that I blacked his eye purely on moral grounds-wholly indifferent to the fact that the house in question was mine-I become insufferable.

We had good reason to go after the Taliban. We had been attacked, and they willingly conspired with and harbored the planners and culprits. They had brought a knife to our back and sunk it in. Many of us approved of Iraq in the beginning believing that we were preventing a second occurence of that, not merely depending on the abstract nobility of bringing Democracy to Iraq to build our support. The WMDs were to be the knife, their hiding of the terrorist capable of striking us or our allies representing the ability to strike at us with them. This was damn important because this was the moral reason, the just reason for going to war: to protect our country.

The love of our country is not enough to keep us on the right course. We must have morals and ethics that take the place of patriotism when it begins to become arrogance rather than the simple love of home and mindful, conscientious celebration of the good deeds and good men and women of the past.

Another man, Carl Schurz made a famous quotation about patriotism, one that I think many people on both sides of the aisle should take to heart, and I think this complements Lewis's observations about love of country rather well. Most people know one particular line out of this quote, "My country, right or wrong.". They unfortunately, however, exclude the most meaningful portions of what he said, and perhaps not coincidentally. He said:

The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

That is the sentiment that leads many Democrats to oppose Bush and his policies. This is what motivates many Americans to question the beginnings of the Iraq war and the way it has been managed and our troops supplied. We cannot expect to set the wrong right and reach our full glory as a nation through the maintenance of pleasant illusions and the repetition of warm and fuzzy platitudes of how well-qualified we are to tell the rest of the world what to do. We must lead by example.

In one of the concluding paragraphs of the chapter, Lewis speaks of the huge book that could be written "of Christendom's specific contribution to the sum of human cruelty and treachery." he goes on:

Large areas of "the World" will not hear us till we have publically disowned much of our past. Why should they? We have shouted the name of Christ and enacted the service of Moloch.

We cannot expect to be heralds of Democracy and act in anything else than just manner to those outside our borders. There is no harm in confessing the sins of your nation, while you sing its praises. Ours is a human nation, with human frailty inherent to the undertaking. We have failed, we are failing, and we will fail to live up to our ideals. Our freedom and attainment of glory as a nation are not done deeds, but ongoing struggles. As such, Schurz's words come back to us, and they should be comfort to those who want patriotism to be more than the hollow promises of greatness, and the compelled disregard of dirty little secrets: This is our nation, right or wrong, if right to be kept right, if wrong to be set right.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2006 2:50 PM
Comments
Comment #131668

Stephen:

That is the sentiment that leads many Democrats to oppose Bush and his policies. This is what motivates many Americans to question the beginnings of the Iraq war and the way it has been managed and our troops supplied. We cannot expect to set the wrong right and reach our full glory as a nation through the maintenance of pleasant illusions and the repetition of warm and fuzzy platitudes of how well-qualified we are to tell the rest of the world what to do. We must lead by example.

Excellent post. I appreciate you articulating patriotism in this way.

From the right, what concerns me about the curren state is the lack of ideas from the democratic party. The Democratic party needs to weigh in on what they would do if elected this fall.

With regard to the Iraq war, if I vote democrat this year what specifically am I voting for?

1. Impeachment of Bush?

2. Immediate withdrawal of troops?

3. A resolution from congress that we were wrong to go to war?

In some ways it seems to me that part of “the problem” is that the democratic party is divided, and speaks with so many voices.

What comes across is not a call to pricipal, but it seems to be a call to put down the other side hard enough so that by default democrats will get elected.

For the life of me the only thing I can say clearly (on Iraq) that the democratic PARTY stands for, is that Bush’s handling of the war has been poor, and that america was mislead going into the war.

I think there is a ever widing gap between the left and voting americans, just as there is an ever widing gap between the president and voting americans. (Thus David’s position).

I think a Democratic Congress would be fine, if it were built on principal. I am still searching.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 6, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #131670

I think you are proof-texting Lewis. You can’t read the book without understanding the impact of the last section about Charity (Agape). In the items you quoted, he is describing affection (sorge) without charity and its influence on shaping affection whether it’s for family or country.

I believe Lewis goes on to say that affection is kept in balance when there is reasoning, justice and decency. Reasoning… to know when you are effecting good or bad towards others. Justice… to give and receive somewhat equally. Decency… to practice affection with patience, self-denial, humility, and dependence on another, higher lover.

That higher love to which he refers is charity (agape). You can have the same affection for liberalism or conservatism and it can get out of whack in a real hurry if unchecked. Your dislike for Bush and his policies is not enough without showing how charity comes through in your dislike.

We have confusion however. The moral and ethics to which you refer are not possible unless we agree that truth is objective, that there is right and wrong, good and evil. We are in the grasp and I think demonic grasp of subjectivity where defining our morals and ethics is blurred because no one can say what is right or wrong because everyone has their own idea about that.

Lewis doesn’t support subjectivity because charity is not subjective and because a redeemed affection will be true affection only if charity is borught to bear.

Posted by: ILIndCon at March 6, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #131674

Craig,
“From the right, what concerns me about the current state is the lack of ideas from the democratic party.”

My guess is that it will be a while before this is addressed the way you’d like to see it. There are ideas out there, of course, a lot of ideas, a plethora of pinatas, if you will, but at this point no simple, unified, marketable themes. I’ve been saying it for a while, and this weekend a conservative talking head, Kristol, said it too: there’s no reason for the Democrats to offer ideas while the Republicans self-destruct.

Expect the Dems to offer their version of a ‘Contract for America’ this fall. There’s just no reason to offer anything before then, it just provides a unifying target for Republicans, and runs the risk of the ideas being stolen. Dems cannot enact any ideas right now, not with the branches of government in Republican hands. That’s just the way it is. Pottery barn rules- Republicans own the current state of affairs.

Expect the Republican cries to grow louder as the situation deteriorates. The consequences of the Bush administration’s disastrous decisions will continue to ripple through the economy and abroad.

The ‘no ideas’ concern is extremely easy to quash- it’s only a matter of timing.

Now is not the time.

Posted by: phx8 at March 6, 2006 4:45 PM
Comment #131699

phx8:

That is because the Democratic party isn’t running on principal right now. It’s principals will be whatever they believe they need to win in the fall. Sort of a Clinton, “I make up my core values as I go” approach.

Specific programs can wait. Other than prochoice, I am not really sure what the party stands for.

In terms of watching the Republicans implode, the democratic leadership’s popularity is imploding at the same rate.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 6, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #131708

Craig-
What drew my attention to these passages, and what lead me to write this entry were the passages where he critiques the notion of glossing over the misdeeds of the nation. I think he’s write when he says that this creates either a state of denial, or leads down the road to disillusioned cynicism.

This is what I was afraid would happen if we took the War on Terror off on a tangent. We had an honest beef with the terrorist, and genuine self interest in taking them out. While there are good reasons to depose Saddam, and getting rid of him was good, the nation’s interest in taking him out had no such clear cut reason, once the threat of terrorism and WMDs from there was taken out of the equation.

