July 26, 2004

The Dean Esmay Pledge

Dean has an interesting question on his site, and a strong challenge to American conservatives and libertarians, should Kerry be elected President:

How many of you will have the patriotism to say, "I disagree with many of his policy directions, I do not think he is conducting our foreign policy in the right way, but I will do my best to get behind him and support him until elections come around next time?"

I'm genuinely curious. For that is the stance I intend to take. I will refuse to call him traitor, loser, liar, incompetent. He will be my President, my Commander In Chief, the Chief Executive of a great nation, elected by the will of a majority of the electors in these 50 great united States. So even if he does things I disagree with in conducting foreign policy, I will say, "I respectfully disagree with the President's directions, but I will do my best to express my dissent respectfully and hope that I am mistaken and that he has made the proper decisions after all."



I keep thinking about the Oklahoma City bombing. The day it happened, Rush Limbaugh told people it was time to get behind the President of the United States and not to criticize the decisions he made that day—and he said it with passion. For Limbaugh, all partisan concerns stopped in the wake of a terrorist threat. That's how it ought to be.

My version of the Esmay Pledge contains the caveat reiterated by many of his commenters: I'll keep my criticisms respectful, but if he lies to the country as its Commander-in-Chief I will call him on that.

Anything less would be unpatriotic.

Posted by Attila at July 26, 2004 01:37 PM
Comments

The problem with Dean's proposed Pledge is the implied assumption the the hard left are essentially patriotic Americans. I believe they have a patriotism of sorts. But it is not a patriotism toward America as it existed in the past or as it exists today. It is a patriotism directed toward a secular America as they wish it to be.

In other words, they are committed not to America as it is - messy, hypocritical, religious, loud, divided, democratic, and good. Rather, they are committed to their secular utopian vision of what America should be. So they are not really patriotic Americans. They are patriotic Utopians.

They are like perfectionists parents, promising to love their child one day when he finally gets his act together. They profess their love, but their actions and their words bely their profession. And their vision of Utopia repulses me.

Posted by: Scott Harris at July 28, 2004 04:06 PM


But how many Democrats are part of the "hard left"? I know that bunch has taken the party over, but most of my friends are liberal to left (welfare democracy for most; a few still have a soft spot for socialism, in a theoretical sort of way--this is dissapating for most, as time goes on).

I know G.W. is a lightning rod, but I also know it's chic to despise him, as it once was to hate Ronald Reagan.

And there is the absolute flood of bad information these people get: the propaganda from Michael Moore, half-the-story articles in papers like the L.A. Times, the Old Media's insistence on only conveying the bad news from Iraq--never the good.

For anyone who's dependent on Old Media sources, it's an absolute deluge. And now--as with Reagan in the 1980s--lots of inaccurate information about W is also passed along by word of mouth.

I honestly think a lot of average Democrats genuinely love this country. But they also genuinely hate the man they think George W. Bush is.

They are simply mistaken--not bad. And in the chests of (almost) all my friends and colleagues beat the hearts of real, true-blue patriots.

Posted by: Attila Girl at July 29, 2004 01:05 PM


If John Kerry becomes President (God forbid), will I think it better to live in the U.S. or in Nigeria? The U.S.

Will I call him all sorts of vile names (i.e. liar, baby killer, Nazi, Communist, etc.)? No.

Will I criticize his policies if I disagree with them? Yes.

Will I support his WoT efforts? If he prosecutes the war with due diligence, yes. If he waffles or backs off, putting Americans in more danger, no.

Will I recommend that friends and acquaintences join the military? No.

Will I forget he lied about me and my fellow Vietnam veterans before Congress, admitted to commiting war crimes himself, and spent his career in the Senate generally voting to dismantle the military and intelligens agencies? No.

Will I have high (or even mediocre) expectations of his leadership and support of our Constitution? No.

Will I act toward him as the Democrats have acted toward President Bush. No.

Do I shudder to think about the consequences of his election? Yes.

Will I survive anyway? I think the chances are good but not certain, given that I know there are thousands of Islamofascists who want to kill me and I don't see any evidence that JFK2 has the desire to do the hard things it will take to keep us all safe.

Will I ever vote again? I honestly think I may not. If the American people can't make a simple choice to protect themselves and not rely on the notoriously unreliable U.N., I think my best bet is to hunker down, buy plenty of guns and ammunition to protect me and mine, never travel, and pull the hole around me real tight.

Posted by: chuck at July 29, 2004 02:37 PM


Oh, Chuck. I'm so sorry you feel that way.

I hope you don't give up on the political process, no matter what happens in this election. Though I understand, at least to the degree that I can, never having gone through what you've gone through. I agree that this man betrayed all of you--and badly.

But you've served your country honorably, and you don't owe us anything at this point. So do as you will.

And, thanks.

Posted by: Attila Girl at July 29, 2004 10:34 PM


My husband--a Marine who served as the war was winding down, but never went to Vietnam, because of his youth--has a more succinct answer for you: buy more guns, but vote anyway.

Posted by: Attila Girl at July 30, 2004 12:37 AM


Attilla Girl,

My neighbors are strong Democrats, have a revulsion for George Bush, and are not hard leftists. Interestingly, last week we were having dinner together and the topic of politics came up. I kept trying to ask about what was good for the country, and they finally said that they didn't really care about what was good for the country; they cared about what was good for themselves.

So while they are certainly not America haters, I cannot really describe them as patriots, either. Their view of the world is entirely narcissistic. BTW, Saturday we are taking them to a Baseball game - Texas Rangers v. Oakland Athletics - so despite our bitter disagreement over politics, we are still good friends. But I know that they cannot be counted upon to vote according to what is good for America, only what they perceive as their narrow self-interest.

For those Democrats who are not hard-leftists, many fall into the narcissistic category. There is a certain childishness of "I want what I want when I want it" quality to their outlook on life.
But I think there are more hard-leftists in the Democratic ranks than you might believe. Michael Moore sat in a luxury box at the DNC as a guest of Jimmy Carter. If that doesn't indicate that his twisted views are close to mainstream Democratic dogma than not, what does?

Posted by: Scott Harris at July 30, 2004 10:02 AM


The prominence of Michael Moore at the DNC convention shows that there is an intellectual cancer in the Democratic party. I'm only saying we shouldn't mix up the cancerous cells with the healthy tissue.

Posted by: Attila Girl at July 30, 2004 12:58 PM




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