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The sins of the father

For some reason, certain asshats find it entertaining to send me links to all sorts of silly things. I've gotten to the point where my e-mail automatically deletes anything that links to truthout, alter.net, and a couple of other pages. Every now and then something sneaks through, and for some inane reason I occasionally take a glimpse at what these asshats think is entertaining or enlightening.

I wish to hell I had just deleted one of them, though, because it's got me infuriated.

There are a couple of principles I respect greatly. One of them is an old aphorism: "God gives us our relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends." The Bible, in Ezekiel 18:20, puts it a bit more formally: ""The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."

Another is from the United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3:

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

The underlying theme behind all three ideas is simple: you do not blame people for the conduct of their relatives. No one should be given grief because they chose the wrong parents, children, cousins, aunts, or other relations. To do so is wrong, and it is worse when you use those relatives -- especially children -- to attack your enemies. It is despicable, it is loathsome, it is beneath contempt.

I don't care who does it, for whatever reason. I was disgusted and repulsed when Rush Limbaugh attacked Chelsea Clinton to get at her parents, and I carried the grudge far longer than the Clintons apparently did. (No, I am NOT interested in re-hashing in exactly what Limbaugh did or did not do. I've finally put the matter to rest. I still don't care for him, but I no longer hold him in the contempt I once did. It's now just a matter of not caring for his style.) And ever since George W. Bush started running for president, his daughters (and the rest of his rather extensive family) have been fair game. And I find that disgusting.

Among the assholes who push the "chickenhawk" argument, the theme that Bush's daughters are under some sort of moral obligation to enlist in the service and go fight in Iraq is an all-too-frequent one. The idea seems to be that because they were stupid or careless enough to choose as their father the president of the United States, they have to "pay" for his "misdeeds." The notion that they can simultaneously love and honor their father while trying to live normal, average lives is repugnant to the assholes, who seem eager to add one or two more names to the list of those who have lost their lives serving our nation -- as long as those names match those of the president they hate so.

This whole point was driven forcefully home to me when I saw this video. For those who wish to spare themselves, it's a screen shot of a Bush family portrait, with the sins, peccadilloes, and mistakes of many of the younger members highlighted. Not one of those young people have run for office, and very few have made themselves any sort of public figure. Their sole claim to fame is that two of their relatives have served as president -- but that's enough for one asshole in particular to make them "public figures" for the purposes of scorn and contempt.

I also find it worthwhile to note what the asshole author does NOT mention. I got tired recently of hearing how the Bush twins were party girls all the time, so I did a little digging into what they are up to now that they've graduated college. It turns out that they are, indeed, frittering away their lives. One of them is currently an intern with UNICEF in Panama, while the other is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine's International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, working in Africa with children.

They just turned 25 a few weeks ago.

That prompted me to think about the last president's daughter. What's Chelsea Clinton doing? She's about 18 months older than the twins -- it could be a good touchstone. It turns out that she just left a corporate consulting firm and a six-figure salary to join a hedge-fund managing company. She's apparently interested -- for the time being -- in the private sector, in her own personal success and private life.

And good for her.

Now, I haven't liked the asshole who created the video for some time. This particular tactic of his is nothing new; he embraces attacking his opponents through whatever means he thinks will provoke the most anger. His online persona of "General JC Christian, Patriot" is aimed at mocking and insulting people not for their political positions, but their religious beliefs (among others).

And worst of all, he's good at it. I'm not even a Christian, and even brief exposures to his page provoke me into anger. I've gotten into a few arguments over there, but each time it's been a demonstration of the old principle: "never get into fights with assholes. They drag you down to their level, then they beat you through superior experience." There's no room for debate or discussion; it's all cheap shots and gratuitous insults and personal attacks, all aimed at heading off sincere discourse.

As I have the last couple of years, I've kept my distance from the Weblog Awards. That's Kevin's baby, through and through. I'll vote a few times, but I don't do much else.

This time, though, I'm making an endorsement. Or, rather, an anti-endorsement. This asshole's currently running 4th in the Liberal Blogs category. So I'm urging folks to go on over and vote for anyone else, and let's drive this asshole right into the cellar.

One final thought: it might be entertaining to assemble a portrait of the Kennedy family and do a similar thing, restricted only to those who have held or sought public office.


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Comments (22)

Some people take a perverse... (Below threshold)

Some people take a perverse pleasure in tearing others down. It says a lot about their own self image. This guy is a moron.

Jay you must have missed th... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay you must have missed this story. Panama and Africa...The Bush daughters do get around.. Goodbye girls: Bush twins told to go
Your central point is correct..No one seriously expects the Bush twins enlist to go to Iraq..on the other hand I don't dismiss the related 'chickenhawk' argument out of hand. Those who have personally experienced combat for any length of time in a very controversial war, have a more realistic view of the almost insurmountable obstacles invovled. For example, the sanguine lesson Bush took (for Iraq) from Vietnam after taking 35 years to get there, was that " We'll succeed unless we quit." I would have thought it was just the opposite.

...and how just does that s... (Below threshold)

...and how just does that story contradict with anything I said, Steve? There are these things called "vacations" where you leave your job for a little while, then come back to it.

And I've dealt with the "chickenhawk" so-called argument several times before, the best example being this one.

The key point: it doesn't matter what the Bush twins do -- they are NOT holding any public office. They ought to be left alone, not hounded because of who their father is. That's simple human decency -- something sorely lacking today.