The question of if you vote Democrat is up to you on an individual case-by-case basis. What I would encourage Republicans, Democrats, and others to do, is not blindly vote for candidates or politics, but consider the cababilities of who we’re putting in congress. Good capabilities means less effort needed to gain good reputations.

Honesty, as I said in my last post, is the best policy. If we volunteer that we have done wrong, and that our actions have been controversial and strongly disliked, it can’t be sprung on us by critics seeking to discredit us when we try to whitewash or go jingoistic in our appeals to the Middle East. If we, at the same time, offer a compelling portrait of what there is to be proud of in our nation’s history and our nation’s present, I think we can convince at least some people that our successes as a nation merit imitation of our policies and alliance with our interests.

IllIndCon-
One could argue that Bush has deified Friendship, partisanship, and other forms of the first two loves, and thereby made demons out of them. One could say his reliance on his advisors, his party, and his friends, is a prime example of what Lewis wrote of in terms of friendship becoming a Demon when it’s exclusivity became too encapsulating.

Take the cases of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. In the Tillman’s case, the Army presented Tillman as having died a hero’s death, only to reveal later that the death was a friendly fire incident. In Lynch’s case what was actually was a bad accident was hyped into a heroic last stand. In both cases, the untruth of the stories given has undermined morale and encouraged cynicism and distrust- and rightly so. The facts simply weren’t as they were given, so we have to consider the people giving us this information as suspect. Unfortunately, these people misinforming us are also the ones running the war and the government.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t reflect pride in one’s country, but instead an abominable lack of love for the honest opinion of your countrymen. You only would hype up such stories and push that kind of Bullshit because you don’t think you can get what you want without lying to people.

I think our country deserves better than that. If it’s not the Democrats, then we can choose again, and punish that party as well for falling short. Personally, I think the Democrats have better potential for working past the B.S. and getting things done, but I could be wrong, and I would rather my party get a beating at the polls because of that than see my country suffer for my party’s ineptitude. Which means me and folks like me should make it clear that we want a government focused on getting things right. Anything else is unacceptable.

For the time being, though, we have to deal with the Bush administration first.

Phx8-
Craig is right when he says this is not enough for us to do. We got to get on the ball, if only to demonstrate to people that voting for us is not merely a negative commentary on the Republicans. If we go that route, even if we win, it will rightly be easy come, easy go.

The Republicans are on the path to implosion, but that is no reason to keep slacking on these thing. We can’t sit around in fear of being criticized by the Republicans. No, instead we must be the inspiring leaders they are not, for both the country’s sake, and our own. If we can’t defend our ideals against the attack of an imploding, ideologically self-contradictory party like the Republicans are now, what chance do we have to win any kind of mandate to turn things around?

It’s time to get our asses in gear, and stop being the quiet minority party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #131712

Stephen & Craig,
I know it sounds cynical, but from a strategic point of view, there’s simply no need to advertise principles. Not now. Provide detailed policies and alternatives at a later date? Absolutely. Provide them now? Pointless. Now, core values can be brought to the fore at convenient opportunities, but only as a contrast to Republican implosions. Why throw them a lifesaver? Why not throw them an anvil? Advertising principles just gets in the way of the sinking Republican agenda.

So, Craig, perhaps you’re considering voting Democrat or Green :-) , and looking for a reason? That’s great. But remember- you’re not voting today. The election is in November. As interesting as all the rest may be, November is what counts.

Posted by: phx8 at March 6, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #131724
In some ways it seems to me that part of “the problem” is that the democratic party is divided, and speaks with so many voices.

I guess the Denocrats are free-thinkers and the Republicans all share one brain.

Posted by: Pat at March 6, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #131727

I’d like to touch on a personal thought. One of a day my father’s family spent together.

It was a routine cook-out. We showed up, we ate, we stood around and laughed. Dad said to go upstairs and check out the photo albums he had laid on the guest bed. His whole life lay on the bed. Photos from his school, every photo he is backrow/center. Articles in the local paper. One clip is sporting his bantam hens, Pancakes and Waffles. Another quoting the local paperboy saying “If you want it, you have to earn it”. That’s my dad!
Forever the Optimist, at 72 years of age he is a driver for a local mortuary. He delivers caskets. He told us about caskets and different customs and different materials. He told us of the “Temporary Coffin” for those who are to be cremated. He has delivered wooden coffins for those who need them. He is a very knowledged man.

He told me he has never seen Washington, D.C. in such a state.

I told him it was his fault.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 6, 2006 8:27 PM
Comment #131732
For the life of me the only thing I can say clearly (on Iraq) that the democratic PARTY stands for, is that Bush’s handling of the war has been poor

Sure. Democrats are saying they will deal with Iraq as it exists, not as they want it to be in some wacky fantasy world where insurgents are “rejectionists” and 5,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security forces are described as “210,000 Iraqis that are trained and equipped”.

We’re offering reality. It’s not as much fun as fantasy, but it gets the job done.

from a strategic point of view, there’s simply no need to advertise principles

phx8, I think you mean there’s no need to advertise specific policies and tactics. But Democrats have even done that on Iraq. Go back and re-read John Kerry’s campaign speech at New York University.

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

Excellent article, Stephen. Thanks.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 6, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #131733

Phx8

We look forward to the new Dem ideas.

Your point is interesting. You don’t want to express the ideas until just before the election so that nobody has time to criticize or steal them.

So you are saying that they couldn’t stand up to more than a couple of weeks of close scrutiny. Or they would be stolen. Wouldn’t it be okay if a good idea is adopted by others?

This sounds a lot like Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War. The plan was so secret that even today we don’t know what it was.

Maybe the Dem plan is so secret that even they don’t know what it is. I suspect that besides hating Bush, nothing unites Dems. That is why they fear to articulate a plan. They have no leader. They need a Newt, but they have nobody with the leadership ability or the ideas.

So let me tell you about the Dem strategy.

The Dem strategy is to make things seem so bad that they will be the only alternative. That is why they take joy in every setback and find sadness in sunshine and flowers. But being the non option doesn’t really sell. Don’t count on moving into majority status anytime soon unless you can offer something and I think you got nothing but hot air.

Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #131734

Phx8

By counselling not revealing principples until a couple of weeks before the November elections, you are playing into the hands of us who believe the Democratic Party has no principles. If oua re afraid your “principles” can’t stand up to scrutiny or attack, you are saying they have no substance. As a libertarian and someone who tries to be an independent thinker, I look for principles in those who ask for my vote. At the present time, I find noting in either major party that thrills me.

If candidates for both parties would stand up and say: “Here I stand, and here’s why”, then I and those who are looking for something to support, would be able to make a choice. As it is, both sides are saying “Trust me”. Sorry folks, I remember the Isuzu commercials from a few years ago. No sale.

Posted by: John Back at March 6, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #131737

“From the right, what concerns me about the current state is the lack of ideas from the democratic party.”

And this from one I assume to be a supporter of the adminstration of GWB, which has slowly been exposed as nothing more than a very organized Republican marketing scam created in the sewers of the American political, business, religious, and media communities.

Laughing from afar.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at March 6, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #131738

Someone said on a thread that they don’t trust their local government offical.

