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Wizbang Blue: To Whom The Country Belongs

[Note: This entry is the first of several planned for this week from liberal, progressive, Democratic, etc. members of the Wizbang comment community and readership in response to a call for entries last week. The reasoning behind the experiment is explained in the call of entries posts. Posts titles will be proceeded with the text, "Wizbang Blue:" to highlight that they are not posts from Wizbang authors.

By: Hugh

I am one of those "liberals" who likes to read and respond to some of the posts on this site. On occasion, I have been known to be sarcastic and caustic in response to some of the threads and posts. On other occasions I have attempted to engage in debate about issues. And on others, I have succumbed to the temptation to respond to some of the more, shall we say, bombastic folks from the right. But since just before the election I've spent as much time reading threads and posts, but less in response. I've been thinking about what it is that causes both sides to be, frequently, sarcastic and guttural in response to one another.

I know that I'm seen as a liberal. But the truth is I'm not the classic liberal as I think some here would frame it. For example, I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative, an ardent believer in the rights granted us by our constitution and towards the middle in national security matters. I believe whole-heartedly that the world is threatened by terrorism. I believe the war in Afghanistan was right and that the war in Iraq was wrong from the start and that the occupation (for want of a better description) has been horribly mismanaged. Yet, I believe in a strong military and support a call to increase its size.

I hate it when we engage in name calling (we includes me) rather than serious debate. I think blogging does not reflect the majority of the country in attitude, response and belief(s). I live in Iowa, Middle America; it's a wonderful place to live; a wonderful place to raise children. It's a state that isn't very diverse ethnically but is diverse politically. Most people I know here do not call one another names, as we who post on this site frequently do, when discussing politics. We now have a democratic governor and legislature but I don't sense any "liberal" agenda on the part of either. People here are profoundly and genuinely disturbed by the war in Iraq. This war and its effects have seriously taxed our National Guard.

It seems to me that those who post responses on this site and others (liberal and conservative) tend to over simplify very complex issues. It appears that it is almost always black and white, right or wrong, terrorist sympathizer or mindless follower of Mr. Bush. I don't think it's that simple. Folks here in Iowa don't see issues as simple problems. They don't see things as black and white, right or wrong. The country belongs to the people of Iowa, just as it belongs to the people of every other state. I wonder why those of us with such strong views can't be more like it is here in Iowa: reflective, polite in disagreement, but always neighborly?

Our country is a very resilient one, having survived calamitous wars, terrible episodes of discrimination, many natural disasters and periods of unbridled corruption in government. Power has shifted continuously throughout our history. I think one of the errors of the left and the right is that we believe so strongly in our positions that we lose sight of most of the country. We lose sight of the folks like those who live here in Iowa who really want us to be somewhere in the middle.

I'm making a New Years resolution. I will only engage in debate from now on. I will not call any one name(s), nor will I be sarcastic or caustic. I will defend my beliefs always. I will not respond to those, on either side, who want to hurl invectives at one another. Now I hope I am not naïve about this. Perhaps I am. But in the time I've spent mostly reading on this site and others I see lots of folks on both sides who really care about the future. Our country is a very resilient one, having survived calamitous wars, terrible episodes of discrimination, many natural disasters and unbridled corruption in government. Power has shifted continuously throughout our history.

Comments (30)

Mr. Aylward,You ar... (Below threshold)

Mr. Aylward,

You are forgiving for joining in the degradation and I pray that your New Year's Resolution is realized...No I do not agree with you when it comes to the war...It had to be opened up on some front...After all it wasn't America that started it all...Then again that's another topic for another day...Suffice it to say, that you are one of my country men and that alone makes you part of me...God Bless you my friend...May we all take the time in this coming year to treat each other with some kindness, love and respect...

Sorry Hugh...I don't know w... (Below threshold)

Sorry Hugh...I don't know why I addressed that comment to Kevin...Not that Kevin doesn't deserve the same...Best and Happy New Year to all the gang at Wizbang...

Happy New Year Hugh,<... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Happy New Year Hugh,

Do you think this country will continue to be resilient and survive when the biased & seditious main stream media along with the ACLU continue to use our our own laws to drive this country into the ground?

