August 15, 2005

Party Differences

I believe that one of the things that divides the left from the right in this country can be summed up using this old adage:

Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish, you’ll feed him for life.

The Democrats, who have shown themselves to be more cosmetically oriented, would fall into the first category of belief. “The problem’s been dealt with for today, we’ll worry about it some more tomorrow when it comes back. At least we can tell the voters we’ve addressed it.” Another benefit: The guy will have to depend on the Democrats, forever, if he wants his daily fish.

The bottom line, of course, will be that the government will have to buy fish every day to feed the man, and eventually the amount of money spent on fish will leave a dent in the federal coffers. No sweat, they can recover the expenditure by raising taxes. Yahoooo!

The Republicans, on the other hand, are easily in the second category. “Let’s solve the problem once and for all, and move on.”

The guy is catching his own fish now, he’s self sufficient: He doesn’t depend on the government to feed him. He can be proud that he is standing on his own two feet, and thanks to the money the government is saving on fish, they don’t need to raise taxes– “Heck, we can even cut ‘em some more!”

But the simile doesn’t stop there, apply it to the Global War On Terror, including our presence and our activities in Iraq.

The left, true to form, is again thinking in the now, American soldiers are dying, get them out of there! Iraq was none of our business, no WMD, Saddam didn’t bomb the WTC, blah, blah, blah…

The right is, as usual, thinking long term.

I completely agreed with George Bush when he said that the best way to bring about world peace is to spread democracy, because in democracies such things as education and opportunity become available to everyone, not just the inner circle of a king, royal family or dictator. People who had given up all hope of ever having a good life are suddenly face to face with the possibility of realizing their dreams because they have a say in how their country is run. In Iraq, school attendance has multiplied exponentially, the people are elated as they exercise the freedom of speech they’d previously only heard rumors about and they are enthusiastically doing their parts to make their country prosper for the good of all. By remaining in Iraq and helping them as we are, we are giving them the opportunity to establish a working democracy rather than another Taliban or a group of warring religious factions. We need to stay the course, remain in Iraq until they are completely able to both defend and govern themselves as a nation.

The easiest young people to recruit as terrorists/suicide bombers are those who have little or nothing to look forward to, anyway. They live miserable existences and are bombarded with hatred and talk of jihad by their spiritual leaders.

If young Mohammed is doing well, his future looking bright,  how likely is he to throw it all away to blow himself up along with a few people he’s never met?

And in democracy exists the opportunity for the exchange of ideas, for people to have better access to the foundations of one anothers’ beliefs. They talk, they debate, and tell me, with the odd exception of some psychotic like Timothy McVeigh or Unibomber, how often do we free people in democratic countries blow one another up over our political differences? I can’t say I’ve never met a liberal I didn’t develop a nasty urge to snatch up by the neck and… but I don’t, we talk, we don’t, whatever, but we don’t kill each other.

The GWOT could conceivably go on forever, in fact we could eventually become prisoners of our own security measures as attacks increase, the terrorist armies ever growing.

Or  we take the only realistic course of action to prevent that: eliminate their recruitment pool. The only way to do that is to spread democracy in the region that spawns terrorists, which is what we are doing. The deaths of a few soldiers now, as tragic as it may be, can well spare the lives of hundreds, more likely thousands of times as many American civilians over the long haul, and that is what a military force is for.

Once again,

Democrats: Short term, cosmetic solutions.

Republicans: Long term, tangible solutions.  

Sounds about right to me…


by @ 11:07 pm. Filed under Opinion
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6 Responses to “Party Differences”