That is probably why this whole thing isn’t working. If you can’t trust the guy you’re looking at then who can you trust?

I’m going to certique, cirtique, kerteek, the message and not the messenger who said he would rather trust his federal government than his local government.
I think his message is idiotic. And , that type of message could only be delivered by a hopeless dependent.
Relying on a federal government because you don’t trust your local government is idiotic.


Posted by: Weary Willie at March 6, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #131739

There is merit in the notion that we don’t want to simply put out ideas piecemeal to be picked apart in isolation from other parts of our platform, but I think it’s fairly important that when we put out our cohesive platform out there, that we do so early and then get out there supporting it.

This platform doesn’t have to be comprehensive. It doesn’t have to be inflexible. In fact, I think it’s fairly important that our platform demonstrate that we’re flexible and practical thinkers, not merely ideologues chanting a creed. The most important thing about the contract with America or any campaign platform is not necessarily the literal promises. There’s almost an expectation that circumstances in the real world will force changes in those plans. No, the most important thing is what all these things say about a candidate, and what the actions that follow say about the reality of that initial impression.

We need substantial proposals put together on government ethics, corporate finance reform, tax policy, foreign policy, especially in terms of the fight against al-Qaeda, and other things. We have to show ourselves to be distinct in our thinking, and convince people that this is a good thing. Then we have to follow through on the message we presented voters afterwards. This is especially important if we don’t come out of the elections a majority.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 6, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #131751
This platform doesn’t have to be comprehensive. It doesn’t have to be inflexible. In fact, I think it’s fairly important that our platform demonstrate that we’re flexible and practical thinkers, not merely ideologues chanting a creed.
If you are flexible then you are chanting a creed. You can’t be trusted if you are flexible. Define Practical thinkers. What are they, exactly? If you have to define them then they aren’t very practical, are they?

Practical thinkers don’t have time to chat about on the web fomenting rumor and conjecture. They just get up, go to work, and come back home again thinking they’ve paid their taxes and it’s time to leave them the frack alone. What is it you have against that?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 6, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #131754

This is really sad. No ideas that can be revealed. No ideas that won’t change tomorrow. No ideas.

The reason why Dems love to hate Bush is because it absolves them of the need to be positive.

Could you all maybe let us in on one idea?

Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #131765

My views about Democrats do not necessarily reflect those of management.

First, I would observe that in a midterm election, it’s a partisan affair. Third party candidates and parties are irrelevant, utterly irrelevant. Practically speaking, it will be either Democrats or Republicans in control of Congress. Libertarians don’t matter. Greens don’t matter either, much as I admire their focus.

Second, midterm elections are intensely local, which is a matter of organization, a matter of motivating the proverbial grass roots. We’ve all seen the statistics. Congress is awful, Congress is terrible, get rid of all of them- except for my congressman.

Positioning a party’s platform before going into an election is important, but I think most people are overrating the experience. For example, the Republicans won big in the 1994 midterms; yet they introduced the Contract on America only 3 months before the election.

Now, as for as core values, position, and so on, political junkies can visit the links mentioned by others earlier in this thread, or see the positions on the left-leaning site Dailykos.

“We need substantial proposals put together on government ethics, corporate finance reform, tax policy, foreign policy, especially in terms of the fight against al-Qaeda…”

Sure. Six months from now. Meanwhile, let the Republicans stew in their own juices. Enjoy the sight of them actually basting each other.

Jack, while I wouldn’t phrase it quite the same way, I’d basically agree. Here’s how I’d phrase it.

It’s not like the Democrats are shoving the Republicans over a cliff. The Republicans are driving the party’s SUV at top speed towards the cliff, they’re stomping on the accelerator, spending more and more on totally useless crap, racking up deficits and debts for ten-gallon hats and nuclear attack submarines, slapping each other’s backs and talking about purchasing a Hummer next time, even as the SUV speeds off the edge into space. They seriously believe 140,000 imaginary trained Iraqi troops will miraculously appear like angels, support the studded wheels, and make the SUV fly. They can fly, the Neocons can fly, and they can clap and believe and make Schiavo dance and Tinkerbelle glow in her last throes…

Yeah, Jack, I’d phrase it more like that.

Posted by: phx8 at March 6, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #131777

The love of our country is not enough to keep us on the right course. We must have morals and ethics that take the place of patriotism when it begins to become arrogance rather than the simple love of home and mindful, conscientious celebration of the good deeds and good men and women of the past.—$$$$$$—What a pile of crap this cs lewis post is. and the left still can not figure out why they lost power or how they are ever going to get back America from the evil George Bush and the mindless lockstep Conservatives.I will let you in on a little something, no sitting in the middle of the road carpetbagger left-wing liberal lesbo demicommie crowned queen will ever get back the America the left has flushed down the crapper. What the dims refuse to understand is the simple fact that little pee-on poor bottom-feeders like me have been paying more attention to what your kind have done to this country and are trying to do than are willing to admit to. and we know who you are and what you are. You all cut your owen throats and we are squeezen your rotting festering political corpses dry all the way to 2008 and beyond. As for myself I will dip my bullets in pigs blood and stand my ground in the face of evil—-$$$$$$—- thank you very much.

Posted by: angry white man at March 6, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #131779

Stephen:

Craig- What drew my attention to these passages, and what lead me to write this entry were the passages where he critiques the notion of glossing over the misdeeds of the nation. I think he’s write when he says that this creates either a state of denial, or leads down the road to disillusioned cynicism.

I see that. I also see in a broader context that the cynicism in Washington, (the atmosphere), is as much of the problem as the Bush administration.

For instance, when I look at the Democratic leadership in a time of war, I don’t see principals. I see petty, self indulgence. I see an opposition party that doesn’t give a damn about what you just wrote. They appear so transparent in their lust for power and “one up manship”.

I don’t see a Democatic majority as and improvement in character, not even in the slightest. I just see self interest and lust for power. “Now I get my chairmanship”. To hell with the country, just give me a chairmanship!! Look and Kennedy, Pelosi etc etc.

I am not going to become a part of a party with Howard Dean at the head. Character would be firing Howard Dean. After all, as a moderate Republican, I am someone Democrats should be trying to recruit. But your leader said “I had Craig Holmes (ooops Repubicans) and everything they stand for.” And Democrats just stood buy and watched.

Does the Democratic party have any character of note? Is there any character that would lead any objective observer to think we would be better off?

An imprortant part of character is being able to look beyond your own self interest. I think Congress should change hands about now. Splt government works pretty well. As someone near the political center of the country (just right of center), I don’t see it, AT EXACTLY THE TIME OUR COUNTRY NEEDS IT!!!

For me to consider voting Democratic, the party would have to through out its leadership and start over. My hope rests in the next generation of leaders.

Craig.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 7, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #131785

phx8,

WTF?

To tell you the truth, I think it would be pretty interesting to see what would happen if the Dems gained control of congress. Would they immediately start with impeachment? Hopefully. That way, the American people can see first hand what they really stand for, partisan politics first and foremost. Admit it. The Democrats have NO ideas and they’re going to try for the next six months to come up with some kind of political jingle. Maybe I’m “misunderestimating” the great ones like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charley Rangel, Barbara Boxer, and of course the GOAT, Hillary Clinton. Such spectacular leaders with profound ideas. How ever will we get by until these people take power? How have we lived without them?

