I have always been a believer in what Andy Grove called "Disagree and Commit". Here's what I mean.
The workings of American politics is this: we exhibit our differences. We debate, wave signs, and support the campaigns of our choice. And then the election takes place, the right thing happens, and we all get behind the winner. Let's consider that again: after the election "The RIGHT THING has happened." This is the constitutional definition of the process. It is simply THE RIGHT THING.
We do not air our dirty laundry in public. We support those who we the people have brought to power. That's the beauty of America. It is not a monarchy by design. It is not a theocracy by design. It is not a dictatorship by design. It's the will of the people to be governed by their choices, and having chosen, the populace moves on.
One of the more incredible insanities harbored by the non-American peoples of the world is the theory sometimes expressed as: "We hate your government, but we love the American people." This shows an utter ignorance of the American process of government.
Well, that's fixed. Our enemies have it straight. On Thursday, the Arab news source, Aljazeera, posted an editorial on their website. The essence of the editorial was that the Arab extremists of the world "Get it." They now understand the American electoral process. This is the justification for targeting all American citizens. There are no "civilians". The "civilians" elect the people who make the policies that drop the bombs. We are all the government. Even the ones who don't vote. Kill enough Americans, maybe it will effect the vote, which in turn affects the government, which in turn stops something from happening that's pissing you off.
That's their theory, anyway.
It would be a good idea for more Americans to read Aljazeera. The miracle of the internet makes it possible for us to access the foreign press. Read and see how we are seen. Remember, that just like here in America, they feel their reporting is "fair and balanced".
Try for once, to understand. That's what's wrong with what we're doing now. The failures in the CIA intelligence, the failures on the ground, have all--each and every one--been due to an overwhelming arrogance. Utter unwillingness to understand the other side, if only so that he can be annihilated.
Make no mistake which side I am on and in that spirit I pray our leaders take a lesson from Sun Tzu. If you don't know who you are fighting, you will be killed by them. If you are not in their heads, they will surprise you time and time again, and the most troubling aspect of the war we started in Iraq is our never ending capacity to fail to understand. We fail to understand that all people base their philosophy and activities on the foundation that their position is centrist. Irrespective of how it seems to you--the person you are talking to, whomever he or she is, feels they have taken a rational, centrist position.
We fail to understand that religious extremists hear our leaders talking about a mandate from God, and they presume the words spouted are equivalent to those coming from their own clerics. That we will eventually blow ourselves up in their midst.
All these words for this
You are glad you are not me. You are glad you don't have to do business in Europe if there is a Bush victory in November. The disdain our leader shows for the rest of the planet is unprecedented in the history of our country, and it confuses everyone.
Yesterday the most powerful man in the free world said, in public, when speaking about his opponent, "...he wants our country to be subject to vetoes by COUNTRIES LIKE FRANCE," and he was too stupid to recognize that in trying to distance himself from Kerry, he hurled a tremendous insult toward the people of a country which has been our ally for the past 225 years. He refuses to recognize that 60 years ago we helped liberate France so that they could be free. Americans died for that. Their free expression of their displeasure with our actions is a direct result of American blood. They do not forget that. And they feel, as strange as it may seem to those for whom the world is red and blue, that they have the right to voice their opinion as a result of what we fought for.
Countries like France were good enough for thousands of our grandfathers to die for 60 years ago, and 20 years before that. Countries like France are trading partners. Technology centers. The seat of great culture. Hundreds of American war dead are buried there.
My guess is that most people who vote for George Bush next month will never have to sit across a dinner table from their European business colleagues and have to explain that retort. My guess is most people who vote for Bush will consider France the source of smelly cheese, bizarre inconsequential art, and overtly leftist philosophy. My guess is most of them couldn't say "thank you" in more than one language, and have never had the need to. The fact you can't get a good cheeseburger in Paris is enough reason for them to stay at home and watch the blather put out on satellite TV. We'll vacation in Dollywood. Never left the state, and never had a need to. They insist on speaking French. What more does anyone need to know about France?
The rest of us live on the Earth. We have to visit the world. We walk the streets of Tokyo, Paris, Munich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Taipei, Moscow, Dubrovnik, and Rome -- because we have to. We've spent more time in Osaka than Disney World. So the housewife in Chicago who's never been west of the Mississippi can keep the lights on, can feed her family, can get them the health care they need. Because we import much more than we produce in our country, because we're outsourcing all the work, and because we the people have no means to support ourselves otherwise.
We travel the world and do business with our partners--not just because they're there, because they're part of this planet. We share the same gravity and the same air. The same storms blast over all our countries. The same stars shine in our skies. Because the American economy can no longer keep itself afloat on its own--and so we need each other.
One of the sanest things said about the world stage was an off-hand comment by Ronald Reagan, that an attack by aliens would unify the world faster than any diplomacy.
While I pray for Mars to attack, I will work hard for the defeat of our president, who exhibits unbefore seen flippant arrogance toward the world while living in the White House. I will eventually have to explain this to my European and Asian business friends, and I will have to defend him if he wins.
Perhaps it's a Lenny Bruce style thing. Lenny didn't understand why war movies were rated "G" and porn was rated "X". Nobody died in porno movies. The most dangerous weapon, a pillow, mostly wound up under the woman's ass. But people are polarized by this sort of thing.
It was easier defending Clinton's blow jobs and the cum on Monica's dress than the Bush's collateral damage--10,000 Iraqi civilians. But hey, that's just me. I hope George is having as much fun with the casualty reports as Bill was having with his cigars. War is good wholesome American fun, and sex is dirty.
And to our enemies, I say--have no doubt. God does not want George W. Bush to win. George is praying to the same God you are, and simple logic tells you God doesn't give a shit about either of you.
Those of us who are leaving God out of this will kill you anyway.