You highlight the biggest p... (Below threshold)

You highlight the biggest problem I have with political discourse in this country today: lack of respect. They're not "redumbblicans" or "dumbocrats," folks, they're people with, perhaps, a different point of view. At some point, it seems we lost the ability to concede that anyone who disagrees with us just might be smart, too.

I'm an independent, and I've long been sickened by the cat-fighting between the two major parties.

If your point includes a "Bush is an idiot" or a "Hillary is a Socialist" or whatever, I've just stopped listening to you.

It needs to stop. I'm with you on this one, Hugh. Happy New Year.

That was very thoughtful, H... (Below threshold)

That was very thoughtful, Hugh. I think all any of us ask is, when engaging in debate, make it clear one is merely rounding out the discussion with other facts perhaps neglected when what they're responding to isn't necessarily untrue. I see a lot of people responding to points with counter points and accusing their opposition of being in denial. There is good and bad in this war, all politicians possess good and bad traits and some people simply see a glass as half full rather than half enpty. But it doesn't mean any particular person is in denial of certain facts.

For every subject or issue out there, there is a pro and a con. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are equal in value or morality, but as humans we tend to weigh these pros and cons and make decisions based on their weight. Some of us just come down on different sides.

For the life of me I can't figure out how some people reach certain decisions or opinions, but nevertheless, they do. It's a fact we have to live with.

I made an oops when I e-mai... (Below threshold)

I made an oops when I e-mailed the piece to Kevin. I repeated some of the material in the last 2 sentences. My apologies.


OK, obligatory cheap shot:<... (Below threshold)

OK, obligatory cheap shot:

"I... I... I..."

"I" was used in every single sentence up to halfway through the third paragraph. Nearly every single sentence involved "I" or "me."

Here's a hint, Hugh: it ain't all about you.

There's a decent essay in there, Hugh, begging to get out -- but you're standing in the way. If you went through and took out at least half the self-references, reworked it to make it generally more universal and held the personal elements to the beginning and the end, it would hang together a lot better as a thoughtful piece and less a bit of self-indulgent self-gratification.


(So much better at editing others' work than my own -- but then who isn't?)

The name-calling begins whe... (Below threshold)
Robert the original:

The name-calling begins when one side runs out of valid arguments.

Is it more than a coincidence, Kevin, that it was just this morning I woke up thinking that what I most needed in life was a lecture from the left on the propriety of comments?

I am so looking forward to English lessons from Lee Lee, a short course on grace and politeness from jp2 and "Truth in Reporting" from Jason Blair.

And if it is your purpose to grant a forum to tormenters past and present, then fine, we'll chalk it up to "fair and balanced". But if it is otherwise, to turn the tables a bit and give them a spell in the arena and the heat that goes with it - this one does not get it. One has to actually take a position for that.

Hugh, after all the vile, over-the-top and deranged comments made about President Bush from your side, what we get now is "Can't we all just get along", and "Let's make nice, nice". And it is all well and good for you to be noble and stake out the moral high ground, but you might have noted that posters and most commenters on the right have done this all along, for the most part.

If you succeed in getting your brethren of the left to adopt your New Year's resolution for more than a few seconds, than I shall salute you, and climb on my flying pig and away.

Jay:Thanks for the... (Below threshold)


Thanks for the critique. I'll take it to heart.


I haven't kept score. What I see is some on both sides equally responsible. I sure didn't mean to stake out a moral high ground, that was not my intent at all.


I may disagree with Hugh on... (Below threshold)

I may disagree with Hugh on nearly everything, and that we both have Iowa roots gives me the creeps (said with a smile), but it is an honest effort on his part. It took some mettle to fess up his part of the problem, and stating publicly the intent to make ammends by way of better behaivor.
We'll see who takes the advice to heart, and what other "guest bloggers" have to say. It ought to be interesting

Just one small thing...the ... (Below threshold)

Just one small thing...the Constitution does not grant us any rights. We are born with our rights. The Constitution grants power from the People to the governmnet.

When you get that straight, lots of other things fall neatly into place.

Hugh,While your pi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


While your piece reads nice, it doesn't seem to be about anything nor does it take a position other than everyone should be nice when debating. I think that goes to Kevin's original point, which I believe in part is a challenge to write pieces that engage and draw readers. A blog is little more than a diary if it doesn't have readers and commenters. Except for the novelty of a "liberal" posting a piece on Whizbang, your piece doesn't engage readers. I think you should try again.