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #131789

Oh yeah, and Stephen,

It’s interesting that you use the works of a Christian theologian when it (abstractly) agrees with your viewpoint, but your party has been trying to systematically remove all semblances of Christian thought from the public square. The ACLU is part of what makes your party so repulsive to the majority of Americans. You’ll never get anywhere until you end your senseless War on Christianity.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #131795

Duano:
Time for you to move to Ave Maria Land.
Craig:
Ann Coulter Spouts worse venom at the Democrats
and not a word from the Republicans denouncing her. If you are proud to be a member of the same party as Angry White Man, then guess what? We do
hate you.

Posted by: Happy White Man at March 7, 2006 12:54 AM
Comment #131811

“Could you all maybe let us in on one idea?
Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2006 11:00 PM”

Jack,

Solid opinions on issues? There are too may to list. Here’s just a few:

Jim Pederson of Arizona challenging Jon Kyl:
http://www.pederson2006.com/issues.asp

Jon Tester of Montana challenging Conrad Burns:
http://www.testerforsenate.com/?page_id=8

Sherrod Brown of Ohio challenging Mike DeWine:
http://www.sherrodbrown.com/issues

Chuck Pennachio of Pennsylvania challenging Rick Santorum
http://www.chuck2006.com/facts.asp

Rosalind Kurita of Tennessee challenging Bill Frist
http://www.kurita2006.com/?sectionid=22§iontree=22

I could go on. It’s just nonsense to say that none of the Democrats have any ideas on the issues. I personally don’t want a bunch of “clones” marching in step to something along the lines of a “Contract with America”.

It will be the melding of minds and the consideration of a variety of ideas that will result in true solutions to America’s problems.

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at March 7, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #131812

Happy White Man,

What does that mean? You can’t see why the majority of Americans(Christians) distrust the Democrats when they have the ACLU in their corner? “Separation of church and state” cannot be found in the U.S.Constitution(It can be found, however, in the U.S.S.R.Constitution) That phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson, who attended church every Sunday IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. He’s rolling in his grave right now knowing how you people have used his words for an assault anthem on Christianity. If you don’t have a valid point to argue, then don’t post my name.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #131815

And as far as Howard Dean goes, if someone like that sawed-off little douche nozzle hates me, I must be doing something right.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 1:36 AM
Comment #131819

KansasDem,

None of the ideas on any of those links aren’t things that Republicans are already talking about. The only thing the Dems add to it is “trust us, we can do it better”. I’m glad you posted the site of Sherrod Brown, who is challenging my Senator, Mike DeWine in November. I’m going to regrettably have to vote for DeWhiner again, because Paul Hackett, an Iraq war vet, got railroaded by your beloved party. Sounds like just one of the great ideas that will solve our country’s problems.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 2:19 AM
Comment #131820

Here’s the LINK SHOWING HOW THE DEMS SCREWED A POTENTIAL GREAT LEADER OUT OF A RACE.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 2:29 AM
Comment #131823

Duano,
Guess who said this:

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter” (Works, Vol. iv, p. 365).”

Jefferson was a Deist, at best. Would you like to hear more of Jefferson’s words? There are web sites detailing his opinions on Christianity, lots and lots of words, and if you think Jefferson was a Christian, you’re in for a shock.

Try again.

Posted by: phx8 at March 7, 2006 3:02 AM
Comment #131827

phx8

I never said Jefferson was a Christian. I said he went to church every Sunday in the House of Representatives. He was vehemently against any kind of thought control like the liberals try to implement under the banner of “separation of church and state”. You don’t have to be a Christian to want to defend Christian principles from attacks by zealots of the Church of Atheism, just like you don’t have to be a Jew to believe that the Holocaust was a horrendous atrocity.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 3:48 AM
Comment #131830

Duano,

Look what Paul Hackett’s up to now:
Paul say’s, “I’ve joined with IAVA PAC because of the hope other Iraq and Afghanistan Vets running for office represent. Currently, not one person in Congress debating this war has served in it. The result has been a total lack of credibility on the issue to challenge the President.”
from: http://www.hackettforohio.com/newsroom/129/continuing-the-fight

Check out http://www.iavapac.org/about.html

Among the leadership names are General Wesley K. Clark and Bob Kerrey. While it is a bipartisan effort they don’t have much good to say about Dubya.

KansasDem
PS: this also gets us back to what Stephen’s original post was about anyway. BTW, great post Stephen.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 7, 2006 3:59 AM
Comment #131831

It’s fine if they don’t have anything good to way about GW, who does lately, anyway? I was just pointing out how the Dems shafted Hackett the moment it was in their political interests.

Posted by: Duano at March 7, 2006 4:50 AM
Comment #131832

Sadly, the conservative voice is absolutely correct in their critism of the democratic party in that we are PLAYING THEIR GAME, politics, instead of giving America what America really wants, HONEST GOVERNMENT. If the democrats in power, not only governmental power, but also party power, stopped politicking and started leading, we would control both houses of congress and the white house by inauguration day 2009.

Fearing that they will be accused by conservatives of ‘cutting and running’ democrats hedge their support for the Murtha plan for immediate withdrawal from Iraq… making a ‘wrong’ ‘right’

Fearing that they will be charged with ‘raising taxes’, they hedge their support for restoring tax levels to the pre-bush levels, and reversing the sky-rocketing national debt… making a ‘wrong’ ‘right’.

Fearing that they will be charged with ‘impeding freedom of speech’, they hedge their support for laws that minimize the powers of political donors… making a ‘wrong’ ‘right’.

It’s about time democratic leadership stopped fearing bad words to support good ideas.

I don’t know anything more about Paul Hackett than what I read in the article cited and linked by duano. I read NOTHING in that article that indicated to me that the democrats nefariously derailed his campaign other than unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo. What I did read was that he was weighed in the balance by circumstance, and found wanting.

Far be it from me, the son of a lifer in the USMC, to question the intestinal fortitude of an ex-marine, but the fact is, HE QUIT.

He SAYS his word is his bond… but when he accepted that half mil in campaign contributions in the final quarter of 2005, he was, in effect giving his word to run.

He SAYS he feels he got fucked by the democratic party because they inticed him in and then pulled the rug out from under him. Whether he is right or wrong about that, do we really want a leader who can be ‘politicked’ out? Don’t we have enough of them in Washington on both sides of the aisle? Win or lose, Hackett should have picked himself up from the real or perceived rug-pulling, and he should have fought to ‘set the wrong right’.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 7, 2006 5:37 AM
Comment #131839

Weary Willie-
If I’m flexible I’m chanting a creed. Hmmm. No, it could just mean that I’m willing to consider more than one option about how to do things, maybe even invent a few if I don’t see the right one in front of me. Just the same as Practical thinking could mean just that: consideration meant to yield good real world results as opposed to satisfying some ideology.

Practical thinkers don’t have time to chat about on the web fomenting rumor and conjecture. They just get up, go to work, and come back home again thinking they’ve paid their taxes and it’s time to leave them the frack alone. What is it you have against that?

