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Regarding Dissent from Popular Opinion

  1. Mar 6, 2005 #1

    SOS2008

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    You have a point there. Though there seems to be some hypocrisy in this forum with complaints that humor is idiocy, yet hostility is just fine.

    Anyway, I made a statement in the earlier thread: "...I feel there has been a trend to suppress dissent in our country [the U.S.]..." and you responded that it isn't just a feeling, (i.e., it's real). For those who do not live in the U.S., or for that matter pro-Bush states, I've mentioned the numerous ribbons that can be seen on vehicles in "red" states such as Arizona (not to belabor this), however, I've thought I would get bumper stickers too that express my view. But I won't (anymore than I will openly discuss my political views) because it would adversely effect my relation with all these people around me, and quite frankly I wonder if I might find my tires slashed. If I can feel this way, even fear, what does this say about the direction America has gone? So all you right-wingers out there, just because you don't see liberal political paraphernalia, doesn't mean there are no liberals. Before you get elated about this, it just means you've succeeded in suppressing opposing views--the first step to destruction of our democracy.
     
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  3. Mar 6, 2005 #2

    loseyourname

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    It works both ways, buddy. Up here in the bay area, I wouldn't dare publicly express a conservative opinion. A pro-Bush bumper sticker would get me crucified. Heck, even I dare express a conservative opinion in class, I get gape-mouthed stares from my classmates: 'It's possible to be young and not liberal? By golly, it had never even occured to me.'

    For those incensed over the closing of the other thread, lighten up. Evo didn't do it to quiet dissent. She did it because she didn't realize all of the insults being thrown around were in jest.
     
  4. Mar 6, 2005 #3

    SOS2008

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    So are there a lot of liberal paraphernalia, such as anti-war stickers on all the vehicles there? If you did put a pro-Bush sticker on your vehicle, do you think someone might 'key' your vehicle? I really want to know.
    Sounds like you haven't been laid-off from your job a few times yet. (And I'm not saying this to be snide.)

    So than the issue of how America has become SO divisive needs to be addressed, and why I started the thread about the "culture war," which was fueled by Bush's polarizing personality and policies. It's hurting democracy in our country, and all I can say is I didn't vote for him if for this reason alone (and why I blame the right-wingers, because they support his nonsense). Doesn't this conversation give you the same cause for concern?
     
  5. Mar 6, 2005 #4

    loseyourname

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    This is just a response to SOS. I felt we were having a worthwhile discussion. Feel free to post your own experiences or thoughts, whoever you may be.

    Anti-war stickers? On vehicles, on houses, on windows, on backpacks, on bulletin boards, on city council resolutions (okay, maybe not). I don't actually have my vehicle with me up here, but I wouldn't put it past someone to key it. There are enough people drunk on the weekends.

    Odd that you say that. I actually was laid off from my last job.

    Not really. It's human nature to ostracize the other. I'd rather it didn't happen, but it rarely turns violent in this nation. Bush is a divisive figure because he is resolute. He doesn't make concessions and he doesn't care if he makes certain people unhappy. He isn't afraid to make a mistake, either. There are two different ways to look at it. If you disagree with his actions, you'll say that he's a simple-minded fool that heeds no good advice and goes his own path. If you support him, you'll say that he does what he honestly believes needs to be done, regardless of whether its popular or obvious.
     
  6. Mar 6, 2005 #5

    SOS2008

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    Ah there you are. (Not that it matters, but since you experienced the same confusion, I'm a female, sometimes known as "goofy girl") Okay, where were we...
    Well I think you know I'm not for suppression, and certainly not for crimes against personal property. I have one friend in that area, I'll tell them not to key your car (when you get one there). :smile:
    Ooops, sorry to hear that. I was conservative when I was younger (imagine that). Ah but the Ivy Towers and life's experiences have all changed that.
    I respect what you've said and your right to your belief. I believe many leaders have been polarizing, and there have been many divisive issues, such as the Vietnam War. But the "culture war" we are experiencing now is different in my opinion, and it has to do with management style (whether a parent with kids that fight, a manager with employees that fight, or what have you).

