Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seriously?

This past weekend, January 27-28, thousands of protesters descended upon Washington D.C. to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq. They were led by such personalities as Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Jackson, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and my personal favorite - Cindy Sheehan. They demanded the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and an end to the war.

They claim to want peace, but the anger and hatred expressed through their signs, sentiments, and speeches would seem to indicate something different. And this leads to what I was struck by watching the protests (besides the lack of intellectual weight or substantive discourse behind their arguments).

1. The truly irrational hatred on the part the people participating in the protests.

2. The visceral anti-American sentiment expressed by the a large number of the protesters.

And I believe these two things are connected. Its clear the president is the primary target of their anger, but what is less clear is where this irrational hatred comes from. In the case of these protesters, I believe there are several sources.

For some, I believe that guilt is a contributing factor. You'll notice that the overwhelming majority of those participating are white, and my guess is that a substantial number of them come from privileged backgrounds (certainly, the celebrities qualify). Our media and universities constantly remind us that we should feel guilty for our status, our wealth, and our country because they were all created at the expense of minorities, home and abroad. However, by taking up the cause of the minority or the little guy, by denouncing "the system," and by bashing America, a member of the "privileged majority" can be pardoned of their background, gain the moral high ground and alleviate that guilt.

Second, I think envy is involved. These people represent a fringe minority and the majority of Americans don't buy their ideas. Americans don't want to live in a socialist state, they don't believe America is evil, and for whatever objections they may have with George W. Bush, they don't think he's Hitler. The simple fact is, their ideas lose. No one of their ilk will ever win an election and their best days will be spent protesting like this, but accomplishing nothing. The bottom line is they don't have a voice. I think they realize this, and it infuriates them.

Ultimately, I believe, this guilt and envy find expression in their anti-American rhetoric. And let me just say, I don't believe that criticizing the government, or the president and his policies makes you anti-American. I do believe, however, that comparing our president to Hitler, drawing a moral equivalency between America and terrorists, and blaming America for the all world's problems is clearly anti-American. So is rooting for the enemy or hating the president so much that you hope America loses in Iraq. This kind of speech strengthens our enemies and hurts America. Regardless of whether or not you believe we should have gone into Iraq, reasonable people recognize that an immediate withdrawal would be a disaster for our country and the security of our people.

3 comments:

Tim Lewis said...

People want to feel important and that they made a difference. This is why I think it's important for us to make a difference where it truly counts, by following Christ. People need Jesus and protesting isn't going to relieve their guilt or cover their sins (no matter what they think). Neither is being super pro-American. Making a real difference means being Christ in the world, one day at a time and not getting caught up in the world's snares.

everyday.wonder said...

Well said, Tim. The ridiculous state of affairs into which this country has plunged in the last six years would almost be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Meaningful discourse is as rare as sacred raisin cakes. I have some serious reservations about what the war is accomplishing, and I wonder exactly what I am to do with the tiny talents of influence I have in this large and powerful country; but idiots pictured above make it impossible for me to raise questions and engage in serious dialogue without feeling like I'm starting a Hugo Chavez fan club. Like the world needs more of those. Same goes for the other side. If I wanted to have a discussion about the role of the American military in establishing justice in a part of the world that currently has a vacuum in that department, suddenly I'm a war mongering Bushite disciple. Like I'm going to join the young Republicans club. Okay, there are other reasons why that's not possible. But still.

Sheesh. What ever happened to political discourse? What a freakshow.

Go Tim! Go Jake! (Maybe you two ought to get on the presidential ticket...)

Jake Shore said...

I think the reason we find ourselves placed in one of two camps is not because the views of each side has changed in recent years, but because both sides are simply trying to win rather than doing what is right. It all seems so politicized. Our elected officials appear concerned only about the next election, and everything they say and do serves that end. Naturally, each side becomes increasingly polarized, and civil discourse suffers.

What's sad about these protesters is that their raving drowns out the voices of Democrats and others who have reasonable objections to the war. Meanwhile, Michael Moore and Howard Dean types continue to drag the Democratic party to the left. Good for Republicans like me. Bad for America.