I don’t quite get the logic by which you claim that I have something against practical thinking. When I tell people to do the things that would create that kind of image, I mean to do the things that create that reputation from substance. It’s not merely the call to seem like practical thinkers, it’s the call to be such, and thereby naturally express it in one’s actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2006 8:32 AM
Comment #131841

Jack-
The Problem, Jack, is that you consider the leadership in Washington the sum total of who we are as a party. That is a fairly unfortunate underestimation of the character of my party.

angry white man-
You are blind to the character of many people in this country and that is sad. Many love America unconditionally, even if they don’t fit into the narrow definitions you’ve offered for who’s patriotism really means something. I did not quote “My country, right or wrong”, just to mollify folks like you. That is what many Democrats believe. You may think that our only good course is one of racism, religious confrontation, and annihilation, but we Democrats and liberals believe there is another way.

And no, it’s not what you think. The folks on the Far Right seem to have developed their opinions of Liberals during the McCarthy era and not revised their opinion since. A pity, really, because it deprives us of the opportunity to have some real debates.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2006 8:41 AM
Comment #131847

Stephen,

Thanks for the gracious response.

You are absolutely correct about the proclamation of truth and you site Tillman and Lynch as examples.

I think we all agree that the USA is not a perfect country. It has its seemy underbelly but so do all nations and peoples. Demonizing one group to make your own shine is not the way to get things done (be it Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, etc.) because it only clouds the issues.

We do deserve better and we deserve it from not just Bush and his administration but all administrations. But I wonder, at the core, if our elected representatives are afraid. I wonder if they are afraid of the backlash if the truth be told. I wonder if we, as a people, are ready for truth. I firmly believe we are whatever it may be. Because I believe in the resolve and ingenuity of our people to face it and fix whatever needs fixing. But I think the fear that may beset us all is the if the truth is told, we won’t like how it feels because of the many things that will need to change and many of our trusted institutions and programs may just collapse under the weight. Charity will drive away our fears and redeem our affections but there may be pain involved in the process.

Posted by: ILIndCon at March 7, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #131910

Craig-
Why should you vote Republican if all they say is no more loveable or fair than what Dean says? Frankly, I’m not a Democrat for his sake. You say you want to find Democrats with principles. Well, discounting the whole party for the sake of the few at the top is not the best way to do that. Reform comes easiest from the grassroots. If we get good Democrats in on the ground floor, those delegations can change the equations of power higher up.

Duano-
Just because one doesn’t advocate Christian dominance of the public domain doesn’t mean ones fighting a war on Christianity. Personally, I would like to see my fellow Christians out there focus on more than just sexuality when they speak of morality. But Christianity, like any religion, can be invoked in the name of hypocrisy.

Additionally, the external secularization of the public sphere serves a crucial purpose: It protects religion elsewhere. We in America do not get into civil wars, riots, or other tussles about religion because nobody can tell anybody else what to do, and no religion, much less sect or denomination, enjoys the official favor of our government.

We shouldn’t have our government pushing religion on us. That’s not their job. Their duty is to a wider constituency than just their fellow religionists.

As for Hackett, I regret that some of my leaders have taken that path. I wish him the best and hope that he comes back up to run again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #131917

Stephen,

Excellent post. We all need to occasionally think about what real patriotism is
and what it is not. Cynics love to manipulate our love for our country and twist
it into a means to justify their own selfish political ends. Witness the renaming
of the WEARESCAREDSHITLESS ACT as the PATRIOT ACT. Some even confuse patriotism
with hubris and others claim criticism of political leaders is unpatriotic. Amazing!

Posted by: RMD at March 7, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #131935
To tell you the truth, I think it would be pretty interesting to see what would happen if the Dems gained control of congress. Would they immediately start with impeachment?

Hopefully.

I think you answered your own question there Duono!

Posted by: Pat at March 7, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #131942

“As for Hackett, I regret that some of my leaders have taken that path. I wish him the best and hope that he comes back up to run again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2006 01:29 PM”

Stephen,

If you haven’t done so yet, please check out Hackett’s current involvement in bringing honest and rational change to our government:

http://www.iavapac.org/about.html

Note that among their Endorsement Criterion they state:

“Guaranteeing the exhaustion of diplomacy options by the President prior to approval for military conflict.”

Hackett and others, including Bob Kerry and Wesley Clark, are far from being “out of the loop”! Our government is not shaped by only those who achieve public office. Quite often it’s those working in the background who achieve the most and recieve the least recognition.

Party affiliation must come second in restoring honesty and integrity in Washington DC. Time will tell which party is more open to change, but change is coming albeit slowly!

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at March 7, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #131955

Democrats—-$$$—- are blind to the character of many people in this country and that is sad.—-$$$—- I was once for the most part of my life a democrat I did not leave the party the party left me my family and freinds. It was democrats who showed me the way to racism, religious confrontation, and annihilation.You injoy painting me as far right I take great comfort in fact that I have moved far beyond holy-roller right-winger to a place were debate is a defeatest propaganda thumb-sucking security blanket that the left wraps them selves in with sanctimonious splinder.—-$$$—- The folks on the Far Right seem to have developed their opinions of Liberals during the McCarthy era and not revised their opinion since.—-$$$—-You conveniently forgot to add the Carter and Cliton era were opions turned to action in 2000 and still to this day. action speakes louder than finely tuned left-wing liberal Demmie-commie socialist, collegiate, we are the true patriots of america not you diatribe brand of dysentery spued forth in this heart felt I hear the band playing patriotic post. —-$$$—-I don’t know who this Happy white man is but he is a frad I am the extream right-wing conspiracy hillary warned you about and there are millions of angry white men who live there patriotism every day we have the power and we will use it. I understand Nancy Pusslousey might unvail a plan in a coulple of weeks mabey that might help democrats, shore gives me a warm fuzzie feeling.

Posted by: angry white man at March 7, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #131975

AWM:

You are really freaking me out, man. Put away the crystal meth and Everclear and pick up a freakin’ dictionary, before I just stop trying to read your posts because I am SO not following you.

Stephen:

OUTSTANDING article.

All:

I agree that it is not the time or the place to go with politics as usual regarding some sort of secret platform that will be revealed at some strategically advantageous time relevant to the election. F*ck all that.

We as Americans are starving for leadership. Drowning in ineptitude and choking on corruption. Crying out for accountability, for honesty, for a bloody decent idea for a change. How hard is that? Who will be the brave soul who recognizes this opportunity - who will have the wits (doesn’t take much) to realize that NOW is the time to grab the attention and imagination of the country’s unrepresented and ignored centrists and engage them with uncalculating and logical frankness?

But I wonder, at the core, if our elected representatives are afraid. I wonder if they are afraid of the backlash if the truth be told.

Aye, there’s the rub.

Somebody’s gotta step up and let us know the straight skinny. Let us know just how morally bankrupt all of them are. Let us know just how little we are represented and how much they are bought and paid for by corporations who don’t really give a damn which party is in charge. Somebody has got to give up the ghost, drop some dimes up in here, invigorate this nation and get this party started.

