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Question for the anti-Republicans among us.


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Believer as I am in the process of free speech, you are, of course, welcome to give any response you like. However, I really would be interested in whatever thoughtful response you feel like sharing.

What do you say to those Republicans who tell you that their number one concern is national security, and they just don't feel like they have been given an option but to vote for Mr. Bush?

Things to bear in mind:
Mr. Bush has at least made it clear what his positions are, and what the theories are concerning his approach to this issue. No matter what you feel about what has happened in the last couple of years, I don't think it's difficult to understand why many people have this on their minds - expecially if you happen to live in New York.
Plum
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I'd tell them that any President in his right mind would make national security a top priority right now, but there are ways to ensure security without unecessarily attacking countries we don't happen to like. There is something to be said for the security of numbers and geographical spread, as well, so pissing off like-minded allies won't get us anywhere. I'd also tell them that our "security-conscious" President did a pretty half-assed job in Afghanistan, which was the home base of the organization that actually attacked our country. Hopefully that last point would get their attention.
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jrb_actor
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I agree. I honestly believe that Bush went to war in Iraq for ulterior motives. Remember that I supported the war when he began it. But subsequently, I started feeling like I was being lied to. Then Howard Dean had the guts to voice this. Then, Richard Clarke exposed the alleged motives. Then Moore released his book, then film that at the very least brings about facts that could support these beliefs.

And yet, no one talks about this anymore. That or Bush has convinced people that it doesn't matter--that it was the right thing to do just cuz.

I don't want a President who lies. Who goes to war for profit.

The idea that Kerry or any other President would be incapable of defending this country is ludicrous. Bush isn't the only one who can do that--and I think he has done it manipulatively.

But, again--the war isn't my main gripe with him.
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amasis
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"Half-assed" indeed. The Taliban is still very much a presence in many parts of Afghanistan. The US-backed president has very little control outside of Kabul. A UNDP report earlier this year said that Afghanistan is again becoming a "terrorist breeding ground". Heroin production is soaring; in fact, the US has many of the drug lords on their payroll, believing that having the so-called 'loyalty' of these drug lords will enable them bring the downfall of al-Qaeda. Then last year, the Bush administration were told that some of these guys they're paying have actually been recruiting people into their own militias.

Until this year, the development aid for Afghanistan was ridiculously low, because most of the resources were going to Iraq. It only improved this year because the US needed some foreign policy success stories. And with their (Afghanistan's) election coming up, the security has actually worsened, and some of the monitoring organization isn't even sure they will be able to do the job correctly. There are still daily clashes with US troops, and an estimated of 1000 people (aid workers, officials) have died in violence in the past year.

I agree with Plum: there is no way any president right now will not have the US 'national security' as a top priority. Why do people think that having Kerry in the office will necessarily lead to the US being 'weak'? Why is Bush the only possible answer?

And I'd ask people to consider the effects of the last 4 years of the Bush administration: alienating their own allies, rendering the UN practically useless, and antagonizing the muslim population of the world and creating a backlash reaction. I lived in the US and was there on 9/11, but for the past year or so I've lived in a country where the population are predominantly moderate muslims. Really, most of them are moderates. But with every arrogant, "f*ck the rest of the world" stance the Bush administration has taken, the minority hardcore muslims are starting to get more and more support. It's chilling, absolutely terrifying, to watch. For those moderates who want to keep the country moderate, it's been an uphill battle, trying to hold back the conservatives without looking like they're just being pawns of the US. This is true of many Asian countries, as well.
Updated On: 9/6/04 at 12:04 AM
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Just a little more grist for the mill:

Many believe that the situation in the Middle East is unacceptable - dictators and the like. But there are many places around the globe that have that situation (anyone here ever been to Africa? Talk about 'gay rights'.) The thing that the Middle East has which affects the world's operation is oil. So we have a vested interest in what is going on there. When the philosophical upheaval that exists there is brought on to foreign shores (and we are NOT the only ones, contrary to popular belief,) then our vested interest becomes imperative, does it not?