  1. Dan Trabue Says:

    You said:Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day.Teach a man to fish, you’ll feed him for life.And suggested the Dems fall in to the first philosophy and Reps the second. While not necessarily defending the Dems, I’d suggest that you could add the third line to represent progressives,Change the system that allows polluted streams that poisons the fish inedible and we’ll be able to fish safely.To suggest that conservatives or Republicans are for longterm solutions is to turn a blind eye to Republican environmental policies (not that the Dems have been much better).I agree that the concept of personal responsibility has been a conservative ideal. I don’t find that often in the modern Republican policy.We need to divest ourselves of dependence on oil, for economic, ecological and national defense reasons. Instead, we have huge tax breaks for those who purchase Hummers while we’re phasing out tax breaks for Electric Vehicles. We have lightened up instead of increased the CAFE standards which would require cleaner cars. We are not pushing mass transit pedestrian or bicycle solutions, instead we keep building more and more roads. We stake our hopes on investing money in the possible solution of hydrogen fuel cell cars (not necessarily a bad thing) but ignore currently available solutions that would take responsibility for our transportation solutions NOW.I agree strongly with the need for longterm solutions. I just don’t see politicians of any stripe pushing many. Not in the environmental arena nor in international policy.Your suggestion that continuing our invasion of Iraq that is producing terrorists faster than we can kill them is a longterm solution is not sound. We need to get at the root of what causes terrorism rather than focusing on swatting at mosquitoes. That, my friend, is a short term solution, don’t you think?

  2. Seth Says:

    Dan, I have to reply to the end of your comment first, because I think we’ve got a broken link there.We’re not ‘continuing our invasion of Iraq,’ that’s already a done deal, Saddam’s in the hoosegow and democracy’s in the oven.It’s cooking nicely and is almost ready.What are we doing still in Iraq? We’re ensuring that when we leave, they’ll be okay.I think you may have missed the part where I acknowledged my concurrence with George Bush’s belief that spreading democracy into the Arab/Muslim world would(will, as things seem to be going) be the most effective method of curtailing future Islamic terrorism.We need to bring the Muslim perspective into the 21st Century. Obviously, Iraq is part of that strategy.That’s a long-term(by that I don’t mean the presence of our military there, I refer to the end result) plan.”Divesting ourselves of the need for oil” is a good idea, I totally agree, but given the tooling involved(the machines that run on gas that our society depends on for the moment, not to mention several zillion other moments leading up to this minute), I think it will take awhile.Even saying that enviro-car{my term} manufacturers were sufficiently outfitted to replace even a fraction of the spontaneous combustion vehicles now on the road in the U.S., the costs for what you get and what you absatively/posolutely have to pay for are pretty high when compared to performance ratios, mileage figures[depending on whether the car is 100% electric or part gas. I won't comment on fuel cells, because I'm not conversant with any recent developments in that area]. But you don’t throw out the dirty water until you’ve got the clean water, right?Hey, friend, I live in San Francisco(less than a month to go and counting, however…) Ride a bicycle to/from work here, the city will treat you even better than Monica treated BJ Clinton.As far as the Dems go, well: Tell me what they accomplished in the 8 years the snake oil dude was President. You know, that felon from Little Rock or wherever.Then outline to me the precise logic, foundation and schematics of a DNC solution to a problem that George Bush hasn’t solved(you can–PLEASE– leave out the illegal immigrant policy, because no matter how hard I try, I can’t understand it either).Where environmental policies are concerned, I give you this:Nature was provided by God for Man’s survival,enjoyment and convenience, not as Man’s brother and friend. Hit the books, Dan. Start with Genesis.We are free to do as we please with God’s bounty, though it is obviously our responsibility at such to preserve it.My preference is living in cities, and I have always been a “mass transit” type. For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone with a choice would prefer to spend half his/her time sitting in stop-and-start traffic.Have you ever spent any time in L.A.? It seems like that’s their national passtime down there.:-)

  3. Dan Trabue Says:

    On the Iraq Invasion/”bringing Democracy to the middle east” line:I understand that you think that Bush’s actions will bring democracy. I think his/our actions will increase terrorism. We disagree strongly here and I’m not sure that will change.But EVEN IF democracy eventually springs forth in Iraq (and a true democracy - as opposed to a puppet regime that does what we want - would be a good thing), that does not make an illegal invasion any less illegal and immoral actions any more moral. The ends do not justify the means.But as I say, we disagree on this point, so I’m not sure how helpful it is to continue this discussion.

  4. Seth Says:

    Yes, Dan, we do seem to be coming from two totally separate realities, don’t we?It’s difficult if not simply impossible for me to understand the perspective of a complete pacifist.If Americans were all pacifists, those of us the Islamofasists didn’t manage to murder would one day be living under Sharia law.

  5. NYgirl Says:

    Great post Seth. Very well writen.

  6. Seth Says:

    Thank you. :)