Tuesday, August 31, 2004


William Saletan's Slate article succinctly strikes at the heart of my problem with the Republican concept of heroism. Bravery, real bravery, means doing something even when your instinct is to just cut and run, when you're risking something genuine and personal and huge and yet you steam forward to do the very thing you know is inarguably just.

That kind of risk runs the full gamut of possibility and risking your status quo because of a compulsion from within your moral integrity is NEVER an easy thing to do. Never. You always lose something, even if it's chance to do it differently again, when one is forced to make the truly brave choices. But you take that path because deep down in your heart you know, morally, you don't have any other real choice.

Nowhere from Bush's four years thus far have I seen any real risk placed upon the president's shoulders. Not even political risk, when you get down to the brass tax of it (it's hard to carry the banner of 'We faced the onslaught of the opposition and won' when there is no opposition to speak of and you're carrying the parade all by your lonesome party).

Bush has, time and time again, taken the coward's way out. The safe route. The riskless route. From his National Guard service (which I find to be less of a deal than a lot of people) to his crescendo of moral cowardice; waging and standing by a war that even in the dust clearing has been proven a poorly thought-out mistake. No where has George Bush ever felt the real heat of, as Saletan points out, honest sacrifice, of genuine suffering.

Now a lot of Republicans would say that Bush made that hard choice by invading Iraq when the whole world was against him, that that's a clear indicator that Bush is a brave man. But the fact is, having seen that 'Iraq as an imminent danger' was a false assumption, and having seen the bodies that have resulted, both American and Iraqis, from acting upon that false assumption, it would seem to me the bravest thing to do would be to take responsiblity for the consequences of that mistake.

Never have I seen anything of the sort from this administration.

Culpability is for other people. Recognizing mistakes is for other people. Accountability... is for other people.

That, to me, is a thousand light years from real leadership. And that is why I will be voting against George W. Bush come November 2nd. Because this country deserves better in its leadership than this guy.


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