Friday, July 30, 2004

Moral Uncertainty

From Roger Simon, quoting from the Esquire article:

"The people who dislike George W. Bush have convinced themselves that opposition to his presidency is the most compelling moral issue of the day. Well, it's not. The most compelling moral issue of the day is exactly what he says it is, when he's not saying it's gay marriage. The reason he will be difficult to unseat in November - no matter what his approval ratings are in the summer - is that his opponents operate out of the moral certainty that he is the bad guy and needs to be replaced, while he operates out of the moral certainty that terrorists are the bad guys and need to be defeated. The first will always sound merely convenient when compared with the second. Worse, the gulf between the two kinds of certainty lends credence to the conservative notion that liberals have settled for the conviction that Bush is distasteful as a substitute for conviction - because it's easier than conviction."
This point keeps being made over and over again.  I'm thinking of writing a play and giving it the title "Democrats in Denial" (or maybe a musical?). If it weren't so breathtakingly serious, it could almost be a comedy.  Why are there so many people on the Left with this attitude about Bush.  I don't want to belabor this issue, but it is very interesting to me as a psychiatrist. I have talked about the defense mechanisms involved (denial and displacement).  What this tells me is that the trauma that these people are suffering from is quite intense (see my previous post on Bush Hatred).  9/11 was probably just the most recent of the traumas that the Left have had to deal with over the last 5-10 years. 

First came the collapse of communism and the re-emergent prestige of the previous title-holder of "most evil president who decreased our international respect and brought us to the brink of armageddon" (i.e., Ronald Reagan); then came the realization that the man the Left had put all their bets on (Clinton) was an empty vessel; and then the 2000"stolen" election (which, as it turns out wasn't, but facts aren't important here--it's what you feel, right?).  9/11 was just the icing on the cake of disillusionment.  The tough reality-check that these people needed to do---and that included re-evaluating their basic premises and starting to think, instead of just feeling (much like a 6 year old--or, perhaps that is too mature an age?)--was just too frightening.  The thought of giving up any of those closely-identified-with beliefs in the face of reality was too painful to contemplate. 

Now they have arrived at the ridiculous conclusion that, if only they could get rid of Bush, all this bad stuff would go away and the world will right itself (or left itself?) according to their discredited, but still cherished beliefs. 

There is plenty of room in this country to disagree on how best to fight an evil that threatens our entire civilization.  But, they aren't even at the stage where they accept what the real evil is, let alone being capable of discussing a reasonable alternative to Bush's strategy.

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