J.

Among the assholes who p... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Among the assholes who push the "chickenhawk" argument, the theme that Bush's daughters are under some sort of moral obligation to enlist in the service and go fight in Iraq is an all-too-frequent one.

I personally think that hot babes should work on being hot babes -- travel, party, wear thongs, tempt boys, spend money.

The Bush twins are all of this, and they're doing what they're supposed to do.

And hey: Britney and Paris can't do it all.

It might also be worth noti... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

It might also be worth noting here that Amy Carter spent a few very stoned years at Brown (met/saw/confirmed her in this role, as I was there at the time: a very small world, University Hill), and although she wasn't exactly a "babe," she looked great in jeans.

...I also think Vanessa Ker... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

...I also think Vanessa Kerry would make an interesting weekend, although I may be getting off topic here.

Not one, not two, but THREE... (Below threshold)

Not one, not two, but THREE postings by astigafa that do NOT make me want to smack him upside the head.

I better check the logs and see if we have an impersonator here...

J.

One final thought:... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:
One final thought: it might be entertaining to assemble a portrait of the Kennedy family and do a similar thing, restricted only to those who have held or sought public office.

It would be little else but Ted Kennedy, I think, and the list of his pecadillos would taked 20-30 minutes of video time to display...

Who was it that pimped an... (Below threshold)
MyPetGloat:

Who was it that pimped an even unfunnier David Zucker video of the same nature?

Shorter Jay:

Satire is teh cool except when it mocks my super-wicked-awesome heros!

MyPet:1) Kim poste... (Below threshold)

MyPet:

1) Kim posted that, not me.

2) The figure being lampooned WAS a public official. To wit, the former Secretary of State -- and as such, fully "fair game" for satire.

3) The Albright video was funny as hell. I'm slightly jealous that Kim got to it before I did.

4) At no point did I defend either President Bushes, only the children who have NOT committed themselves to being public figures.

That all you got, Pet?

J.

Jay, to get back to an earl... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, to get back to an earlier more serious point, which is almost off topic,now. I have never really liked the term 'chickenhawk'..It is too emotionally loaded and unfair to those charged. However, I have no such qualms with weekend armchair warrior as in now US senator Barack Obama, statement in September 2002: "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne".

steve; note that the hotel ... (Below threshold)
rwallis:

steve; note that the hotel did deny that the incident happened. other than a tabloid what proof do you have that the incident happened, I do not believe much of what is printed

I can confirm the presence ... (Below threshold)
jpe:

I can confirm the presence of stoners at Brown; babes, not so much.

Jeebus, Crickmore,Th... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Jeebus, Crickmore,
The topic at hand is not holding peoples relatives responsible for actions that are not their own.
What does any of your shite have to do with that?
You don't like the current administration. We got that months ago when you started posting in the comments...

I've never bought into the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I've never bought into the whole chickenhawk argument from the left. Without a military draft, the whole chickenhawk meme is just a bunch of noise. The Bush daughters are free to choose to enter the military or not. If they were instead eligible to be drafted into service, and the President pulled strings to keep them out of service, it would be a different matter, and the feathers might make sense.

Nonetheless, I think most parents would understand and agree that President Bush might not be so quick to keep our troops in combat if his daughters were there on the front lines. It might be on a subconscious level, but it would effect his choices.

Does that suggest that it's a good thing to have his daughters in the military in a time of war? I think not -- I want the President free to make choices about war without regard to the personal safety of his own loved ones. The fact that Bush makes has made nothing but bad choices doesn't change that.

This subject is rich. Googl... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

This subject is rich. Google "Geronimo's skull"...And now back to your circle jerk...

"However, I have no such qu... (Below threshold)
pst314:

"However, I have no such qualms with weekend armchair warrior"

Steve, it doesn't matter if you try to put a "nicer" name on it. It's still an intellectually vacuous and morally cretinous ploy.

Ever notice how old "pucker... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Ever notice how old "pucker puss" (lee lee) likes to straddle the fence? No wonder he is a kos kiddies reject.

Jay,You got to und... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Jay,

You got to understand, the good general, JC Christian, has for some time now been most concerned about Yellow Elephants and Chickenhawks. Whether such concern reflects a deep, visceral disgust, well, I'll let you decide.

Thought the video was great, and I thank you for alerting me to its existence (I don't visit the PatriotBoy everyday). I think it would have been better if the Creedence version of Fortunate Son had been used. Nonetheless, this song still manages to symbolize the important distinction between the "Fortunate Sons (and Daughters)" and those joining the military for help in training for a career, and winding up, alas, in Iraq.

Jay, you picked up a perver... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Jay, you picked up a perversion of the argument so that you can attack it. The issue is not (should not) be whether the Bush twins join the military. The issue is whether Bush has encouraged them to do so. After all, one might think he would impress upon them the importance of a war for civilization itself.

Thus, the argument is on Bush and what he is willing to personally do, not on what his daughters are willing to personally do.

Jay, as to your last senten... (Below threshold)

Jay, as to your last sentence regarding a similar project for the Kennedy clan, I think you'd require a MURAL to fit everything in.

Brian, that is an idiotic s... (Below threshold)

Brian, that is an idiotic statement.

It is apparent that the Bush girls have made some admirable choices. One might suppose that their father's advice to them (to the extent that it is ANYONE's business but theirs -- and it ISN'T) was to be their own person. It seems that they are following his advice.

Now you want to get into father-daughter confidences?




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