Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Party is the U.S.A.

I'm idealistic. I believe good always wins. I believe in happily ever after, and I believe that the United States of America is, still, the greatest country in any hemisphere. Those ideals have illuminated my path during some of the darker times in my life. Because of those beliefs I survived a childhood that would have done a Charles Dickens novel proud, and I returned from Iraq -- alive -- after a short stint as a journalist. I always believe in "tomorrow" and the sunshine it will bring.

However idealistic I may be, I do, however, look at the world through a lens of objectivity. At least I try. I've learned that shooting from the hip usually isn't the best response. I like to step back, calm my emotions, and then evaluate a situation from a position armed with facts. I don't always succeed, though. Sometimes my humanness gets in the way, and I do "shoot from the hip," only to end up shooting myself in the foot.

My idealism keeps cynicism at bay; it's the moat that slows the advance of negative thoughts and gives me time to look at a situation objectively and rationally. Sometimes, that buffer has to be a wide one, and, sometimes, it is breached.

It's easy to read the news about our political leaders and despair. Democrats attacking Republicans. Republicans attacking Democrats. It's a centuries-old feud, nothing new, and anyone who believes otherwise is just plain dumb. Political discord has existed in this country since, well, this country has existed. Consider the duel between Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1804, a duel that ended Hamilton's life.
All countries suffer from political strife because all countries are inhabited by humans -- those creatures who have that habit of acting out of self interests.

It's not the disagreements that bother me, though. It's how they're articulated. I have no problem with someone challenging another's opinion. I welcome it. My problem is how personal those attacks can be. I'll never get used to Americans hating Americans. That's like a brother hating a brother, and I'll never believe our country benefits from it.

I've never been a person who tows the "party line." I've voted for Republicans and Democrats because I want the most qualified person to win. My country's future is at stake, and that's too important for me to squander on a stubborn notion that "my party is always right." My party is the American one. I believe in America and in anyone who will stand up to defend her against any enemy, those inside and outside our borders.

I read this morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are warning the president that any plan to increase troop strength in Iraq will be unacceptable to the Democratic majorities that now control the House and Senate. No one should be surprised since Pelosi has always been candid about this. But I could care less about Pelosi's shopping habits or if she exfoliates. She can have the complexion of a mountainman and grow a beard for all I care since the halls of Congress aren't a fashion runway. I just want to know what causes her and Reid to believe that the United States will be safer if we begin troop withdrawals. But Pelosi and Reid aren't singing a Democratic duet. Republicans also are telling the president they won't support more troops in Iraq.

Even the military is divided about troop strengthening. The president announced a few days ago that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. George Casey as the senior American commander in Iraq. Petraeus favors sending in more troops, but Casey doesn't. Casey has said that an increase in American forces in Iraq would destabilize the country. I don't understand where that reasoning comes from. I can believe that Pelosi and Reid are politically motivated, but why would an American military officer, so senior as Casey, accept that notion? Where does it come from?

Casey focused on shifting security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces so American troops could gradually withdraw. I, too, want an eventual American withdrawal, but only after the insurgency has been eliminated or politically neutered. Petraeus will shift to a strategy that will protect the Iraqis from sectarian violence and insurgent attacks. From the beginning, we told the Iraqis we would help them build a country where they could live free from oppression. Pulling out now will ensure their country will return to the dictatorship it was before 2003. Pulling out now will ensure that American military forces will have to fight a strengthened enemy in the future. The bottom line of Petraeus' strategy is that his soldiers will kill insurgents. I hope they kill every one of them.

I began this post talking about idealism, and I had a point. I believe in the goodness of my country and that it is our national altruism that motivates us. Sometimes, we get sidetracked, though. I'm not so idealistic and naive that I can't see that. While I disagree strongly with Pelosi and Reid about a plan for Iraq, I also want to see some members of the Bush administration held accountable for the blunders that helped to create this situation. They were blunders that could have been prevented, but a blind allegiance to their party caused them to act stupidly.

During the Reagan administration, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan's ambassador to the UN, denounced former President Jimmy Carter for having attempted "to impose liberalization and democratization" on other countries. She derided Carter for his "belief that it is possible to democratize governments anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances." Democracy, she said, depends "on complex social, cultural and economic conditions," and takes "decades if not centuries." One of Kirkpatrick's first diplomatic missions was to the dictators in Chile and Argentina to assure them that Carter's intrusive human rights policies would no longer be a problem for them.

I don't say anything of that to support or negate Carter's legacy or to criticize Kirkpatrick. I say it to remind people of our short political memories and how we conveniently scoot past remarks and behavior under the rug when they don't fit our current declarations. Members of both parties do it, but we shouldn't fall for it.

Declare your allegiance to the United States of America, not to a party or to a person. When we place our hands over our hearts, we say "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands ..." No where in the Pledge of Allegiance do we promise our loyalty to a person or group.

This country was founded on godly ideals, and we can't go wrong when we cling to them. Humans fail; leaders, being humans, will fail. And when they do, vote them out -- no matter what party they claim.


Semper Fi Mom (aka MinuteMom) said...

Excellent post! And I agree...good always wins. I've read the end of the Book! ;)

Steve Ramos said...

And that's proof enough, right?!!

De'on Miller said...

I've read it too and good does win. But deception will come before that; a man of peace.

So we're sure Bush is not the Antichrist, and how so many of them have acted lately, you have to wonder how evil things can really get. And when they are that, I don't give one flip what happens to them, and if somebody keeps evil covered, they need to go down too.

Well, maybe they haven't quite portrayed the Antichrist, it's the One with all the Answers we need to be concerned with.

And as far as being idealistic, no one was worse than me, and it's only been in the last few months that has changed. I'm not negative, but I no longer expect that we'll come together here, and amazingly, that no longer breaks my heart.

I accept myself exactly how I am. I'm patriotic. I want every President to excel. Have they all let me down? Of course. But that doesn't mean I want them booted. They have the hardest job in the world.

I don't see how you can remain in politics w/o blunders. You can't go into war without them either. True, mistakes and tragedies must be examined for future reference. Perhaps that is my only real problem with the admin. It is a bit hard headed.

However, war happens on the battleground. We don't know for sure until we go in and are there how things will be or how history will write it.

However history writes it, I supported it then, and I support it now. While it may seem as if we are punching in the air sometimes, at least I think we are in Fallujah. But no matter what, this war was brought to our doorstep and we're fighting it where it needs to be fought. Not in Afghanistan. If the terrorists capture the oilfields, what then?

And the Arab countries will always hate Israel. We as a nation will be judged, and we had better not turn our back on the Hebrew, the Jew, the Israelite ever.

I love my country and will give it my all, except for blind faith. Should our nation and our leaders turn their backs on God's Word; I will turn my back on my nation.

I firmly believe in separation of church and state. My benefit now could be my worst enemy in the future. And we have just had someone take their oath with their hand on the Koran.

Where we are now, has everything to do with where God has us.

Yes, there will always be a separation. Count on it, Steve.

And good post. It's why I love ya! You make me look a little bit less of a cheerleader.

And I love a good cheerleader. We all need someone to rally us. Thank you and don't ever quit.