    Okay, I realize this is moving away from the topic of the thread (other than freedom to express my beliefs), but these hostilities are a result of bad leadership (a president who has taken sides with special interests, e.g., many leaders are religious but they don't leverage it for votes--or at least anyway they didn't use to). The president of a country must be neutral and represent all the citizens, because that is his/her job. It's not whether he is afraid to make a mistake, but whether he can admit it and change course as may be needed. I've referred to the old case study analogy of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs vs. the Cuban Missile Crisis before. After the disastrous Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy realized he was not getting correct information because no one in his administration wanted to express dissent or opposing opinion. He changed this, and was then able to handle the Cuban Missile Crisis successfully. This (among other things) is why Kennedy is revered by Americans.

    The decision to go to war in Iraq was made with incorrect information, but rather than admit it and make changes, Bush has only become more entrenched in cronyism and special interests. We must rely on Congress to keep things under control now. In the meantime, I hope we can recover from the hostility of the "culture war" and I for one believe Bush does not deserve to be considered as one of our great presidents.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  7. Mar 6, 2005 #6

    loseyourname

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    What kind of girl is known as a "goofy girl?" Good thing you cleared that up, too, because I had the opposite impression.

    It isn't a big deal. Lay-offs happen. If they didn't, then the company would likely end up folding from overspending and everyone would be out of a job.

    Well, of course. Exactly as I have laid it out above, it seems that just about every person with a political opinion in this country either has one or the other about Bush. In that way, he has polarized people. The real question is whether or not it is part of his job to not be polarizing, or if he should simply do what he feels is the correct thing to do, regardless of how it will be received. I realize that being a politician is largely a popularity contest, but should it be? Is the goal to keep the maximum number of people happy, to never express a strong opinion on a wedge issue (even if you hold one), and to do everything in your power to give little concessions to the other side?

    Again, that's one way of viewing it, and you may turn out to be correct. I'm not arrogant enough to claim that I know for certain. But the way I see it is different. I just think that people are naturally polarized. There are a lot of highly conservative people in this country that just can't stand liberals, and there are a lot of liberals that just can't stand conservatives. This mutual dislike of each other was there well before the two found Bush and his policies as a focus of it. From the day he first took office, the polarity was coming to light in the form of arguments over whether or not his election was even legitimate. I don't see part of Bush's job being to undo this. People have the power to think for themselves and it isn't his fault that they hate each other and can't ever seem to agree.

    You see, I don't think it is, and neither does Bush. It is the president's job to do what he feels is in the best interest of the American citizenry - not what they feel is in their best interest. If his job was the latter, what would he ever get done? He'd have to simultaneously enact opposing policies on every issue.

    Then the question becomes whether or not he made a mistake. It seems clear at this point that he was wrong about WMDs and connections to Al Qaeda. To be honest, I don't know whether or not he has acknowledged this and I'm not sure to what degree he has overturned the intelligence departments to help ensure that if the same mistake is made again, at least it is made by different people under different orders. The bigger question, however, is whether or not he was wrong to go in in the first place. It should be rather obvious that he doesn't believe he was. He sees the good that has come of it and feels that it was worth it, and that far more good will come in the future. In this one sense at least, Bush is a lot more farsighted than anybody gives him credit for. He realizes that the true test of whether or not deposing Saddam was the right thing to do does not come when chaos reigns in the streets and the malcontents back home protest and call for his removal. The true test comes when the dust has settled.

    Bush has repeatedly said that the war on terror is not a short-term war and it isn't likely to produce many satisfying immediate victories for a hungry public. As stupid as I think his terminology has been (war is terror!), in this I agree with him. The circumstances that led to an environment in which Islamic fundamentalists decided to attack the US, and had the power to actually carry out the attack, are many, and removing them won't be quick and easy. Nor is the aim simply to ensure the safety of homeland America. The aim, whether you think it noble or foolhardy, is to increase the safety of America, her allies, and anyone else that can be helped in this campaign. The only true mistake that I am nearly certain Bush has made is in his seeming belief that he can actually accomplish this goal. He might rid the world of Al Qaeda. He might even set in motion a chain of events that will eventually end the blood-feuds in the middle east. If he does, then he should be applauded. Nonetheless, man by his very nature is a violent species that will always use violence as a means of eliminating the outgroup. Al Qaeda is only the most immediate of the groups currently expressing this tendency through a stated desire to eradicate the American civilization. They won't be the last, and war will not be the means by which this natural tendency is removed from our species, should it ever be.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  8. Mar 6, 2005 #7

    SOS2008

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    To loseyourname – I’m responding without your quotes only to keep this post from being HUGE. I was once called that because I like to joke (though as you know sometimes in a wry sort of way). Thanks for the compliment.