Maybe you could tell us what's in the water in Iowa that allowed John Kerry to emerge as the Democratic front runner in the 2004 Presidential race? Didn't Iowa folks know he was technically a traitor due to his meeting with North Vietnam officials while he was still in the military? Maybe you could explain how any veteran could, in good conscience, vote for Kerry? Basically, Iowa folks lost the Presidential race for Democrats.

Another topic would be the war in Iraq. You think it was the wrong thing to do, but is your reasoning just more of the "there was no WMD", or do you have deeper reasons? What do you think about the fact that Saddam bribed UN, Russian and French officials and that's why Bush could never get UN approval regardless of any case that could have been made.

I see you made a New Years resolution. not call anyone names, nor be sarcastic or caustic. However, you are not bound by that pledge until January 1, 2007, so here's your chance to cut lose.

All of this goes back to th... (Below threshold)

All of this goes back to the success of the Lee Atwater school of politics. Because the politics of division works so well, both sides have adopted it, but while it has served parties -- especially the Republicans -- well, it has been at the expense of the body politic as a whole. I think that this year's election was the first one in a generation where the public has rejected this tactic and I hope that it will be the first of many to come because it's main result has been to turn more and more people off to politics in general.

Hugh,Let me addres... (Below threshold)


Let me address first the problem that most troubles me....we both share the same first name, if, in fact, Hugh is your first name.

That said, I've read your post here at Wizbang! and have to wonder (again) about your judgment and experience. You note, for example, that "People here (Iowa) are profoundly and genuinely disturbed by the war in Iraq. This war and its effects have seriously taxed our National Guard." Hugh, people here in Kentucky, home to three major military installations, thinks the same. But the difference I see here, in comparison to your own Iowa anecdote, is that the prevailing spirit here is to Complete the Mission.

Completing the mission is not, to borrow your phrase, an "oversimplification of complex issues". It is a matter of survival. You note our country's involvement in "calamitous wars". Ignoring the redundancy, you state that you support the war in Afghanistan but question the mission in Iraq. Hugh, what would have been your position on the US policy to prosecute the war in Europe immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl? Hitler didn't attack us. Hirohito did. Why did the US direct its immediate efforts to Europe and North Africa? What would you have done? Thousands of American military personnel and civilians died as a result of the Japanese attack and subsequent Philippines invasion, death marches and slaughter. Yet Roosevelt and Marshall marched toward Europe.

Hugh, have you considered the argument that WE, as a country, have historically acted in our own national security interests because it is, indeed, in our best interest to do so? Imagine the anger of Pearl Harbor widows and their families when we poured our then precious resources into North Africa! North Africa? Well, that's where the enemy was.

Today, the enemy is in Iraq. Its supporter is in Iran, Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia et al. But Iran is the battlefield.

Our country fought Communism in Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America for fifty years before that regime fell. Today we fight a different enemy. Thank God we have a military ready and willing to protect us.


Interesting (and appreciate... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Interesting (and appreciated) to see you write that way. When next you take to the keyboard, I'd like to hear your thoughts about Iran and provide some specific thoughts about: 1) The obvious fact that they have caused the death of many Americans in the recent past and continue to do so through their proxies in Iraq, and 2) Should the civilized world allow Iran to manufacture nuclear weapons, i.e. would it be acceptable to you to bomb their facilities to prevent same.

Thanks in advance.

Congratulations to Hugh and... (Below threshold)

Congratulations to Hugh and Kevin on this start. Lets hope the mindfulness and discourse remain along the high road.

On the other hand, a little gratuitous humor that's not directly at anyone's expense isn't a bad idea either.

Milk Toast for Odin!

I agree with Robert, Mac et... (Below threshold)

I agree with Robert, Mac et al. You say very nice things, Hugh, but manage not to say much.

It's the big ideas most of us are interested in, not the manner of discourse. Politics is not meant to be fuzzy, warm, cute, neighborly. If it were, that'd mean we have a major problem in this country--a lack of freedom to argue, to hash it out.

A good Emily Post moment, but there are worse things than calling each other names. Maybe, we get to the truth, sharpen our thinking, move through a "dialectic" of a different sort with arguments.

