Thursday, May 27, 2010

Isn't it ironic... (Talkin' 'Bout Tyranny)

Warning: this note is the kind of venting that I keep promising myself that I will not do on Face Book, but I keep getting sucked into. So here's the deal: I'll post this, and then I will remove it tomorrow. So if you want to make a comment, get it in while you can.

My comment is this. There have certainly been actions done by the United States government that I would consider tyrannical. Some examples off the top of my head are these: (1) The Indian Removal Act (trail of tears). (2) Slavery. (3) Jim Crow. (4) Japanese internment in World War II. (5) The McCarthy-era communist witch hunts. (6) Various military and CIA actions, including the overthrow of Allende in Chile, the overthrow of Mosaddegh in Iran (and the installation of the Shah). Now, I don't consider these horrible acts to mean that the US is an evil country. Everybody and every country makes mistakes; the key is to recognize mistakes and try as much as possible to make amends.

There are people who are offended when other people bring up these examples. They say things like: "Get over it! If you don't like America, then leave. Why do you hate America so much? If you loved your country, you wouldn't be bad-mouthing it."

What I find ironic is that the people who would accuse me of being anti-American or unpatriotic for bringing up these very real instances of tyranny are some of the very same people who are screaming that America is turning into a totalitarian dictatorship because of the health care reform bill, or the stimulus package, or whatever. I cannot make any sense of this.

12 Comments:

Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

Since I'm venting...

When people call the current US government "tyrannical" or compare it to Stalinist Russia, or to Nazi Germany, I get very mad. It shows no sense of perspective, and no sense of empathy for people living in *actual* dictatorships. It's as if someone told you about how they are dying of pancreatic cancer, and you responded by saying "Yeah, whatever, but can't you see that I have a very painful ingrown toenail?"

8:40 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Steve Vasil: Daryl, I can't wait to read the responses! Hopefully I won't get sucked in to this discussion myself.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Rich Magahiz: Here's a relevant quote

Hypocrisy is galling. Freedom of conscience is fundamental. Disloyalty is despicable. And those who place self-interest in front of commonweal are disappointing. So many clashing truths here.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Karen Snow Drake

What you say is so true!!! I blame a lot of this on the media, they have to amplify and polarize in order to attract attention & thereby sell ads, so every little thing becomes a horrific outrage, when really it's all mostly ingrown toenails. Actually, I don't think things are even as bad as an ingrown toenail, it's more like a pair of shoes that ... See Moreyou don't like because they don't fit the same as the old ones. They can't believe that the new shoes could be better in the long run than the old familiar, cruel shoes.

Also, I've noticed when some folks can't win their argument with logic they resort to making statements like those you describe above. And those people telling you to leave if you "don't like it" are often the very same ones screaming about the tyranny of the current administration.

My conclusion: you cannot win with these people, they are angry and frightened for reasons we can't understand and logic doesn't explain. I'm just hoping that although they seem to be in the majority, in fact they are not. I saw something on a news show about how all these opposing groups were using the phrase "the people don't want," or "the majority of Americans want," when in fact there was no basis for saying that. I remember thinking "most Americans want? No! Maybe most screaming, angry Americans, not the rest of us."

8:43 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Tim Learmont
It is very interesting how Germany has done a much better job acknowledging Hitler & the holocaust than we have done on many of our heinous acts of the past.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Christie Hufstedler Boyd
I get really, really, hacked when some of my friends, speaking as conservatives, call me unpatriotic. They aren't calling me personally unpatriotic, just liberals in general. I am patriotic! Because I voted for Obama, or I'm for health care reform, or I'm against these two never-ending wars, I'm unpatriotic? Give me a break, last time I heard, America gave people the freedom to think the way they choose, vote the way they choose, and be against/for anything they choose! Protest does not make you unpatriotic!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From John C. Earle
Some would say wealth re-distribution requires a tyrannical-edged government to succeed. Others are concerned that there is a very real mood afloat in the WH to somehow discredit or silence conservative news outlets. Many veteran WH correspondents decry the lack of transparency there. Etc, etc. These are just a few examples of WHY the right is worried. Each example, whether true or imagined, could be said to (arguably) carry the imprint of arrogance and possible tyrannical intentions. You cannot change the minds of those who feel this way. You can only debate or justify the data which supports your POV. But I agree with your last part. Patriotism is often the tool of zealots.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Daryl McCullough
John, so what you are saying is that there isn't even a painful ingrown toenail; people just see signs that someday they might get an ingrown toenail.

The attitude that you are talking about is, in my opinion, very destructive for civil discourse. It is possible to disagree about what our goals should be. We can agree about the goals, and disagree about the means to those goals. Those sorts of disagreements we can hash out, air our differences, argue our point of view, while still remaining civil, while still respecting one another.

But if you are accusing me of having SECRET goals, and are lying about my true goals, then how can we possibly discuss our disagreements in a civilized fashion? That is POISON to democracy.

If we are patriots, then we should be committed to NURTURING democracy. Paranoia has the capability of destroying it.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Christie Hufstedler Boyd
Amen, Daryl! You say exactly what I feel, but much more eloquently.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

From Linda Garrett Bell
Well written Karen, Christie, and Daryl!

8:46 AM  
Blogger SteveHVasil said...

Sometimes, we can glean more about a person's motivations and energy by listening to the tone of their voice, and paying less attention to their actual words. Listening to folks like Rush L. and Glenn B., the poisonous intent is pretty obvious; squeeze a lemon and we get something sour. These guys tend to moan and groan about what they don't want, instead of talking about what they desire. This is an important distinction.
It is nice when folks can discuss topics in a respectful manner, focusing on common ground as opposed to their differences. It is the common ground which makes positive movement possible.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Kyle McCullough said...

John seemed to be the only one who tried to present the conservative prespective. But if he's right, and those really are the best examples of what has the conservatives worried then... wow. I mean, let's take these one at a time:

Some would say wealth re-distribution requires a tyrannical-edged government to succeed.

Yes. And some would say that all government requires a tyranical edge to succeed. Seriously, it's reasonable to worry that anything the governmend does might lead to tyrany. But, that being the case, maybe we should wait until we start seeing some actual tyranical behaviour before we let ourselves get too worked up about it.

Others are concerned that there is a very real mood afloat in the WH to somehow discredit or silence conservative news outlets.

I think that conservatives come to this conclusion by the same reasoning that they concluded that Saddam must have been building wmd's. It's a line of reasoning that basically goes: "Well, that's what I'd do if I were him, so we should assume that's what he must be doing." I'd be inclined to agree with that reasoning if it weren't for Obama's stubborn (and in my opinion misguided) refusal to do something as basic and long-overdue as reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.

Many veteran WH correspondents decry the lack of transparency there.

As they did under Bush and Clinton and Bush and Reagan and Carter (I assume) and Nixon. Okay, I'll give them that last one. I mean, sure. It's a legitimate complaint. But it's also a perinnial complaint. And if these are the things that the right gets worked up over, then the right gets worked up over... everything!

10:59 PM  

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