Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Family

In our family our son thinks his younger sister is a dork and she thinks he is mean. Typical teenagers, they bicker quite a bit. Sometimes they are at each other, day and night. It’s enough to drive adults crazy. Mom and I find fault with them, too, as do all parents with their kids during these trying years. We understand the meaning of the phrase “parenting is not for the meek.”

The kids sometimes get rather brutal with each other. Their criticisms are harsh, unforgiving, lacking understanding, blameful and sometimes outright cruel. You wonder if there is any affection between them at all.

Yet despite their differences, her dork-ness and his mean-ness, and their disagreements and their harsh judgment of each other, when someone outside the family harasses or does something hurtful to one of them, the other rises to the defense. When brother’s girlfriend treats him badly, suddenly younger sister is irritated at the girlfriend. When someone ticks off sis, big brother is ready to take the jerk down a peg. It’s the natural way of families to disagree amongst themselves, but to band together when attacked from the outside.

Here in the U.S., we find the “family members” – Republicans and Democrats and other factions - behaving like families do, criticizing each other, belittling each other. This “inter-family” bickering is the way to make things better. The big difference between what happens in a real family and what is happening in the “American family” is that when the attacks come from outside, the opposition takes sides not with their countrymen, their family, but with the outsiders, joining in the accusations and ready to believe the worst of their brothers and sisters, instead of defending their fellow Americans.

There is all manner of dancing and dodging, and stuttering and stammering in a vain effort to justify this absence of national loyalty. It’s easy enough to try to excuse this behavior with the rationale that “this is wrong and we must oppose it.” But even the best explanations and excuses do not change the fact that there is a lack of national loyalty.

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, President Bush said that at that moment we were not Democrats or Republicans, we were Americans. I have no doubt that Mr. Bush sincerely believed that at the time. I have no doubt that every sensible American also believed that.

But that wonderful togetherness brought on by those cowardly, murderous fanatics was a fleeting moment.

Part of our family now believes that their brethren lied about the reasons for going into Iraq, just as the outsiders in Europe and elsewhere have charged.

They blame the administration and the military for “abuses” of enemy combatants, who are the relatives of the terrorist bastards who hijacked planes and killed thousands of innocent Americans.

The opposition is armed and ready to accept as truth any blame fired at the U.S from outside. They are ready to accuse and to blame, just like the outsiders. They may believe what they wish. And, while they have the right to say so, they ought to give some thought to what joining with the critics outside the family does to their family, their country.

The people of the United States elected the President and Vice President. They won their positions. They are part of the family.

Among members of the opposition where is the sentiment FOR America, FOR their brothers and sisters, FOR their family members? Where is the loyalty for one’s country? Where is the outrage at those who now attack the United States? Why will the opposition not defend the honor of their own country against outsiders, and work quietly and effectively within the family to correct what they believe is wrong?

If our brothers and sisters side with the outsiders who attack us, if they take sides against their own family, their own country, isn’t that the definition of “anti-American?”

Let the rationalizations begin.


Anonymous said...

Let me see if I understand your analogy w/ your kids:
Nut from down the block beats up your daughter, your son in turn beats him up in retaliation and defense, and your daughter does not defend him from the verbal criticism of the neighbor who saw everything, and indeed your daughter criticizes his violence as well. If that's along the line of what you meant, then I whole-heartedly agree. Unfortunately, it's not analogous to the two wars we're facing.

Try this- after beating up the thug who attacked your daughter, your son sees another kid from school he doesn't like and attacks him without provocation. If my brother did that, I'd like him for defending me, but tell him what an asshole he is for beating up the other kid. And you'd say I'm a disloyal family member.

Family should always come first, and sometimes criticizing a family member is the only way they'll realize their self destructive behavior. It's called an intervention, and it's what you do for someone you love. It's as loyal as you can get.

James Shott said...

Wars are wars, and public condemnation is public condemnation.

In P2 you cited both defense and criticism. We agree that under those conditions both are warranted. But I'm talking about method, not issues.

"Family should always come first, and sometimes criticizing a family member is the only way they'll realize their self destructive behavior. It's called an intervention, and it's what you do for someone you love. It's as loyal as you can get."

Right you are. But you don't do the intervention on TV, or on the steps of the city hall. You don't jump on the bandwagon of the folks across the street. You do it in privacy. If you don't like what the President is doing, don't join in the public criticism. Don't join the anti-American parade.

By the way, welcome back.

Buffalo said...

I have a problem with this one. Thus far I have done my best to avoid being critical in public. At what point does a sense of patriotism allow wrongness to continue?

I don't know the answer.

Anonymous said...

To Shott,
I agree to an extent- Reid calling Bush a loser when he was overseas was a bad move. And the public smear campaigns of the far right and far left are abhorrent.

But legitimate, well reasoned criticism must be aired in public.

For some reason, I don't think I'm going to get the chance to tell my grievences to the President in private.

Afterall, the only ordinary folks this president will listen to are first vetted repeatedly to make sure they agree with everything and express such intense concerns as "I'm so glad your our president" and "whatever you say, I'll support it".

There's no way to get inside the bubble, so you must surround it.

And BTW, thanks for the civil discourse. It's very uncommon to meet a conserv or a liberal to will engage in anything beyond namecalling.

James Shott said...

Buffalo and Bulldog: I understand youe predicament, and I have the same problem. I think criticism is alright, so long as it is offered constructively, and does not take the tone of blaming and insinuating impropriety or illegality. It may be a fine line to walk, but in all honestly I don't believe the Dems are trying very hard.

Bulldog: Civil discourse is the name of the game here at Observations. If you have a site and would be willing to post a link to my site on it, I'll happily do the same for yours. I'd like to read more of your ideas.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a site of my own, but you're getting out there. I got your site from the WashPo (best newspaper ever), Howard Kurtz's blog.

Regarding insinuating illegalities, 1) you could sub Dems for Repubs if this was 5-10 years ago (or in the future), and 2) Bush does himself no favors in bringing light to the Dem's darkeness when he does things like appoint a committee to investigate the intelligence used to justify the war but doesn't allow them to investigate how that intelligence was used (which, if it shows no misdeeds, would shut the Dems up quick).

Anonymous said...

As you already know, I am totally compuillit, so I sign "anon" rather than my identity. I must also be totally illit compared to others because I know exactly what you mean and agree. And I am one of those liberal conservatives. You are not aiming at all criticism, only that which tends to destoy our image. e.g. The recent Newsweek fantasy as well as the verbal and financial support through a variety of means for the terrorist organizations. The big difference is that THEY KNOW they are at war and many of us haven't learned it yet. I'm old enough to remember the slogan "Loose lips sink ships" from my Navy days. That can be translated today as hummers, personnel, planes, watchtowers and watchdogs. There is often a fine line between criticism and treason and in my humble opinion, we have seen that line crossed numerous times during the setto in Iraq which, BTW, is not being waged by the USA AGAINST Iraq nor against Islam. Careful analysis will lead to the obvius--the terrorists are the ones who are waging the war against both Iraq and Islam and attempting to make the US the scapegoat. All one needs to confirm that is to read the news. Hopefully, Muslims worldwide will soon see that and start their own housecleaning as the Iraqis have begun to do.
Now aren't you sorry you got me wound up.

James Shott said...

TL, glad to have your comment, and glad someone understands what I'm trying to get across.

Is there a new Gullible's in the near future?

JL Pagano said...

The people of the United States elected the President and Vice President. They won their positions. They are part of the family.

How supportive were you of your "family" during the Clinton years?

James Shott said...

I criticized Clinton exactly as I suggest every should criticize the President.

I am surprized you wouldn't know that.