I am mute with wonder. The breath-taking mental gymnastics… Savor the president’s words:
It’s an interesting period because, instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability.
For a while, American foreign policy was just, Let’s hope everything is calm — manage calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested on September the 11th.
And so we’ve taken a foreign policy that says: On the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the short run by being aggressive in chasing down the killers and bringing them to justice.
And make no mistake: They’re still out there, and they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand for. In the long term, to defeat this ideology — and they’re bound by an ideology — you defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom.
That is to say, the fact that Baghdad has become hell on earth, and that our troops are “driving around waiting to get blown up” are good things – evidence of a clever new policy aimed at forcing long-simmering hostilities to the surface!
First, there was the flypaper theory. Then the increased-violence-is-a-sign-of-insurgent-desperation theory. Now there’s the violence-is-good theory (aka the Civil War could be a good thing theory). And William F. Buckley thinks Bush will have no foreign policy legacy?!?!
The poor man who is currently our president has reached such a point of befuddlement that he thinks stem cell research is the same as taking human lives, but that 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians are progress toward democracy.
When school was canceled to accommodate a campaign visit by President Bush, the two 55-year-old teachers reckoned the time was ripe to voice their simmering discontent with the administration’s policies.
Christine Nelson showed up at the Cedar Rapids rally with a Kerry-Edwards button pinned on her T-shirt; Alice McCabe clutched a small, paper sign stating “No More War.” What could be more American, they thought, than mixing a little dissent with the bunting and buzz of a get-out-the-vote rally headlined by the president?
Their reward: a pair of handcuffs and a strip search at the county jail.
Authorities say they were arrested because they refused to obey reasonable security restrictions, but the women disagree: “Because I had a dissenting opinion, they did what they needed to do to get me out of the way,” said Nelson, who teaches history and government at one of this city’s middle schools.
“I tell my students all the time about how people came to this country for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, that those rights and others are sacred. And all along I’ve been thinking to myself, ‘not at least during this administration.'”
Their experience is hardly unique.
In the months before the 2004 election, dozens of people across the nation were banished from or arrested at Bush political rallies, some for heckling the president, others simply for holding signs or wearing clothing that expressed opposition to the war and administration policies.
Similar things have happened at official, taxpayer-funded, presidential visits, before and after the election. Some targeted by security have been escorted from events, while others have been arrested and charged with misdemeanors that were later dropped by local prosecutors.
Now, in federal courthouses from Charleston, W.Va., to Denver, federal officials and state and local authorities are being forced to defend themselves against lawsuits challenging the arrests and security policies.
While the circumstances differ, the cases share the same fundamental themes. Generally, they accuse federal officials of developing security measures to identify, segregate, deny entry or expel dissenters…
There’s a lot more, and it is a surprisingly critical story; I’ve learned to expect so much less from the AP! (It appears that Bush’s favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman, has been learning from the master.)
“…(I)nstead of a response, I’ve decided simply to refer to my handy-dandy checklist:
Declaration that the religious left is back? Check. Obligatory quotes from members of the UCC or Unitarians? Check, two UCC’ers quoted, and don’t think we’re not grateful. Obligatory name-check of Martin Luther King? Check. Experts wondering if the religious left can be as politically influential as its counterpart? Check. Due to inability to organize and/or find a coherent agenda? Check. Experts fretting that religion and/or politics will only get more polarized? Check. Religious Right leader sneering at religious left for being too small to worry about? Check. Obligatory quote from Jim Wallis? Check.
Wheee. If I’d know journalism was this easy, I’d have gone into it, instead of working for a living. All you have to do is follow the template – you don’t even have to go in order!”