Still, nice sentiments in the Christmas season won't get you name-calling from me today.

If you're curious, Hugh, he... (Below threshold)

If you're curious, Hugh, here's my first contribution to Wizbang. I think it still holds up fairly well. Feel free to compare and contrast.


I'm off to bed but I wanted... (Below threshold)

I'm off to bed but I wanted to thanks those who have responded. this was an interesting, and learning experience for me. What i come away with is that I didn't make my point clearly enough. Yes, I could have taken a position on the war or some other political argument. I didn't want to do that. Perhaps I was mainly speaking to myself but I really believe the last election was, in part, a reaction to the ugliness in political discourse. Believe me I will gladly debate Iran, iraq et al. That wasn't was I was thinking about when I wrote my piece. Mitchell mentions big ideas and I agree with that. That's what should be discussed - but I do disagree about the manner of discourse. If it is ugly we shut one another out and I cannot listen to you nor you me. Maybe some of you don't care about that. I do, ergo my writing. If you call me a name Mitchell I discount what you say.

I will touch on Iran Old Coot. I agree with #1 as you stated it and I don't believe they should be allowed to make nuclear weapons. And yes, as an absolute last recourse I think force could be used. Where I part ways with many from the right is that I think we should dialogue with them. I'm not so sure that their leaders, religious and secular,l have as iron a grip on the country as they would like us to believe. true, their is a mad man at the helm but I think he will go only as far as the Ayatollahs allow him.

Jay...thanks for your insig... (Below threshold)

Jay...thanks for your insights and critques. I think I answered your point above. I find it is much easier to be on the reponding end of this than on the "creative" end. But I stand by what i was trying to say.


I could never be a liberal ... (Below threshold)

I could never be a liberal because it is liberals who are by far the nastiest and who are the ones who look down on the rest of the country outside their enclaves. Their arrogance knows no bounds.

I won't complain about any ... (Below threshold)

I won't complain about any attempt at civil discourse.

Hugh: Hard to write, wasn't it? I appreciate your making the effort.

"I'm not so sure that th... (Below threshold)

"I'm not so sure that their leaders, religious and secular,..."

What secular leaders?

Well, Hugh, while I commend... (Below threshold)

Well, Hugh, while I commend you for your effort - and I'll be interested to see if "Wizbang Blue" will feature thoughtful commentary rather than Kossack moonbattery - I'm afraid I have to agree with Robert the Original.

I find it more than a little interesting that calls for "bipartisanship" and "civility" only come after the left wins an election. As we've seen from the last six years, an election loss from the left produces screams of "thief!" and "take our country back!" and "fight the power!" But suddenly, the Diebold conspiracy fails and all is sweetness and light.

Sorry. I don't buy it. You seem like a decent enough fellow, Hugh, and perhaps in a social situation, you and I could have a few drinks and discuss politics like reasonable adults, but as an anonymous representative of your party, I want no truck with you.

I've had my eyes and ears open. I've seen the President smeared as a "pResident," a "smirking chimp" or "Bushitler." I've seen the disgusting lack of class at the Coretta Scott King funeral, as capering monkeys threw their feces at the President under the childish screech of "speaking truth to power." I've heard the head of the DNC suggest that the President knowing in advance of the 9/11 attacks was an "interesting" theory. I've seen the Democrats give a proven propagandist and a mendacious Jew-hater pride of place at their convention. I've heard ad nauseam the chants of "Bush Lied" and "War for Oil!" and "Halliburton!"

And blackcat77 - "Lee Atwater school of politics"? You're an ignorant fool. Or maybe you're just too young to remember a decent jurist like Robert Bork smeared by Democrats as a racist and mysogynist. Or John Tower slimed as a party-boy drunk by no less a solon of sobriety than Ted Kennedy. Or the screeches that Reagan was a doddering fundie madman longing for the Apocalypse. Or the coprophilic sliming of Richard Nixon - hounded from office for doing nothing that the press didn't turn a blind eye to during the Roosevelt, Johnson and Kennedy administrations.

I'm sorry, Hugh - again, you seem like a nice, well-meaning fellow. But your party has burned all of its bridges with me. I don't want bipartisanship. I don't want cooperation. I want your party destroyed. I want your leaders (like Dick "I trust Saddam Hussein more than I trust George Bush" Durbin) strung up for treason.