    Regarding the role of a president, I see your point. Perhaps I should re-phrase what I said. A leader must do what is in the best interest of the country, regardless of whether it is popular (as you say). However, a leader also must do what is in the best interest of the country, regardless of his personal opinion. For example, you do not take your country into war to avenge your father. And there is nothing wrong with a leader making his religious beliefs public, but not public policy (separation of church and state), or misusing it to gain special interest support.

    I was just reading a post by selfAdjoint under the “cultural war” thread that was along the line of your statements. However, I don’t recall any other time where there have been such hard feelings—it has literally effected relationships with family and some friends.

    The way the 2000 elections went may have started the division, but for me personally, I wasn’t too disturbed until the debate about invading Iraq began.
    With regard to admitting mistakes, those who have any understanding of the Middle East and Saddam versus Bin Laden, have suspected from the beginning that the intelligence was out-right falsified (I think Colin Powell wanted to leave because he wants to be able to look at himself in the mirror each morning). If an investigation could have been conducted and this was proven to be the case, the seriousness of the matter would have started impeachment procedures. Lies do not justify the end, even a happy ending.

    As you know, many people like myself do not believe the initial reason for invading Iraq was to create democracy. I believe Bush wanted to invade Iraq before 9-11, and that the “war on terrorism” was only a guise. So without belief that there was an initial policy of spreading democracy, I cannot view Bush as a man with great foresight.

    In reference to lack of real plans and an exit strategy, it’s amazing how Rove has portrayed Bush as a straight-talking “what you see is what you get” kind of guy, and yet can be so vague and secretive at the same time. I don’t see why there can’t be clear markers established for ending efforts in Iraq, and any CEO without a business plan would be fired.

    If there can be peace in the Middle East, I will jump up and down with joy, and maybe even throw a party. But I will not applaud Bush, because I feel it would be because of chain of events unrelated, and maybe even despite his doings.

    In response to your final remarks about terrorists, this is true indeed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  9. Mar 7, 2005 #8
    No matter what we think of each other, its important to allow one another to air our views. This is not what the Bush Administration has been all about, but they are not going unchallanged:
    “A US court has struck down part of the Bush administration's controversial anti-terror Patriot Act. Judge Audrey Collins ruled that the law's ban on giving "expert advice or assistance" to terrorist groups was too broad and limited free speech… Humanitarian groups that work with Kurds in Turkey and Tamils in Sri Lanka had sued the US Government over the law. They argued that the Patriot Act was so vague that activists had been afraid to organise conferences or publish political material for fear of violating it.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3435097.stm
    Note that people are being gagged not just by draconian laws, but by the fear they produce.
     
  10. Mar 7, 2005 #9
    Yes 42, that is "self-censorship", the highest art form, a bloodless coup that is much more desirable than say, the untidy application of shooting journalists from a tank or making them take shoe with mouth or stick their middle finger in the anus and then lick/smell it, as reported here.
     
  11. Mar 7, 2005 #10

    loseyourname

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    I highly doubt that Viet Dihn's intent when drafting the Patriot Act was to keep humanitarian organizations from giving advice to refugee groups. It's true that that part of the act was poorly worded and, if one of these groups had been considered a terrorist organization, then the humanitarian group would technically have been in violation. That is exactly why we have a court system. When parts of laws are poorly written and turn out to violate the constitution in rare cases, they are struck down. It isn't as if laws have only been struck down as unconstitutional during the Bush administration.

    By the way, section 215 of the Act states that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can only authorize an investigation of suspected terrorists "provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution."

    I spent all of the fall semester studying the Act in detail, and there is very little about it that is the least bit troubling. It isn't Bush's fault that the media and his opponents have hyped it up to spread fear and paint him as a fascist. I'll grant that Cheney at least has made some rather disturbing comments regarding his own opinions on dissent, but given that dissent toward this administration has generally taken the form of an unreasonable smear campaign (which is not what dissent is supposed to be), I can at least understand his feelings, though I certainly don't agree with them.
     
  12. Mar 7, 2005 #11
    You can only have respect for a man like Dana who obviously deeply believed in reporting the truth despite the risks. It must be so much easier to bury your head in the sand, as most of us do. Thanks for bringing his story to our attention.
     
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