And I don’t really care what party they come from. But to have a plan now, to have some good news for a change and to not share it, to hold out until the air is ripe with stench or until the news will benefit a select few - that is not charity. That is not patriotism. That’s just lousy gamesmanship.

Posted by: macsonix at March 7, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #131994

macsonix—-$$$—-dessent is my only drug. I am not the lost ship cast adrift on a dark sea of uncertainty serching for a beam of light to guide myself home by. May I recommend drawing little Hitler mustaches on pictures of George Bush it will make you feel a lot better.

Posted by: angry white man at March 7, 2006 8:37 PM
Comment #132020

In case nobody has heard this…..

Yahoo! Alerts Yahoo! News - My Alerts - Edit Alert
Tuesday, March 7, 2006, 7:57 PM PST
SUGAR LAND, Texas (AP) Rep. Tom DeLay has won the GOP nomination to the House in his first election since he was indicted and forced to step aside as majority leader.


Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 7, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #132036

Stephen,

I agree that the government shouldn’t be pushing religion on its citizens, which is why I am against the establishment of atheism as a state religion. The religion of atheism is being crammed down our throats constantly. Right now, federal judges are deciding whether to strip “IN GOD WE TRUST” from our currency in order to please one atheist. It’s not about keeping Christianity from dominating, it’s about eradicating it altogether.

Posted by: Duano at March 8, 2006 1:53 AM
Comment #132040

Duano, the day an athiest wants to stamp ‘THERE IS NO GOD’ on your currency, you got yourself a complaint… and I will be with you 100%!!!
Until then you got nothing.

Posted by: thom houts at March 8, 2006 2:29 AM
Comment #132052

AWM-
You think debate is useless? I think name-calling is useless. You will not for one minute convince any serious liberal or even moderate of the rationality and truth of what you say, if all you can say about the Democrats and Liberals is that they’re poopie-heads.

I enjoy those occasions, sometimes rare, sometimes refreshingly common, when somebody on the other side and I agree. I’d like to believe that we have common values, and common needs, and that we can sometimes at least negotiate out a common solution to those. I believe the greatest tragedy of the last twenty-five years has been the right’s pulling away from that sensibility, towards one of isolation and anger, paranoia and rejection.

Duano-
Frankly, the “In God We Trust” Motto is not that troubling to me, but it is a legitimate question. If you think that somehow that is going to lead to forced atheism, I’m sorry, because there really doesn’t seem to be that drive in America, and the first amendment, even if it doesn’t allow government advocacy of religion, clearly prohibits any restriction of religion out there.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 8, 2006 8:25 AM
Comment #132054

not to mention atheism is NOT a religion.

Posted by: macsonix at March 8, 2006 8:31 AM
Comment #132087

I enjoyed the article, Stephen. I am in agreement with maxsonic’s post of 3-7. I would vote for the HONEST politician. But where are they and who are they? We have shoved this democracy down every country’s throats and do not live by it ourselves. Our present adminstration is more of an anarchy than a democracy. Why so secretive? Hey, we are all adults and we can understand what the issues are. What is it exactly that our gov’t needs to hide from us. I am tired of the corruption and the sobbing jerks crying after they got busted for stealing, bribing, filling their pockets full of money. I don’t feel any sympathy. I do feel it’s a sad state of affairs that we funnel so much money into a war that will not be won. And now we will sell our major ports to UAE..where will that money go? Into the war? What exactly will Mr Bush get out of this personally..there has to be a hitch. How about putting that money into this country..stop the crap and let’s rebuild us. Muslim people do not like our way of life..can you blame them. We watch as our president trys to make tax cut reformation for the rich into law..and yet millions are still uprooted because we couldn’t funnel any money in to help our own citizens. Both parties leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I used to consider myself Republican, then I became Democrat. Now I find I will vote for whomever I feel is the best for the job. In my own state, I voted for the Democratic Governor, who is floundering around trying to think of some way to bring this state back..the auto industry which we leaned on so heavily, is going down like the Titanic. I e-mailed my disgust to my Governor and swore I made a mistake and would not vote for her again..and I won’t. This week the state showed how much more all state government officials made..more than what they were worth. Mr DeVos is not my party, and he is making a move for governorship..he thinks he has ideas for jobmaking..I need to see the plan first, not the promise, but as the present governor is so ineffectual I will probably vote for him..even if it is outside my party. I get on these discussion groups and keep asking where in this country is the economy good? The Republicans think this is fact..I see it as farce. I get a lot of slams but no answers. And Stephen, as someone else was talking about great thinkers doing their jobs and just going home after work…those are the people we need in government. I don’t see any great thinkers there. How many screwups can an adminstration make before everyone just says “STOP!” We have had enough. You have made us hated by the world. You cannot change a country whose values are tied into their religion. You cannot balance the budget unless you pay more (after all you make more)and it should be equal taxes for equal amounts of moaney you make..no loopholes. You cannot sell the country to outsiders to maintain a losing war. Do you think we are not smart enough to handle our own country? I think we are. You just need to shut up and let us. And our country is definitely not being run by great thinkers..only great thinking in how to steal from those stupid enough to invest in your big corporation (Enron)so you can run off with their retirement money. I watched 60 Minutes last Sunday..it’s little wonder we are a mess. The medical industry, instead of helping the uninsured, charges them 5 times as much as the insured. This has to stop. What happened to the Hippocratic Oath..has it become the “hypicrit oath”. Two detainees were found hanging and it is being investigated as a homocide—one man’s legs would have had to been amputated if he had lived. And Rumsfeld’s order was to get information..no matter. What have we become? No better than our foes. There needs to be a change in government where there is no majority party. It needs to be equal, put the problems on the table and come up with answers to these problems..stop fighting amongst yourself and work for the people, not the money. If we made the pay a little less for these official jobs maybe we could deter the money mongers. Put a cap on their wages. In fact, let the people decide if you deserve a pay increase..and maybe you might get a 25 cent per hour increase like the rest of us. Collin Powell did not walk out of this administration for no reason. He was a man of conscience (even if he’s Republican). He was duped and pissed when he figured it out. And he walked away. Anyone can say that they are Christian..but you have to live it and walk it..not just say it. And they all look pretty heathen to me. You cannot have 2 God’s, it’s either God (and a life that shows it) or the god of money (which is what I see). I don’t believe church and government have to be tied into each other..but don’t tell me you’re Christian when you are raping the American people. I am not for the Electoral College either, it is outdated..used back in the early days when we had no mass communication..the popular vote should be what it takes to get elected. Nothing more. We, the people elect who WE want. And going back to 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney had a lot of wisdom in his speech. We are not stupid people and can run our own country without selling it off. I understand our forrests are now on the selling block. Hell, why not give it back to the people we stole it from. That’s fair. Our own history is one of shame. We killed millions of Americans when our ancestors came here. We almost wiped out an entire nation..for $$$$. We took away their arms (weapons) and proceeded to steal their country and their lives (men, women and children). And moved them into areas where they were doomed to die. Maybe this is our punishment for what we did.
I have never considered leaving this country..until now. I am much older..but if this continues, I’d rather live somewhere maybe not a rich nation, but at least a peaceful one. Our nation is divided as never before (maybe the Civil War)..and the hard heads have no intention of trying to resolve differences to come up with ethical solutions to our problems..nooo, like Angry White Guy there, resolve by violence. Don’t you think there’s enough of that. I have a young child at home..I want her safe not a target of some half-crazed radical. Even the IRA stopped after 9/11. Doesn’t that tell us something. I did have a good laugh at the “WEARESCAREDSHITLESS ACT”. That was funny, but it’s not us regular jon doe public that is scared..it’s our government that is trying to scare us..and we should be scared of our government, it has definitely changed. In the meantime, I am stashing away money..if the country continues as is..I will sell everything I have and head for Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway..any where that life is simple and I don’t have to worry about my kid growing up in hatred and violence. And where our values are higher than how much money I have and how much I own. I can live frugally and I don’t need a big house. If I can help someone and I have the money to send I’d do it. But things here make that an impossibility. I get a cost of living raise of 3%($40) and my cost of living tripled (cost of utilities and taxes). So who can I help when I can only cover my own bills. It’s a vicious circle without end.

