Sunday, July 21, 2002
Bring Back "The Loyal Opposition"

I know I'm a politically insignificant ant in the boonies, but it does seem to this politically insignificant ant in the boonies that the degree of scorekeeping and political oneupsmanship going on within the leadership of The Republic and among pundits at all levels is unseemly given the degree of threat we remain under.

I'm not so naive as to imagine that political jockeying ought to or will cease just because we're in, or ought to be in, a war with people who want to kill if not all of us, most of us, us being, in this case, US nationals. But it does seem to me that the wake-up call of September 11, 2001, should include more than just preparation for and conduct of operations against those militant Islamists and other yahoos who worship the cult of suicide and martyrdom.

Look, people. Those murderous suicidal bastards are not going to make a distinction as to your politics regarding redistribution of income, regulation of accounting, or how much civil liberties can be infringed for security purposes. They want to kill you, whether you're a weekly churchgoing Christian, a secular Jew, or a libertine atheist.

That fact suggests to me that we need to reduce the frequency of occurance with which we demonize our political opponents. We no longer have the luxury -- as if we ever did -- of treating them as pariahs. They are our fellow countrymen, and the degree to which we can find common ground and accomodation with them regarding non-war issues impacts the degree to which we can successfully win the war we did not invite.

The ends do not justify the means; instead, the means determine the ends. Always. Life is not what the physicists would call a conservative system. The paths we take to get to desired outcomes matter, because two paths in life only lead to the same outcome to the degree that you choose to ignore other attributes that aren't the same when the attributes you are concerned about coincide.

I do not care to die because neither the political leadership of the nation nor the more influential among Beltway political operatives and media pundits nor even those other poltically insignificant ants in the wide-open world of the blogoverse could not refrain from sticking in the knife and giving it a good twist or two for old times' sake. Let it go, folks.

We have new, honestly life-threatening challenges to deal with. That doesn't mean that other disputes won't continue to arise or shouldn't be dealt with openly when there are differing opinions about how to procede. It does mean, to me at least, getting back to the idea of an openly loyal opposition, with greater frequency of emphasis on the loyal part than has been seen for a while.