So, if there is a REASON for us to become involved with this region, how we've gone about it has to be questioned. Since I have asked this question, I am willing to share some of my own viewpoint concerning it. As simply as possible:

Do I think the world in general, and the US in particular, has a reason to become involved with this region? Yes.
Do I think that religion has played a little too much part in what it is that's going on? Yes.
Do I think that we need to re-evaluate what it is that's involved and what our response to it should be? Absolutely.
Do I think the Republicans have at least provided a complete theory and response outline for this situation? Yes.
Do I think the Democrats have done the same? I think many Democrats have THOUGHT about this issue, but as of yet, the power structure hasn't allowed any firm foundation to be laid, much less expressed in public.
Do I think this is important enough to be an overriding issue in the upcoming election? Yes, as it has to do with the continued operation of the planet as a whole.
Do I still think that even though I'm a gay man? Yes, because no matter what, I will always be a gay man. But there are scenarios that could be envisioned in which it wouldn't matter if I was gay or straight, but rather dead or alive.
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Just a bump to see if anyone else wants to chime in.
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Auggie27
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Thank you, DGrant, for all of the questions. We Democrats need to do some serious thinking about why the party cannot make inroads.

As you opine, the Democratic positions on foreign policy all seem so ... tentative. So measured, "nuanced"--and cautious. Even if one passionately believes in caution, to many the word is devoid of a positive connotation in a post 9/11 context; it is immediately translated as indecisive and therefore weak. Why is unilateralism seen as "strong?" Because it suggest complete, absolute independence -- a lack of co-dependency to others who have behaved indifferently to our needs.

I may personally be offended by the "cowboy" stance, but I understand its appeal -- the old American ideal of walking tall -- and alone -- carried to the max, even if for expediency's (revenge) sake. That tradition is deeply ingrained in this culture -- that one can be the strong, silent loner and achieve one's goals. I think the psychology behind the "success" of this stance is critical. Despite that old time idealism, many people have grown to feel increasingly powerless in this society: under-employed, bitter, held back by too little authority/position in their working lives and communities. They want to believe in their personal power, but instead feel beleagured and under-appreciated--having to answer to many for little personal reward. The metaphor in the Bush era doctrine -- that one can and should act totally alone without the "permission" or validation of others -- has truly mythic appeal. I think it's critical to see why it has so captured the imagination -- and hearts and minds -- of so many.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 9/6/04 at 10:44 AM
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Bravo, Auggie - from your fingers to the Democratic war room.
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jrb_actor
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So, what are you getting at, D? Are you voting for Bush?
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*sigh* No, jrb, I just continue to refuse not to look at the situation objectively and with an open mind and heart. I want to be able to try to understand what it is that EVERYONE is thinking and feeling, and to have that possibly inform my own opinions - and provide guidance in how to move forward with an eye toward a whole community.
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jrb_actor
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I got all that, but it seemed as if you WERE making a case to justify voting for Bush despite his bigotry. That is all. No need for a sigh.

I, too, have tried to imagine how one could vote for Bush--how I could come upon an election year where I would be able to vote for either candidate. To me, the distinction is the social issues. Both parties will defend this country. Both parties will try to support the economy. But, both parties have drastically different ideas on abortion, gay civil rights, and other issues pertaining to morality, etc.

So, until the GOPs can stop being collectively the party of bigotry and moral righteousness, I will not likely be voting for a Republican. (I know full well that not every Republican agrees with these views of their party.)

As for this election, I am amazed that everyone seems to forget that there are substantial reasons to question this administration. It's as if Richard Clarke never spoke. Michael Moore never made a film. The prison abuse never happened. It's as if all of the things worthy of questioning Bush has evaporated and he can actually play ball on an even playing field in this election.

And, I see that if one believes that all of those questions are unmerited and if they agree with Bush's moral proclamations, then they see him as a great President.
Updated On: 9/6/04 at 12:20 PM
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papalovesmambo
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i get a kick outta this thread.
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SamIAm
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My answer would be that for someone who says national security is a number one concern, Bush has shown little support for his own position.

The budget for the war in Iraq is 4-5 times what our homeland security budget is and if he so strongly believes that they terrorists are taking the war to our shores, why doesn't he give Ridge more to work with? NYC in particular is still in jeopardy because the budget (meager as it is) is split relatively equally and to get a bit more of our fair share to protect a financial centerpiece of the nation and one that is considered a 'shrine to capitalism' we are given little more than Kansas City.

Words are cheap.
"Life is a lesson in humility"