Posted by: J Van Dyke at March 8, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #132093

In other news, Washington insiders are citing first quarter margin increases and falling jobless claims as evidence of a strengthening economy. Here’s analyst Twohundredgrandayear to break it all down for us.

Posted by: macsonix at March 8, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #132331

macsonix,

Muslims believe in the existence of Allah. Christians believe in the existence of God through Christ. Jews believe in the existence of Yahweh. Hindus believe in the existence of many deities. Atheists believe in the nonexistence of any diety. None of these beliefs can be proven to be true scientifically, so therefore all of these believers are taking a leap of faith to come to their respective beliefs. This phenomenon is called religion. Atheists have been able to pass themselves off as a nonreligion, resulting in the U.S. government giving their religion special protection from other religions, and special status among religions. This is a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment.
After spending a great deal of time studying world religions, I have found that atheism meets all the criteria of any other religion, and there are plenty of zealots and fundamentalists on the atheist side. Atheists are entitled to the free exercise of their religion, but not to have their religion established by the government. I could write a book on this subject, simply titled “ATHEISM IS A RELIGION”.
(Copyright laws apply here)

Posted by: Duano at March 8, 2006 11:51 PM
Comment #132337

—-$$$—-all you can say about the Democrats and Liberals is that they’re poopie-heads.—-$$$—-
stephen—- stephen—-of all the posts I have seen with your name on them this has gut to be the one most poitically power-charged verse you have ever spoken and it could very well be the first time I ever agreed with you on any of your posts—-$$$—- All you can say about the Democrats and Liberals is that they’er poopie-heads.—-$$$—- god that is so true. I must thank you for these words they will make great head lines on some of the outher posts I visit on line. You do have me all wrong if you think I wake up every day and kiss George W.Bush’s ass but he does have sweet tastey balls something you just never see hanging down from any democrat.—-$$$—-“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested,exiled,or hanged…President Abraham Lincoin…..and that defines every democrat with a camra in there face or a mic in there mouth that the left trots out. that scares me more than any thing George has done todate. what the hell are these fools going to do when the poopie really hits the blender? democrats have showen me nothing I can grab on to or rally around with and that is sad and I must say politically pitiful.

Posted by: angry white man at March 9, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #132352

Angry White Man, your anger does not entitle you to insult others on this web site, nor does it entitle you to spew flame-baiting rhetoric in the attempt to make others share your angry state. This will be your only warning before losing comment privileges at WatchBlog. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at March 9, 2006 1:54 AM
Comment #132362

Duano,

I’m agnostic. Please show me one time that an atheist tried to have atheism in any way “inscribed”, “prescribed”, or “proscribed” as a part of American life. We agnostics and atheists may object to the proclamation of “state endorsed” Christianity but I’m not aware of any effort to replace any religion with a proclamation stating that there is no God!

We simply object to being forced to sumbit to a set of laws set down by anyone else’s “God”. Displaying the ten commandments in a courthouse is just exactly that. A courthouse is recognized as a center of justice. If Christian law is displayed in that courthouse how can anyone but a Christian expect the proper administration of law in that venue?

I remember quite well a murder case being appealed in Nebraska because the judge prayed with the jurors before deliberation. What was he thinking? A court of law is no place for the practice of religion.

I could personally care less what’s written on my money but I can see the merits of the argument. I don’t understand the religious right getting their hackles up over it. After all, they’re not trying to replace it with “In No God Trust”.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 9, 2006 5:50 AM
Comment #132364

KansasDem,

Check out thisLINK. It seems a federal court has ruled that atheism is a religion.

Posted by: Duano at March 9, 2006 6:45 AM
Comment #132368

Duano-
Atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of it. I should know. I was once an atheist, in late childhood. Though I would not become a Christian for a decade more, at that point I ceased to be an atheist and became agnostic, spiritual, if you will.

Besides, by your logic, this country would be more religious if it had crosses and other symbols all over its documents and currency. I truly doubt that those who have a religious experience gazing at money are inspired to seek out the God of Abraham.

The American public seeks out religion or does not according to their own grace. The government is neither required nor desired to interfere in that.

Just because Atheism and Secular Humanism are philosophical rivals to religion, does not make them religions themselves. Nor does a practiced indifference or abstenance of official religious expression make the government atheist, or establish atheism, or anything like that. What it does is prevent the government from becoming a sectarian warground for those who want to raise their faith above all the others. You have to ask the question, concerning faith-based initiatives, as to what happens when the biases of those selecting who gets the Government’s money result in imbalances in the choices? How do we avoid the appearance of Government favoring one faith over all the others? Do we start supporting faiths by quotas? Do we include everybody who claims to have religious revelation, or do we select out certain ones as opposed to others?

In the end, I can only say that the reason why past presidents conservative and liberal didn’t mess with this is quite simple: because then the Government gets to choose what counts as a religion, can act upon that decision, and ultimately can create the appearance if not the reality of favoring certain sects and movements by who it selects to get the money.

I think the Government should be indifferent to religion, only acting to make sure that nobody in government can practice the prohibited controls or establishments of religion that the constitution outlaws.

All that said, the ethics and morality of religion should be a guiding force in the lives of our officials and bureaucrats. It should encourage a conscientious attitude concerning their position, their duties. The right hand need not know what the left hand is doing. The influence of religion in a governing official’s life need not express itself in support of that religion, and in fact should not, because the duty they’ve sworn is to a document which allows no favor or disfavor to fall on the religions of those he’s sworn to serve.

Angry White Man-

You will not for one minute convince any serious liberal or even moderate of the rationality and truth of what you say, if all you can say about the Democrats and Liberals is that they’re poopie-heads.

What is it that makes you feel that somehow we have to recognize a certain superiority in you? What qualifies you to be regarded by us as better than ourselves? Many Republicans, unfortunately, have traded in Leadership for arrogance. To be more precise, they’ve traded in the ability to persuade others outside their partisan group to follow them, for a false sense of entitlement to that cooperation.