Bitter? Sure. Hateful? Absolutely. But you people earned it. There is no apology or excuse you can make for the last twenty years that would allow me to believe in the left's patriotism, decency or honesty. So spare me the lecture. I expect soon enough the left will return to its usual "take back our country from those thieving Rethuglikkan theocrats" scream.

"What do you think about th... (Below threshold)

"What do you think about the fact that Saddam bribed UN, Russian and French officials and that's why Bush could never get UN approval regardless of any case that could have been made."

**But he DID get approval. The U.N. approved with its 17th resolution and the U.S. Congress INCLUDING ITS DEMOCRATS approved (with the DEMS making sure there were TWO votes so they'd look tough to their constituents). These two facts get lost in the libs' revisionist tales about the war they voted for before they turned against, to paraphrase one of their heroes.

"cmd'--my thoughts are the ... (Below threshold)

"cmd'--my thoughts are the same--good post.

**But he DID get a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
**But he DID get approval. The U.N. approved with its 17th resolution ...

I was referring to UN approval to invade Iraq, which was never gotten. Remember Kofi Annan was saying the invasion of Iraq was illegal because there was no UN approval for it. Little did the world know Kofi Annan was representing a corrupted organization that would never give it's approval regardless of any case Bush could make.

We also know now that Russia and France were telling Saddam the US would not invade, that it was just a bluff. Without such interference Saddam would likely have complied with the inspections and the entire Iraq war could have been avoided. The lesson is that a corrupt UN is worse than no UN.

All of this goes b... (Below threshold)
All of this goes back to the success of the Lee Atwater school of politics.

Yeah, right. Everything was all rainbows and fluffy bunnies until Lee Atwater came along. Pay no attention to the constant attacks on Ronald Reagan by Democrats throughout the 1980s. And the orchestrated smearing by Democrats of both Robert Bork's record and person didn't happen either.

What an idiot.

Hugh,Your first post... (Below threshold)

Your first post from the top on Wizbang was very respectable. I appreciated your effect to avoid standard talking points and your emphasis of your dislike of name calling. It does indeed occur on both sides, and many of those on the right dislike it as well.

I have a few comments.

You say you are not a classical liberal. I presume (perhaps incorrectly) that you mean to refer to a traditional leftist like Nancy Pelosi, or Hillary Clinton. Many conservatives do use the reference "classical liberal," however it is in an entirely different vein: it is usually a reference to free markets.

You also say you a ardent believer in the rights granted in the constitution. I'm happy to here it. I also like to think I am as well. However, since you also describe yourself as liberally socially I wonder if (although it is not necessarily the case) that constitution is a different constitution from the one I recognize.

I agree with you on increasing the size on the military, although I wouldn't say the war in Iraq has been "horribly" mismanaged, although it has certainly been mismanaged to a degree. Withdraw from Iraq would be a disaster, however, and based on the current situation in Iran is an impossibility.

You mention the governor of your state and the legislature doesn't strike you as particularly left of center. That is correct because they aren't so in comparison to the party at large. Vilsack is apparently in the general moderate on economics, and liberal on social issues, and state Demcrats in places like Iowa (and my state Pennsylvania) always tend rightward of the National party.

I'm sorry the people in Iowa are disturbed by the war in Iraq. This isn't surprising considering Iowa has a long history of pacifistic inclinations. Your people should be proud of the heroics performed by your national guard men and women.

I am glad to here that Iowa is a "neighborly" state. A lot of people could learn from that.

Our country does constantly go through shifts from one party to the other. It is a natural part of the two-party system that has maintained are democratic structure for so long. It has maintained us where other countries have broken into anarchy, or civil war.

For example, I am... (Below threshold)
For example, I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative, an ardent believer in the rights granted us by our constitution [snip]

IIRC Hugh, you (or someone else named Hugh, mentioned being a lawyer at one time. If that's the case, I'm surprised to see this obvious error.

Our rights are inalienable, granted to us by our Creator. The purpose of the Constitution is to protect those rights from government intrusion, in part by specifically enumerating the powers of the government.

BTW, it's MUCH easier to deconstruct someone else's argument than it is to construct a solid argument of your own. :)






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