With all that you guys have done to us, what in reality does entitle you to our cooperation in doing things your way? Though you quote Abraham Lincoln, I doubt you understand just how much the man would weep to see his country intentionally divided by the party he helped bring to prominence, and in a time of war as well. He fought to bring this country back together, to bridge the gaps of ideology that had separated Republican and Democrat, even as such gaps had brought Civil War.

How would that president react to such a successor, who at a crucial time in our history turned brother against brother to gain more political power?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 9, 2006 7:43 AM
Comment #132432

Duano,

So an inmate went to court to obtain his otherwise legal rights. I fail to see how that is a threat to Christianity.

Recognizing Atheism as a religion under the law threathens what exactly? If other religious groups can hold study groups why shouldn’t atheists be able to do the same?

The court didn’t rule that all other inmates must attend these study groups. The religious right is hell bent on limiting the rights of those who don’t follow their beliefs, not the other way around.

Maybe in your “perfect world” all non-christians would be rounded up and forced into “re-education” camps to restore America to it’s Christian greatness. Sounds like hell on earth to me.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 9, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #132445

A LITANY OF LIES, MISREPRESENTATIONS AND QUESTIONABLE STATEMENTS:

atheism is a religion.
we do not torture.
the Iraqi troops have made astonishing progress.
I am a uniter, not a divider.
the patriot act
the no child left behind act
the clean water act
the healthy forests act
we know where those WMDs are.
these wiretaps require a court order.
I don’t know Abramoff well, if at all.
we are fully prepared.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

Posted by: macsonix at March 9, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #132528

///
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Samuel Johnson got it right 200 yrs ago and it still stands. Flag-waving is not a substitute for policy. Gore Vidal has an article on TRUTHDIG, about the origins of the Patriot Act.

Local governments were the most unrepresentative and undemocratic of all until GWBush. They schedule the local elections when they know the least number of people will vote, instead of when the greatest number of people vote, regardless of the cost of paying for another election day.

Paragraphs are nice. They make for easier reading.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 9, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #132527

///
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Samuel Johnson got it right 200 yrs ago and it still stands. Flag-waving is not a substitute for policy. Gore Vidal has an article on TRUTHDIG, about the origins of the Patriot Act.

Local governments were the most unrepresentative and undemocratic of all until GWBush. They schedule the local elections when they know the least number of people will vote, instead of when the greatest number of people vote, regardless of the cost of paying for another election day.

Paragraphs are nice. They make for easier reading.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 9, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #132529

Duano,

From Encarta: Religion (NOUN); religion people’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life.

I am an athiest, i.e., I do not believe in a devine being, period.

You do.

You religious…me not religious…you Tarzan…me not Jane…

That is only one difference between us. Of far greater importance; You want everyone to believe as you do, live as you want them to, and I could care less whether anyone else is an athiest, and they can live any way they desire, as long as it has no direct ill effect on me.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #132555

does it entitle you to spew flame-baiting rhetoric in the attempt to make others share your angry state. Well well look who is calling the kettle black.—-$$$—-This will be your only warning before losing comment privileges at WatchBlog. Your cooperation will be appreciated.—-$$$—-You do a wonderful job of controling the free speach of right-wing nut-job hate freaks here at watchblog please keep up the good work and thank you.

Posted by: angry white man at March 9, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #132572

KansasDem,

I don’t disagree with the court’s decision. Quite the contrary, the court happens to agree with me that atheism is a religion. That inmate should have the right to practice his religion in a study group if other religions are allowed the same privledges. But let’s call it what it is, religion. I do care how people live their lives, not out of hate but out of compassion. That being said, nobody should be coerced to follow the precepts of any religion, mine or any other. We just have to make sure atheism is counted in that category.

Marysdude,

The definition you came up with proves my point. “People’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence of a diety.” Atheism is an opinion concerning the existence of a diety, isn’t it?

Stephen,

Agnosticism is the absence of beliefs in a diety.
Atheism is the belief in the absence of a diety.
Subtle difference, but a big difference regarding this argument. Agnostics are different from atheists. I think angry white man is really a liberal trying to make conservatives look like idiots on this site. If not, keep in mind I don’t agree with his hateful, grammar challenged crap.

Posted by: Duano at March 9, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #132598

Atheism: The belief that there is no God; the denial that God or gods exist; godlessness.

Webster’s New World Dictionary

Posted by: Duano at March 10, 2006 2:45 AM
Comment #132608

Duano-
An agnostic does not deny God, but has serious questions as to whether a supreme being or divine/spiritual force can be truly known well enough to merit the claims of revelation that crowd the world.

I should know: I was once agnostic myself. For me, there were some difficult questions that I had to find answers or conclusions for before I would feel good about making a profession of faith. C.S. Lewis said that one of the worst mistakes he made was making the profession of faith at his confirmation (or the Anglican equivalent) for his father’s sake, rather than out of true faith.

I don’t think Government should get itself entangled in religion. Not to say that good religious values shouldn’t enter into how things done; after all, the core of this article is the belief that the homeland should not be accorded the infallibility and worship we would give a God. I just believe that we should let church people run churches, and government people run governments.

Allowing government people, with their earthly power to regulate anything in our churches is a stepping stone to them running much if not all of it. Allowing Church people to run government functions is also a bad idea, both because we can presuppose divine authority in them, and because they can be lead to believe they have it themselves. Either way it would fall to the disadvantage of all others who have a stake in our Democracy, but who do not share the religion of those in charge.

That is not to say a preacher could not become an official, or an official a preacher on their offtime or retirement. That is to say, however, that they should recognize that they are granted worldly power in this country with certain strings attached. If they find those strings too objectionable, they should cut off the right hand that offends them, and resign from office.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 10, 2006 8:18 AM
Comment #132713

///
You can look up Dietrich Bonhoeffer, http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/ if you’re interested in why the government should stay out of religion. Religion should stay out of the government, as well. Otherwise, you end up with religions that justify ridiculous government policies, since they benefit from their connection to the government. We have that situation here with organizations benefiting from tax exempt status, pretending to be religions, when they are really only tax dodges for the wealthy people who run them.
///
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Posted by: ohrealy at March 10, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #175147

“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale & undermine the military are saboteurs & should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.” - President Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln never said this. Ever. This quote is a fabrication of Dr. J. Michael Waller who first wrote it in 2003 shortly before the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth gave it life in 2004. How pathetic has the Republican Party become that it insults the reputation of America’s finest Republican president for their political gain?

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too

Posted by: chancuff at August 12, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #177789

http://factcheck.org/article415.html

I can’t say enough good things about what Brooks Jackson did with my original TRUTH FROM AN HONEST MAN pamphlet I loaned him.

My great, great, grandfather, who I am named in honor of, made the supreme sacrifice for our country in Lincoln’s Union Army serving Stonewall Jackson his only defeat in the Civil War.

Diana Irey has “cut&run” from her use of this Lincoln quote. Write her “handler” Bill Pascoe at bill@irey.com and ask him. He’s the one who arranged this “runaway!”

Here’s some background:

http://community.cnhi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/4871074/m/664107374

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too

Posted by: chancuff at August 27, 2006 11:10 PM
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